Latest News and Notes from the Oconee County Sheriff's Office

Chief Deputy Lee Weems discusses why you should be careful about what you post on the Internet, neighborhood watch programs, and how to check if 911 calls from your residence will be routed to the correct county.

Around the World

In May of 2005, I had just been assigned as a Detective with the UGA Police when one day a young lady came to the Police Department wanting to speak to an officer about a problem she was having.  Someone had altered a picture so that her head was on another woman’s nude body, and this picture had been uploaded to some web page called "Facebook" with her name attached to it.  As she was telling me this story, I was thinking, “What’s a Facebook?”  The irony still amuses me every time that I relate this story.

Yes, there was a time when Facebook was not prevalent.  In fact, at that time, it was restricted to college students and was still a fairly new concept.  I registered an account that day in order to work the case, and after the case was over I pretty much forgot about Facebook until several months later I started getting email notifications due to friends from my undergrad days having found my profile. 

Fast forward to January of 2012 when from a Craig’s List posting.  The man was wearing a concealed video camera and captured on video an attempted robbery of which he was the victim.  I posted the video of the attempted robbery to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page in an attempt to identify the suspects only for another Deputy to see the video and recognize one of the “Fulcher boys” which, in turn, lead to the identity of the other; aided by one brother referring to the other brother by first name in the video. 

Several local media outlets picked up on the story immediately which led to the Atlanta media running it.  This led to CNN going nationwide with it.  Then we received a media inquiry from a news agency in Japan.  In a matter of just three days, a Facebook posting made it all the way from Oconee County to Japan. 

I related all of this as a means pointing out that once something has been uploaded to the internet, in a very short amount of time in can be worldwide.  This is something that should be considered before you share anything electronically.   The person that you are madly in love with at the time you send a revealing image is just a break up away from posting it online or emailing it to friends.  Parents, please be sure to discuss this with your children.

Neighborhood Watch

Recently the residents of Deerbrook and Silverleaf subdivisions organized a neighborhood watch program.  Sheriff Berry, Captain Gainey and I attended their organizational meeting along with 51 residents.  We were very impressed by this turnout and very much enjoyed the meeting. 

The county has agreed to put up neighborhood watch signs in any neighborhood that holds an organizational meeting for their watch.  Captain Gary Gainey is heading up your Sheriff Office’s neighborhood watch program.  He can be reached at pgainey@oconeesheriff.org or 706-769-3945.  We will gladly assist with helping get your neighborhood watch started, and once you have your organizational meeting, we will notify Public Works to have your neighborhood watch signs placed in your neighborhood.

Please allow me to extend a special thanks to Fran Davis and Tracy Bray for their leading the way in Deerbrook and Silverleaf.

Landline 911

Thankfully, most folks rarely have occasion to dial 911.  When the time to do so does arise that is not the time to discover that the phone system is routing your 911 call to the wrong county.  This has happened a few times with Bogart residents who live in the Oconee County portion of the city.  Recently, a resident of Oconee County who has an Athens address told us this was the case at their home as well. 

If you live in near the county line and want to check, please call 911 from your landline phone and tell the operator that you are checking to see which county is receiving your 911 calls.  Our 911 operators will be expecting these calls.  If there is a problem with where your call is routing, Captain Jimmy Williams, our E-911 Director, will help get this resolved for you.

Cell Phones and 911

Cell phones will route to the nearest available tower, so please listen closely to operator when you call 911.  They will tell you which county has received your call when they answer.  If you need to be transferred to the correct county, this can be quickly accomplished.  Just tell the operator which county you need.

Also, you can register your cell phone with Oconee County 911.  This will link your home address to your cell phone number.

Elect Trey Downs Sheriff March 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM
http://downsforsheriff.com/his-mission/ Please visit my website to read more about my goals and mission for the Sheriff's Office.
Tim Laturell March 08, 2012 at 08:34 PM
The above program, Neighborhood Watch, is a nation wide program which has been around since the 70's and used in many counties and states. Why the sudden press release about this program.Is this new in Oconee county?
Tim Laturell March 08, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Janice Stephens Hardigree March 08, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I find it ironic that Scott Berry is just now starting up programs that should have been in place years ago!! It is past time for a new Sheriff!!
Chief Lee Weems March 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Neighborhood Watch isn't anything new. Neither is the Oconee County Sheriff's Office participation in the program. The neighborhoods mentioned in this column recently held their organizational meeting, and citizens involved in the process sent me the picture included in the article; so, I included it.


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