By Samantha Williams
November 28, 2018
WAYNESBORO, Ga. – Incidents like the one in Alabama and Warrenville, SC are why the Burke County Sheriff’s Office just got some new resources to help combat crime… And possibly save lives.
As of 2 weeks ago, Burke County deputies have an additional option to take down suspects and defend themselves.
This gun looks and sounds real, but instead of bullets, small beanbags are released when the trigger is pulled. Now, along with pepper spray, tasers and batons, law enforcement can use non-lethal guns during conflict.
Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard explained there is a time and place for each weapon: “Less lethal options are great, but if you are a single officer and lethal force is potentially going to be used against you, you only have one option, and that is lethal force. You don’t go for something that might for instead of something that will work. If you have a knife or you are going for that officer’s gun, lethal option is what they are going to choose.”
Just like with regular guns, deputies train to learn how to use the weapon. So far, Burke County has 2 guns per shift, but they are looking to buy more.
Also, the sheriff’s office is using a website to help people recover stolen items.
More times than not, people don’t get back valuables that are stolen during home and car break-ins. But the Burke County Sheriff’s Office is now using a website that helps people, more easily, get back stolen items. It does take the participation of people living in the community and pawn shops for it to succeed.
That website is called LEADS-ONLINE. You make a password protected profile and then upload pictures, descriptions, and receipts of items you want to keep track of. Then, when people are robbed and the suspect sells those valuables to pawn shops, it will all be tracked on the site.
Pawn shops in the area are strongly urged to also upload all new items that come into their stores in case there is a match down the road.
“I’ve seen over the years where we have used these types of leads to solve murders,” Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said. “I was a violent crimes investigator for a number of years, and there were numerous cases where we used pawn shops and pawn reports to develop suspects in homicides and robberies. It is a valuable tool and one that has certainly paid off in Burke County.”
Richmond, Columbia, and Aiken Counties also take advantage of the website. Each person can document up to 100 valuables, and it is free to use.