Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested two individuals last night after meeting them in the Wal-Mart parking lot to purchase a stolen shooting house. According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, the owner of the property noticed that his shooting house was for sale on social media. He immediately contacted the Sheriff’s Office and investigators planned to set up a meeting with the suspects to purchase the item. On Monday evening, the suspects, Ricky L. Sentell, and Justin L. Smart, both 33 of Piedmont, met with an undercover investigator and sold the stolen property. Sheriff’s Office deputies immediately took the two suspects into custody and recovered the stolen item. Both were transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center on the charge of third degree theft of property.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, deputies arrested a Dalton, Georgia, man on Saturday after breaking into a fireworks stand on U.S. Highway 278 near the state line. Lt. Bo Jolly charged Scottie R. Guffey, age 44, with third degree burglary and criminal mischief after responding to a call reporting a fire at the fireworks stand. Spring Garden Fire Department along with Cherokee and Cleburne County deputies responded and discovered there was no fire but instead found a man who had broken into the building but could not get out. Deputies took him into custody after the fire department assisted in ensuring there was no fire.
Last week, Birmingham television station ABC 33/40 produced a story featuring the outstanding work being performed by Sam Griggs, LBSW, a CED Mental Health professional assigned to the Cherokee County Detention Center. The program is part of a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illness in county jails across the United States. The effort is part of the Stepping Up Initiative, which also aims to raise awareness of factors that contribute to the over-representation of people with mental illnesses in jails, and to develop practices and strategies to reduce the numbers. It is led by the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.
Hundreds of counties across the country, including only about ten in Alabama, have passed resolutions to support the initiative. The Cherokee County Commission adopted the initiative’s resolution August 14, 2017. Locally, District 3 Commissioner Marcie Foster and County Administrator Daniel Steele headed up the initiative. The collaborative efforts between the service provider CED Mental Health Center and Cherokee County Officials has proven the grant is making services possible for the mentally ill and to those suffering from addiction.
According to Cherokee County Probate Judge Tim Burgess, the mental health position held by Sam Griggs is made possible by a grant awarded to CED Mental Health, which collects the data, manages reports and provides services to those screened for care. The grant was made possible by the Dannon Project for the Stepping Up Initiative. Probate Judge/Cherokee Commission Chairman stated that Cherokee County is very fortunate to have been awarded this grant. Griggs, who began working with the Detention Center in November of last year, has the duty to evaluate for mental illness and substance use disorders every arrestee or potential arrestee. Griggs then works with CED Mental Health to obtain mental health and/or substance abuse services for inmates that are assessed as needing those services. Judge Burgess expressed his appreciation to Commissioner Foster for her efforts in leading this project.
Commissioner Foster said she chose the Stepping Up Initiative as her passion project because she had observed a lack of services and resources in Cherokee County and felt that this program could greatly increase the quality of life for many residents. Nationally an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses—almost three-quarters of whom also have a co-occurring substance use disorder—are booked into county jails each year. Once arrested those with mental illnesses remain in jail longer and are at a much higher risk for returning than those without a mental illness. The toll of this cycle is staggering, both in the human cost and the cost to taxpayers; jails spend two to three times more on those with mental illness but do not see improvements in the recidivism cycle or in the recovery of the persons with traditional methods.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, law enforcement has seen a significant increase of inmates with mental health issues since the closing of several state funded mental hospitals nearly a decade ago. Shaver said that the goal is to reduce the number of inmates in the county jail because of mental illness by getting them the mental health treatment the individual needs, which should save the county money by reducing the inmate population.
The ABC 33/40 can be viewed at the following link: https://abc3340.com/news/local/cherokee-county-mental-health-profession-helping-screen-inmates.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested 2 suspects on Friday for drug trafficking. According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, the first arrest for trafficking came after a brief pursuit through Cedar Bluff by Sheriff’s Office investigators. The pursuit ended on Highway 9 and 29 year-old Michael S. Shropshire, of Cedar Bluff, was taken into custody on charges of drug trafficking, unlawful possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, attempting to elude, 2 counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, second degree possession of a forged instrument, and second degree promoting prison contraband. The suspect was in possession of several ounces of methamphetamine, pills, suboxone, and counterfeit money.
Later in the day investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in Gaylesville and seized several more ounces of methamphetamine. As a result of the search warrant, Jennifer Ledford, 26, of Gaylesville, was arrested for drug trafficking, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Both suspects were transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Investigators Monroy and Stepps and Chief Deputy Summerford responded to a home burglary on Monday near Lindsey’s Store on County Road 22. According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, the homeowner discovered their door had been kicked in, and after investigators made sure the residence was safe, discovered several items of jewelry and a computer tablet had been stolen. Sheriff’s investigators, with the help of the homeowner, were able to track the tablet by GPS and located two suspects and the stolen items in Polk County, Georgia. Investigators Stepps and Monroy seized the stolen property and charged William A. Brown, 43 of Forsyth, Georgia, and Amanda S. Davis, 39 of Cedartown, Georgia, with third degree burglary and first degree theft of property. Polk County Police arrested the couple for receiving stolen property and the suspects will be extradited to the Cherokee County Detention Center upon release from Polk County Jail.
