After a three month evaluation, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office released on Friday the findings and recommendations from a special transition team tasked to evaluate the department from top to bottom. The RCSO has begun to move on a few of the recommendations from the team, including a reorganization of the divisions and developing a strategic plan.
The five-person team assembled by newly elected Sheriff Eric Levett consisted of the following members: Beverly Thomas from Georgia Piedmont Technical College (Chairperson), Major Jeff Norman from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Lieutenant Tyrone Oliver from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, retired Special Agent in Charge Steve Edwards from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and instructor Jonathon Fuss from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.
The transition team was asked to assess the current organization, operation and service delivery of the RCSO and jail based on the priorities of reducing crime and meeting the equipment/safety needs of deputies, according to a released statement. The assessment was conducted by touring buildings/facilities, reviewing documents and conducting interviews with personnel.
The 63-page report commended the dedication and work of employees despite shortcomings in equipment, trainings or personnel. The report reviewed operations details down to camera angles and break facilities but also reviewed the overarching strategic outlook and structure.
One of the major recommendations that came from the team was a reorganization of the divisions.
“It is obvious to the team that there are serious structural reorganization needs within the department. Some divisions/areas were positioned with others that did not lead to any logical organization. Some areas are seriously lacking in personnel while others are abundant,” wrote the team.
Levett said out of the many recommendations from the report, one that stood out was the reorganization of the agency to allocate enough resources and equipment to combat crime.
“That’s what I campaigned on — making sure we have enough deputies on the street and making sure deputies are equipped,” he said.
The department announced on Friday that there will be a multi-phase reorganization over the next month. Phase 1 will consist of consolidation and clarification of divisions of command for service delivery; Phase 2 will see promotional testing and appointments to fill vacancies; during Phase 3, there will be reassignment of personnel to authorized staffing levels/positions within each bureau.
As of April 9, the RCSO divisions have been reorganized to: Sheriff’s Administration, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Field Services Bureau, Jail Bureau, Judicial Services Bureau, Office of Professional Standards, and Support Services Bureau. This merges the former Court Services Division with the former Warrants and Civil Division into the new Judicial Services Bureau, and the separates the Office of Professional Standards into its own separate entity.
Even though the changes are estimated to occur over the next month, Levett said employees were notified ahead of time by memo and command staff have been talking with deputies about the changes.
Levett added, “We are in the process of having departmental meetings. Of course the Chief Deputy will be available to meet with them, and I’ve always expressed to deputies that I have an open door policy.”
Another priority area that the agency has started working on is developing a strategic plan. The work is estimated to be completed in about a year and will focus on modernizing the department while continuing to provide services, according to the released statement.
The transition team submitted the final report to Sheriff Levett on April 1 and a copy of the report was given to all employees on April 5. In a released statement to RCSO employees, Levett said that not all the recommendations would necessarily be implemented, but that would be studied for feasibility.
“I want to thank each of you for your open, candid responses to the Transition Team,” wrote Levett. “The Transition Team has commended the quality of the personnel here at the Sheriff’s Office. I could not agree more and commend you all for the excellent work and dedication you demonstrate.”
(April 12, 3:09 p.m.) IN BRIEF: The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office released the recommendations and report of the transition team that was tasked by Sheriff Eric Levett when he came into office in January with evaluating the entire department and recommending any changes.
The PDF of the report and organizational chart is attached and available above.
More later on this developing story.