Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department

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April 21, 2016

Virgin Island Training

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office hosted a visit by the US Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) staff this week after Sheriff Butch Conway entered into a formal agreement on April 5, 2016 with the US Virgin Islands BOC to offer critical training.

BOC Director Rick Mullgrav, a former deputy, resigned from the sheriff’s office in 2015 to return to his US Virgin Islands home after being appointed by Governor Kenneth Mapp to serve as the Bureau of Corrections Director.  He enlisted the help of Sheriff Conway to bring the BOC up to American Correctional Standards (ASC) and brought several members of his staff for a four day educational tour of the Gwinnett County Jail on Saturday, concluding the visit yesterday.

The group reviewed training in areas such as:  use of force, booking procedures, contraband, searches, prisoner’s constitutional rights, ethics, report writing, sexual harassment, mental health, suicide screening, communicable diseases, inmate visitation, facility security, officer stress, prisoner correspondence, food service, hostage situations, prisoner transport, classification of prisoners, defensive tactics, grievances, prisoner activities, emergency procedures, basic jail operations, staff liability, staff-prisoner relations, prisoner discipline, investigations, disruptive prisoners and key/tool control.

Sheriff Conway was characteristically quick to lend a helping hand to his former deputy.  “I consider it a compliment that a former staff member who is now in a position of even greater responsibility thinks highly enough of our operations to implement our procedures in the US Virgin Islands prison system.  We’re happy to support Director Mullgrav in his effort to bring excellence to his agency.”

Director Mullgrav added, “We’re very excited about the opportunity to work with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.  This is a major step forward in achieving ASC compliance for our prison system.  As a former deputy, I know firsthand how efficient operations are at the Gwinnett County Jail and I hope to bring their standard of operations to the US Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections. We appreciate the training provided by Sheriff Conway and his professional staff and look forward to a long lasting relationship between the BOC and the sheriff’s office.”

April 4, 2016

Summary Judgment

A federal judge has granted a summary judgment in favor of Sheriff Butch Conway and members of his staff after a 2013 lawsuit filed by four former inmates at the Gwinnett County Jail filed suit challenged deputies’ use of the restraint chair, a safety tool reserved for disruptive inmates who pose danger to themselves or others.

After extensive discovery, United States District Judge Steve C. Jones granted summary judgment to the sheriff and his staff in February 2015.  An appellate court remanded the case to Judge Jones for reconsideration in light of a United States Supreme Court case.

On Friday April 1, 2016 the federal court again granted summary judgment to Sheriff Conway and the two members of his command staff who were also named in the lawsuit.  In a 66 page order, the Court found that no constitutional violations had occurred and dismissed all the plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety.

Sheriff Butch Conway has been unwavering in his support of the Rapid Response Team, a jail tactical team that trains regularly for jail emergencies and whose members are tasked with restraining disruptive inmates.

“I’ve been proud of the Rapid Response Team and their excellent work since the team was formed in 2008.  They train hard to maintain a safe environment in the jail for inmates and staff alike,” says Sheriff Conway.  “Interestingly, this is the second summary judgment in our favor from the federal court.  When you do things the right way, things always seem to work out in your favor.  It’ll be interesting to see if attorneys Craig Jones and John Cicala are ready to concede that my highly trained, experienced deputies are doing a good job.  Any further expenditure of time or resources pursuing these baseless claims would appear to be a waste for both of them.”

March 17, 2016

OSC Expansion

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the upcoming expansion of Operation Second Chance and that plans are underway to add a second Jail Dogs unit to double our rescue effort.

Sheriff Butch Conway started Operation Second Chance in February 2010 in an effort to reduce the euthanasia rate of unwanted dogs in the county.  Partnering with Dennis Kronenfeld, founder of Society of Humane Friends of Georgia, the program began rescuing dogs that were nearing their expiration date at the Gwinnett Animal Shelter.  The rescued dogs live at the jail with non-violent inmates who care for and train the dogs until they are adopted into suitable homes.  Volunteer trainers, groomers and other animal experts visit the unit regularly, teaching the inmates how to properly care for and train the dogs utilizing positive reinforcement training techniques.  Operation Second Chance has rescued more than 300 dogs to date.  In October 2013, cats were added to the program, allowing female inmates to participate in animal rescue and resulting in the rescue of over 40 cats.

In addition to the obvious benefits to the dogs and cats, Operation Second Chance benefits the inmates who participate by providing them the opportunity to be responsible, goal oriented and to achieve success with the dogs that they train.  Many inmates have left incarceration with the intention of pursuing a career that involves working with animals.  “I hope the positive reinforcement training techniques they learned at the jail and the patience required to train abused and neglected animals will help them become better citizens,” says Sheriff Conway.

