The Administration Section is the office of the Lowndes County Sheriff, Chris Prine. He is supported by the Chief Deputy, Major and a civilian staff of 12 that serves in various administrative and clerical functions. This section contains the operations, records and financial business of the Sheriff’s Office and its Constitutional duties. It is the central point of public policy and initiatives proposed by The Sheriff for the safe and efficient operations of law enforcement in Lowndes County.
Sheriff Chris Prine is in his first term as Sheriff of Lowndes County. Sheriff Prine is a life-long resident of Lowndes County whose law enforcement career with the State of Georgia spanned 30 years. Sheriff Prine is committed to improving the safety of our schools and communities, developing strong working relationships with other law enforcement agencies and maintaining the highest standard of services in the daily performance of the Sheriff’s Office duties.
Chief Deputy, Joe Crow is in his 19th year with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Crow spent the last eleven years in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office after serving in the Patrol Division, Jail Operations and Communications. Chief Crow assists the Sheriff in community relations, implementing policies and supporting the over all operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
Major Logan Henderson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a 22 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office with over 34 years of law enforcement experience. Major Henderson handles all personnel records and is involved in the day to day operations and policies of the Sheriff’s Office.
Office Manager, Janet Culpepper and the 11 civilian staff members ensure the accurate recording and filing of cases handled by the Sheriff’s Office, the efficient filing of warrants and civil papers as well as the financial transactions of public monies.
The Uniform Patrol Division is commanded by Captain Michael H. Weldon who has over 22 years of law enforcement experience. The Patrol Division consists of 4 shifts of Patrol Deputies which provide around the clock protection for the citizens and visitors of Lowndes County. Patrol Deputies responds to calls for service, answers calls and complaints, enforce traffic laws, patrols property and serves warrants and all other related court processes. If you have any questions concerning the Uniform Patrol Division please feel free to contact Capt. Weldon at (229) 671-3133 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit consists of 12 canine handlers. Eight of those canines are cross-trained for patrol work and narcotics detection. The cross trained canines are responsible for finding criminals, lost people, evidence, as well as narcotics detection. The other four canines are single purpose canines, which are utilized strictly for narcotics detection.
The canine handlers work in various areas of the agency, which allows for the most effective law enforcement response for the community. There are canines assigned to narcotics, warrants, patrol, and the jail.
To be a canine handler one must attend an initial canine school consisting of 400 patrol and 400 hour narcotic school. Once the canine team are released from the school and assigned a specific assignment, they must continue monthly training. Each canine team is required to attend training twice a month.
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit placed 3rd in the USPCA National competition as a team in 2007, which was their first time competing. Four Officers also competed in the 2008 USPCA Regional Field Trails where LCSO Deputy Jeffery Payne won the TOP DOG Award in Patrol and Top in Patrol and Narcotics combined. Cpl. Teresa Fisher placed 3rd in Patrol and 2nd overall combined and Deputy Terry Griffin placed 4th in Patrol.
The Jail also consists of the Transport Division under the supervision of Corporal Todd Moye. The Transport Division is a team of (8) eight personnel which handles the transport of prisoners to and from Prison, Detention/Diversion Centers, Rehabilitation Centers, mental health transports and any special details they may arise. If you would like more information on the Transport Division, you may contact Corporal Todd Moye at #229-671-3043.
The mission of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) Team is to enforce traffic laws on all major highways in Lowndes County. The team is pro-active and trained to look beyond the stop, in an attempt to interdict and suppress crime.
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office – Criminal Investigation Division is commanded by Capt. Wanda Edwards, a veteran law enforcement officer with over 28 years of experience. If you would like to contact Capt. Edwards, she can be reached at: 229.671.2956
The Criminal Investigation Division investigates both felony and misdemeanor crimes that are reported to the Sheriff’s Office. The division has ten (10) case agents and two (2) Crime Scene Technicians. The Crime Scene Unit has a fully equipped crime lab with AFIS and IAFIS technology and two Crime Scene Response Vehicles. The Criminal Investigation Division is also in charge of the custody of evidence for which there is one full time custodian assigned to.
It is the daily emphasis on conducting thorough and objective investigations that supports the credibility and ethical reputation that has been established as a standard for this division.
In addition to these responsibilities, the Criminal Investigation Division also manages the records of over 220 sex offenders registered in Lowndes County. Each investigator conducts monthly verifications of these registrants.
