The Tift County Sheriff’s Office was one of several law enforcement agencies to win big when the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) recently hosted its 12th Annual Governor’s Challenge Awards at the Macon Centreplex.
An annual recognition program of law enforcement agencies of all sizes and from all over the state, the program features recognition in seven different categories based on department size, as well as several other specialty categories.
The TCSO won second place in Category 4: 51-100 Officers. They also won the same place in this category at last year’s Governor’s Challenge. David Haire, public information officer at the TCSO, noted that their department finished first in the nation in this category by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
He added that they won the Occupant Protection Award, which is only given out to one agency in the state. They also won first place in the state in speed enforcement, which Haire stated that this category is not just about writing tickets.
Haire said they will receive $7,000 worth of equipment (safety traffic related) at no taxpayer expense. He explained that this equipment will be chosen based on what the department needs.
Designed to award outstanding achievements in highway safety enforcement and education, the Governor’s Challenge Awards recognize agencies for the approach and effectiveness of their overall highway safety programs. Agencies are evaluated not just for enforcement initiatives, but for innovative problem-solving in their communities, using public information activities and creating departmental policies that support their traffic enforcement campaign efforts.
“I want to congratulate Sheriff Gary Vowell on commanding such a hard working group of law enforcement officers,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “This award is indicative of their dedication to keeping their communities safe and free from dangerous drivers.”
When asked about receiving this honor, Vowell told The Gazette that he’s amazed at what his officers do.
“It’s not about the number of tickets they write,” he stated. “It’s about the job that they do at promoting traffic safety, and I’m sure they will continue to do the same job under new leadership.”
According to GOHS Law Enforcement Services Director Ricky Rich, “The agencies that win a Governor’s Challenge Award have gone the extra mile not only in their enforcement activities, but the professionalism in their work. We look forward to recognizing them every year for their efforts to keep our local roads and state highways as safe as possible.”
For more information about Georgia’s Governor’s Challenge Program, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or call 404-656-6996.