Sherrif Eric Bryant Addresses Civitan

Published 9:46 pm Friday, October 27, 2023

Gerald Smith introduced Sherrif Eric Bryant to the Civitan Meeting on October 24th at the Quality Inn. Sherrif Eric Byrant addressed those gathered.
“Thank you all for having me today. Always a pleasure to talk about the things that are going on here in Americus in Sumter County and Leslie and Plains and Andersonville and Cobb. I try not to leave anybody out of the confines of Sumter County Georgia. Unfortunately, I stand here in the midst of a homicide that occurred within our city limits last night. Unfortunately, there was one young man, twenty-two years of age that passed away due to his injuries, and the second young man is in his mid to late twenties, who was airlifted to a trauma center up in Macon Georgia.
Crime in Sumter County is no different from anywhere else. Unfortunately we have crime and we have an increased amount of crime. And when I say increase, thankfully within the areas of responsibility, meaning that the areas that my office accounts for, thankfully major crimes are down. We logged one homicide this year.”
He mentioned shots fired were high.
“But we’re also as Sherrif responsible for things that go on in the entire County where unfortunately within our city limits, the number of shootings, unfortunately that number has increased a little bit compared to last year. And when I say shootings, these are just random shots fired and something was struck.
The type of crime that has increased the most is what I would call financial card fraud, bank fraud, and identity theft.”
He addressed the importance of the community.
“As a citizen in a community that you want to keep safe, continue reporting things that don’t look right, don’t smell right or that just don’t sit right.”
He discussed how technology helped alleviate the problem.
“We currently have traffic cameras out, and we also have what we call tag reading cameras out in the communities.”
Bryant stressed participation in the legal process.
“Last week we had an aggravated assault trial, there were three defendants, that had shot an individual. Thankfully the individual survived, but he has life altering changes based upon the gun shot. We sent out a jury summons out of a pool of 250 jurors. 80 people showed up.
I was sitting in the next court room, waiting to have a trial for a guy who committed an armed robbery at one of our local Dollar Generals. Because the jury pool was so small, they could not pick a jury to have my armed robbery trial. This armed robbery happened in 2019.
We all have gotten frustrated with the judicial process. But we still got to do it. We have to show patience, we have to show kindness and respect.”
He talked about how safety concerns affected police officers.
“Now when you encounter someone in public safety, it is a different world. Because they want to come home too.”
Bryant mentioned staffing issues.
“Entry level salary for a deputy sheriff is $17.50 now, which is an increase from what it used to be. What I am up against is recruiting individuals that want to put on a uniform, put themselves between peace and harm, for $17.50 an hour.”
He stated his response.
“People don’t always work for money. Relationships go a long way.”
Bryant discussed how the staffing issues affected the Sherrif’s Department.
“I’m having to recruit younger.”
He also addressed issues with those who were willing to work.
“I had a female corrections officer. Hired her, nice young lady, aggressive, but firm. Great fit to work in the jail environment. Every employee in my data base, their phone number is flagged in the system. So when an inmate calls that phone, we want to know ‘Hey what that conversation about?’ She got a whole relationship with an inmate in my jail for murder. That happened two weeks ago.”
James Wolf asked a question.
“Out of all the crime here in Sumter County, what percentage of it is drug related verses bad temper?”
Bryant responded.
“70-80% of any crime, shootings, thefts, is drug or alcohol related.”
He stated mental health issues were another factor, talking about the jail population.
“60% of them are taking some kind of mental health medication.”
Bryant called for a community wide response.
“You need to call the law, the preacher, the doctor, the councilor, all of us need to be at the table.”