Two trucks were stolen from a Leesburg residence last week and were quickly recovered by Cherokee County and Etowah County deputies. According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, one of the trucks was recovered by Etowah County deputies after wrecking during a pursuit in the Ball Play area. The other truck was later recovered by Cherokee County deputies. Cherokee County investigators were able to quickly develop suspects in the theft and make three arrests last week. The three suspects, Brandon T. Cobb, 18, of Sand Rock, Tracy A. Thompson, 19 of Leesburg, and Taylor W. Rochester, 18 also of Leesburg, were charged by Chief Investigator Michael Green with two counts of first degree theft of property. All three remain in the Cherokee County Detention Center. According to Chief Deputy Josh Summerford, the three are part of 51 arrests made by Sheriff’s investigators in January.
According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, deputies from both the patrol and investigations division arrested two suspects for drug trafficking in the early morning hours on Friday. Deputies conducted a vehicle stop on Highway 9 near the Georgia state line at approximately 5 A.M. which resulted in two individuals being charged. Investigators charged Adden L. Mobley, 40, of Centre, and Richard M. Bonanno, 44 of Summerville, Georgia, with drug trafficking and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. According to Chief Deputy Josh Summerford, investigators seized over 2 pounds of methamphetamine and liquids containing methamphetamine from the vehicle. The arrests were the result of a joint drug investigation between the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia investigators.
According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, Cherokee County Sheriff’s investigators recently recovered a stolen utility trailer and charged two suspects. The 16 foot utility trailer was stolen from a residence in the Ferrell community on the last day of 2018. On Monday, Investigator Stepps and Investigator Monroy recovered the stolen item in Silver Creek, Georgia with the assistance of Floyd County law enforcement. The suspects, Arthur S. Rich, age 43, and Charles G. Neal, age 40, both of Cedar Bluff, have been charged with first degree theft of property.
Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver reports the most recent Citizen’s Firearms Safety Course was a huge success with nearly 50 people in attendance. The course was made up of two sessions, including a classroom session and a firearms range session. Firearms expert and Sheriff’s Office Investigator Matt Sims, along with Investigator Jim Roberts and Chief Investigator Josh Summerford led the classroom portion which took place last week on the campus of Gadsden State Cherokee.
Instructors educated attendees on the facts regarding new firearms laws, how to safely and legally carry firearms, information about concealed weapons permits, firearms instruction, and hands-on firearms experience.
The hands-on session was held at the indoor range at B.J.’s Gun Shop in Centre, where Sheriff’s Office personnel assisted students with actual shooting.
“I believe the participants learn a lot from the classes, and we enjoy being able to interact and educate the public and make our communities more safe,” says Sheriff Jeff Shaver.
The Citizen’s Firearms Safety Course is sponsored by Sheriff Jeff Shaver and District Attorney Mike O’Dell in conjunction with Gadsden State Community College. Future classes will be planned for later this year, and the date will be announced in coming months. You may contact Johnna Lindsey at Gadsden State-Cherokee at 256-927-1806 to add your name to the waiting list for the next training.
Two individuals were taken into custody Thursday night after a vehicle pursuit and foot pursuit. According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, Cherokee County deputies and Leesburg Police officers were conducting a driver’s license and safety checkpoint at the intersection of Alabama Highway 273 and Pemco Drive in Leesburg on Thursday evening. A vehicle approached the checkpoint and quickly sped through nearly striking a deputy and a Leesburg officer and then sped north on Highway 273. Law enforcement, including Cedar Bluff Police officers, pursued the vehicle on multiple roads along Highway 273 and lost sight of the vehicle several times because the driver was turning off his headlights.
Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Nick Vaughn spotted the suspects on County Road 136 and again began pursuing them. The vehicle turned onto County Road 48 where Sheriff’s Sgt. Sheldon Estes and Leesburg Officer Shane Butler disabled the vehicle by deploying spike strips. The two suspects, later identified as Tyler N. Adams, 20, of Leesburg, and Darris O. Grace, 22, of Augusta, Georgia, fled on foot into the woods. Adams, who was carrying a stolen pistol, dropped it and was quickly apprehended. Grace, who was also armed, was apprehended after he broke into a vehicle at a residence.
Both were transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center on a list of charges. Adams, the driver, was charged with attempting to elude, 2 counts of second degree assault, first degree receiving stolen property, fourth degree receiving stolen property, carrying a pistol without a permit, resisting arrest and DUI. Adams was served with warrants for FTA on domestic violence and a bond revocation. Grace was charged with first degree receiving stolen property, attempting to elude, carrying a pistol without a permit, and 2 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle.
Chief Deputy Josh Summerford said, “we are thankful that no law enforcement was injured during this dangerous incident. The deputies and officers involved did a great job by removing these extremely reckless individuals from the roadway.”