The Calhoun Police Department was recognized last week at the 17th annual Governor's Office of Highway Safety Challenge Awards, hosted by the Governor's Office at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah.
The Calhoun Police Department, in award Category 3 for departments of 26-50 officers, received 159.9 total points for the overall Governor's Cup, and took the first place award in Category 3.
The recognition program is for statewide law enforcement agencies of all sizes, and features awards in seven different categories based on department size as well as several other specialty categories and a grand prize, the Governor's Cup, given to the top performing department among all categories.
The Calhoun City Council on Monday night recognized the achievements of the CPD.
According to Calhoun City Councilman Al Edwards, the awards program is designed to highlight outstanding achievements in highway safety enforcement and education, and agencies are graded upon their approach and effectiveness of their overall highway safety programs. Points are given for policy, training, recognition, public information activities, enforcement and effectiveness of operations.
"While it's aggravating to have to slow down when you're in a hurry to get somewhere, the results of obeying speed limit laws are directly related to fewer accidents and the severity of damage
and injury is not as great when accidents do occur at lower speeds," said Edwards. "Tens of thousands of cars and trucks are on our city streets every day; on State Route 53 near Wal-Mart, about 30,000 vehicles pass by on an average day, and South Wall Street has 20,000 vehicles every day. Line Street near First Methodist Church averages around 7,000 cars a day. We have a responsibility to make motorists aware that traffic enforcement is on the job, and every one of us have a stake in highway safety. The thing I've noticed over the years is that the 16, 17 and 18-year-old drivers are aware that the Calhoun Police Department seems to be everywhere, and this is an important and ongoing reminder to our youngest drivers about responsibility and safety. From speeding to no seat belts; no license to DUIs and other traffic violations, the Calhoun Police Traffic Operations is on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the safety of all of us. I would just like to say job well done and congratulations, and thank you to those of you here and those who are part of the department who can't be here because they are out doing their job."
Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer also complimented the department. "It is quiet an honor. I look at some of the names of the divisions that have won this in the past and I am proud to see Calhoun on that trophy as well."
A total of 23 different law enforcement agencies were honored during the awards program. "The Governor's Challenge program is our opportunity to recognize innovative and effective highway safety programs and to thank these agencies for their hard work," said GOHS Law Enforcement Services Director Roger Hayes in a statement. "These agencies represent the best of the best and they are making a difference in their communities."
For more information on the Georgia Governor's Challenge program, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.
According to the Adairsville Police Department, at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, an officer with the APD was performing routine patrol and observed a suspicious vehicle parked in a cul-de-sac in Barnsley Village subdivision. The officer observed two people inside the vehicle, so he got out with them to further investigate.
The male subject, identified later as Joseph Frank Williamson, age 30, of 240 King Street in Calhoun, was sitting in the driver's seat and a female juvenile passenger, age 15, was sitting in the passenger seat. The officer asked Williamson what they were doing parked in the area, and Williamson stated they were just talking and that he was friends with the juvenile's mother. The officer asked the juvenile female for her I.D. and she stated she left it at home. When the officer asked her age, she first stated she was 18. The officer kept talking with her and she then stated she was 16, then finally revealed she was in fact 15. The officer asked if her mother knew she was with Williamson and she stated no. The officer then contacted the mother of the juvenile, who was at work, and the mother confirmed that the juvenile was not allowed to be with Williamson and also advised the officer that she had told Williamson to stay away from her daughter.
The officer then contacted the on-call detective and Williamson was taken to the police department for further questioning. During the interview, it was discovered that Williamson and the juvenile had been having sexual relations for more than a year. A later search of Williamson's phone revealed explicit photographs and text messages between Williamson and the juvenile. During questioning, Williamson stated the sexual activities took place at his residence located in Calhoun. Williamson was then placed under arrest and transported to the Bartow County Jail.
Williamson was subsequently charged by Adairsville Police Department with 75 counts of child pornography, one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of interference with custody.
Captain Tony Pyle with the Calhoun Police Department was notified and stated he would have his on-call detective follow-up with the Adairsville detective. More charges are pending in Calhoun.
Qualifying ended on Friday for the upcoming Municipal General Election and according to Gordon County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Chairperson Shea Hicks, the cities of Fairmount and Plainville will not have elections unless someone qualifies as a write-in due to all incumbents qualifying in the cities with no opposition.
A municipal election is held for towns, cities or other special districts and is held in odd-numbered years.
The following candidates have qualified for the upcoming Municipal General Election:
City of Calhoun:
For City Council Post 3, incumbent councilman Matt Barton will face former Calhoun councilman George Crowley.
For City Council Post 4, former Calhoun councilman Ray Denmon, former Gordon County commissioner Alvin Long and Ed Moyer have all qualified to run for the post being vacated by David Hammond.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 1, only local photographer Andy Baxter is running, the post being vacated by current school board member Alvin Long.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 2, incumbent Rhoda Washington will see no opposition, as well as Calhoun City School Board Post 3, where incumbent David Scoggins was the lone qualifier.
City of Fairmount:
Incumbent Fairmount City Council member Steve Fain qualified for Post 1 and incumbent Fairmount City Council member Jim Dodd qualified for Post 3; if no one qualifies as a write-in candidate for Fairmount City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
City of Plainville:
Incumbent Plainville City Council member James Miller qualified for Post 3 and incumbent Plainville City Council member Frances Fossett qualified for Post 4; if no one qualifies as a write-in candidate for Plainville City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
Town of Resaca:
For Resaca Town Council Post 3, Michael Austin, Randy Barron and Mitch Reed will all vie for the post.
For Resaca Town Council Post 4, incumbent Sandra Adams will see no opposition.
In addition to the above seats up for grabs, this year's ballot will see voters having the opportunity to continue the 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax by voting for the 2018 SPLOST, which will be used for the purpose of funding certain capital outlay projects within Gordon County, including the cities of Calhoun, Fairmount, Plainville and Resaca. The SPLOST is not an additional tax, it's a continuation of the current SPLOST in place.
This year's ballot will also include a referendum to gain input by the voters in the City of Calhoun on their interest in term limits for the mayor and city council, as well as extending the number of members on the Calhoun City Council from four members to six members.
The Municipal General Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017; other important dates in this election cycle are:
Oct. 10 is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the election;
Oct. 16 is the first day to mail or issue absentee ballots and early voting begins on this day;
Nov. 3 is the last day to mail or issue absentee ballots.