The Jail Operations Division is commanded by Captain Jason Clifton. Captain Clifton has fourteen years of law enforcement experience beginning in 1996 at the Florida Department of Corrections before coming to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in 1998. Captain Clifton has held the ranks of Sergeant (2003) and Staff Sergeant (2004) in Jail Operations before serving two years in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. Captain Clifton returned to the Jail Operations Division in 2007 as Lieutenant of Jail Operations administrations.
Captain Clifton manages the Lowndes County Jail Operations with over 100 Officers that supervise an average of 700 inmates per day.
The purpose of the Lowndes County Jail is to provide a clean, safe environment for persons being detained. To staff a secure facility with well-trained and responsible personnel who take custody of and deliver inmates to lawful courts and jurisdictions for the proper disposition of justice without interference; while protecting the human life and dignity of all parties.
JET Team (Jail Extraction Team)
The JET Team is under the supervision of Staff Sergeant Orlester McKinnon and consists of five personnel who have training in conducting cell extraction within the facility. They conduct daily inspections of dormitories and conduct cell searches to ensure sanitary conditions and help control and remove any contraband within the facility. The JET Team conducts investigations of incidents that occur within the jail.
The Court Services Division has 14 sworn officers and is commanded by Captain Carl L. Smith. Capt Smith has 35 years experience in law enforcement. The primary responsibility of this section is to ensure the safety and security of the Lowndes County Courthouse and the people who appear and work in it. Specifically this includes maintaining the safe environment of the various courts (Superior, State, Magistrate, Juvenile, and Probate Courts) and operating weapons screening systems at the Courthouse entrances. Other functions of the Court Services Division include the safe transportation of prisoners to and from Court, and Civil Paper Services and Returns. If you would like more information on the Court Services Division, contact Capt Smith at 229-671-2690 or email email@example.com.
The mission of Training Section is to provide the best possible training for new deputies, in-service personnel, and police personnel from other agencies who avail themselves of our services.
The Training Section is manned with 3 sworn and 1 civilian employees. While servicing approximately 230 employees. Lt. Joseph Dukes is the Training Coordinator. SSgt. Eric Robinson and Dep. Mike Lee are the full time instructors. The Senior Administrative Assistant is June Ricks.
The Training Section provides 52 hours of mandatory training for all Certified Peace Officer personnel and Certified Jail Officers. This is in addition to any other training an employee may need depending on their qualifications or certifications. Training includes:
Firearms tactics and officer survival training: Utilizing a wide array of training tools and techniques. The training includes building searches, pullover and approach, defensive tactics and many other tactical methods to address current risk management issues. Classes include on-duty and off-duty pistols, rifles, shotguns and less lethal weapons systems. Using a combination of a computer simulators (FATs) and simunitions. Students role play and can be involved in simulated confrontations with the staff who pose as suspects. These confrontations use real weapons that shoot “Simunitions”, which is a high-tech paint ball. This training is some of the most realistic training, deputies and police officers will ever face and prepares them for many tactical situations they may face while doing their jobs.
Keeping abreast on the changes in court decisions and new laws is the cornerstone of good law enforcement. Always keeping the constitutional rights of the citizenry at the fore front of training. Commonly covered subjects are:
Search and seizure/arrest
Emergency operation of vehicles/pursuit
Handling of the emotionally disturbed
Care, custody, restraints and transporting of prisoners
Special Operations: Special Response Team, Narcotics and High Risk warrant service
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E (Drug, Abuse, Resistance, Education) Program is a nationally acclaimed drug prevention program. It was adopted as the official program for the state of Georgia in 1990. In September 1991, it was implemented by the Lowndes County Board of Education. It is a collaborative program in which Law Enforcement and local schools join together to educate students about personal and social consequences of substance abuse and violence.
The D.A.R.E curricula are science based and is the largest and most effective educational delivery network. D.A.R.E is highly interactive, using small group discussions and role playing of real life situations that kids face constantly - the temptation and peer pressure to use tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Rigorous scientific evaluation has documented that kids who complete the D.A.R.E program, have improved decision making skills and view drugs as unacceptable and possess a significantly decreased likelihood of ever using drugs.
The four person D.A.R.E team go into the elementary schools of Lowndes County and teach students for a twelve week block of instruction per school; ending with a culmination ceremony. D.A.R.E is also taught with a two week program in the middle schools and high school as well. The deputies are also very active in many other community oriented services.
