Dillinger says changes are working

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger defended the changes he made throughout 2006.

His office saw several.

In September former Deputy Scott Holloway resigned. Nov. 8, the day after he was re-elected, Dillinger asked for Deputy Kevin Burns' and jailer John Davis' resignations. Dec. 14 he told Deputy Terry Walker that he was no longer needed to serve as chief deputy.

"I've made changes, but we've still accomplished a lot," he said.

Dillinger said the current group of deputies is right for the county. "People elected me to make the decisions. I've done what I thought was best for Fulton (County). Everything goes through me now -- and things seem to be real good. Everybody's working together real nice," he said.

Dillinger noted one change he was especially proud of. "I'm the first (Fulton County) sheriff to hire a female deputy," Dillinger said. "Rhonda (Long) is very smart, and I thought it was time to give her a chance."

Dillinger said that in 2006 his deputies made numerous drug arrests and that they are determined to make Fulton County as "clean" as possible.

"You hardly ever hear about meth labs in the county anymore," Dillinger said. "We've only had to have four or five meth busts this year -- that's better than it has been."

Illegal use of prescription drugs is the county's most threatening drug issue, according to Dillinger. He said Fulton County deputies had to deal with prescription drugs all throughout the year. "That's been our nightmare," he said.

Dillinger said he was looking forward to 2007. "It'll be a good year for us -- I hope to continue the work we've been doing," he said.

Dillinger said he has learned from past mistakes and will incorporate this knowledge into how he leads his deputies.

In November the Fulton County Quorum Court questioned the large amount of overtime hours the deputies accumulated each pay period. "We'll try not to accumulate so much comp time anymore; there will be some, but we're gonna work to cut it down," he said.

Dillinger said he plans to continue working with the Drug Task Force and become even more involved with the agency.

He said he encourages people to call his office if they have any comments or suggestions or any information regarding individuals involved with crime. Dillinger also said he encourages Fulton County residents to support the sheriff's office. "I've been doing this a while. I've learned things. I now know what it takes to make it work ... overall, I think we've done a pretty good job handling things up to this point," he said.

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