Members of the D.A.R.E team in addition to being certified law enforcement officers, receive additional yearly training in facilitating in a classroom setting and effective teaching methods and updates as mandated by D.A.R.E America. When not in a classroom teaching, each D.A.R.E officer remains in the school. Given that many of out schools populations are getting very large, schools are communities of their own. D.A.R.E officers protect those communities.
Narcotics / Warrants
The Special Operations Division was formed in early 2006 to combine officers assigned to several units into one cohesive unit that can more effectively focus its attention on certain aspects of criminal activity in Lowndes County. This combining of units allowed for a more productive use of our resources and streamlined our ability to respond to citizen complaints and department needs. The Division is comprised of members of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Fugitive units, and members of the FBI Gang Task Force. The primary tasks assigned to the Division is the suppression and apprehension of those violators associated with narcotic and vice related crime, gang crime, and all persons with active warrants or court orders for their arrest. The Division has three K9 teams assigned for fugitive apprehension and narcotic detection, and a Haz-Mat unit for clandestine lab processing and cleanup. Members of the Division receive intense training in many areas such as high risk warrant service, hostage rescue, barricaded suspects, high priority escorts, CQB, explosive entry, and electronic surveillance techniques, along with many other aspects of tactical operations associated with our job. All members of the Division are also assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT).
The School Resource Officer will provide a safe and secure learning environment on or around the school campus. The basic fundamental of the officer is to be a positive role model while counseling students who may need direction. The officer will support and assist school administration while providing numerous resources in maintaining order within any Board of Education. A School Resource Officer is in essence, community policing in the microcosm of the school environment. The officer confronts a multitude of problems both in the traditional police role of preventing and detecting crime, apprehending violators, the prosecution of those violators, to traffic control, to and including counseling students and staff with varying degrees of personal problems. The school itself is more than bricks and mortar; it is a glimpse to the past traditions, a reflection of the present society, and a window to the future of that culture. Resource officers have the critical opportunity to exert a positive influence on the children who are the road to becoming adult members of our society.
The position of School Resource Officer can be viewed in the context of that of a small town police department. The officers assigned to the middle schools with their populations of 1100 to 1400 or more students and staff confronts similar problems as that of a single officer working for a town with a similar population. The officers assigned to Lowndes High School with its daily population of around 3000 persons, which exceeds the population of many towns in Georgia and other states, have to deal with similar requests for service as officers working for small police agencies. The job of School Resource Officer is an opportunity for investment in the future of our community with an ability to impact that future in a way that few other positions in law enforcement can rival. In addition, School Resource Officers provide a first line of defense in the war on terrorism be it from foreign or domestic sources. Whereas most officers respond to active shooters, the school resource officer is already there and usually alone when it occurs at a school it is the resource officer that is entrusted with our most valuable possessions; our children.
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office is a member of a multi agency gang and violent crime task force operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and comprised of investigators from the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, the Valdosta Police Department, the Colquitt County Sheriff's Office, and the Thomasville Police Department. The unit targets criminal enterprises focused on violent crimes and related activities as associated to both local and regional organized and semi-organized gangs, as the threats faced by our community have increased with the dramatic rise in such offenses. The goal of the unit is to both deter and / or prosecute offenders involved in gang activities, to educate the community as to the threats posed by these offenders, and to assist other divisions of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office and associated law enforcement agencies in addressing crime related issues. Members of the unit are sworn FBI Task Force Officers, and as such investigate and prosecute criminal activity related to our mission in and around our area, regardless of state jurisdictional boundaries, utilizing the manpower, technical support, and financial resources of the Federal Government to accomplish our goals and better serve the citizens of our communities. Questions or information can be forwarded to SSgt. Rob Picciotti at (229) 671-3162.
The Dive Team (URT / Underwater Recovery Team) was formed in 2003 with the intention to have only a few S.C.U.B.A. certified divers. Since the originating date we have grown to 14 divers all of which are Advanced Open Water divers and Rescue diver certified. The URT is a combination of members from all divisions at the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. Our main focus is the recovery of Evidence that would be used in the prosecution of Criminal Activity; however we do assist in the recovery of drowning victims. The URT assist other agencies as needed or requested. The team has the following equipment available at any time; a Dive Van, Two large boats, four smaller Jon boats and each member has his/her own personal equipment.