The catalyst for expansion of the rescue program was feedback from Gwinnett County citizens, who encouraged Sheriff Conway to grow the program.  Each grand jury is charged with inspecting the county jail and their reports have praised the program since it began, many of them suggesting that the program be expanded.  The feedback we receive about it, combined with the tremendous support from the public, made it clear that we could do even more to rescue unwanted dogs and cats in Gwinnett County.  Sheriff Conway credits the many volunteers and donors for the program’s success.
“I cannot thank our program supporters enough for their encouragement.  We couldn’t do it without them.” – Sheriff Conway.

Operation Second Chance is supported by volunteers and donations, not tax dollars.  It is frequently visited by sheriff’s offices across the country who are interested in joining the animal rescue effort and creating a similar program in their own jails.  To learn more about Operation Second Chance, please visit www.jaildogs.org.  You can also follow them on Facebook at Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program.

Fugitive Arrest – Thomas

A convicted child molester jumped off his roof last night to avoid arrest, leading Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a five hour search before he was captured.

At approximately 7 pm, deputies assigned to our Warrants Division were attempting to serve a Fulton County warrant on 30 year old Quan Anthony Thomas at 3757 September Way in Snellville for failing to register as a sex offender.  When deputies arrived at the residence, Quan Thomas fled to the attic, eventually escaping through the attic vent onto the roof, where he jumped off and disappeared into a wooded area.

Deputies from our Civil Division, Field Operations Division, LPR (License Plate Reader) Unit and K-9 Unit assisted the Warrants Division deputies with the search, along with several Gwinnett County Police officers, who also provided critical air support with the use of their helicopter.  The strong law enforcement presence resulting from the joint effort enabled them to quickly set up a good perimeter, increasing the likelihood that the suspect was still in the area.

Sheriff Butch Conway was an active participant in the search after receiving an email from a citizen giving him details about the neighborhood in which authorities were conducting the search.  The quick thinking citizen provided information such as which houses were vacant, which neighbors were on vacation and other relevant facts, which Sheriff Conway relayed to his deputies conducting the search.  It was ultimately a sheriff’s K-9 who located the suspect, alerting his handler that the suspect was hiding in a residential garage after kicking the door in to gain entry.

Quan Thomas was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the Gwinnett County Jail.  He faces charges of Obstruction (x4) and Burglary in addition to the outstanding Fulton County Warrant.  He’s currently being held without bond.

March 11, 2016

Civilian Active Shooter Training

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is offering an informative class to help citizens prepare for an encounter with an active shooter.

Our training staff will offer two classes on Thursday, March 24th at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.  The two hour class is offered twice on that date starting at 2 pm and again at 6 pm.  The training is modeled after Texas State University’s ALERRT Center and will include topics such as:

•    the background of disaster response
•    the decision making  process when under stress
•    an overview of active shooter events
•    tactics to survive an active shooter event – Avoid, Deny, Defend
•    the aftermath of an event

Sheriff Butch Conway offers this training free of charge and encourages Gwinnett County residents to attend.  Registration is required due to limited seating.  For additional information or to register for the class, please email Sabrina Cooper – sabrina.cooper@gwinnettcounty.com.
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March 7, 2016

Phone Scam Arrests

Deputies assigned to our Investigative Services Division arrested two suspects yesterday in connection with a common phone scam.  Warrants for a third suspect have also been obtained.

The investigation began February 26th when a citizen contacted the sheriff’s office to report that she had been victimized by a caller identifying himself as “Deputy Schaffer” with “the sheriff’s office” and informing her that there was a warrant for her arrest for failing to appear to a grand jury summons.  The victim paid a total of $3,800 in rechargeable money cards, Western Union and MoneyGram wire transfers.

Reports of the grand jury phone scam are not new to the sheriff’s office.  We began investigating numerous phone scam reports in 2014, prompting Sheriff Butch Conway to form a multi-jurisdictional task force to combat the problem.  When it became apparent that the perpetrators of the phone scam were Georgia state prison inmates utilizing contraband cell phones to victimize unsuspecting citizens, the FBI began heading and coordinating the joint investigation, dubbing it “Operation Ghost Guard” and recently concluding with the arrests of over 130 suspects.

Yesterday Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested 22 year old Marissa Eastwood of Lilburn, charging her with Theft by Deception and 24 year old Chelsea Allyse Guevara of Lawrenceville, charging her with Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception.  A warrant was obtained for 26 year old Nicolas Brady Kennedy, an Autry State Prison inmate, for Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception.

The Investigative Services Division Commander, Lt. Colonel Carl Sims, says, “We appreciate the timely assistance of the Department of Corrections Criminal Investigation Unit.  They acted immediately upon our request, locating dozens of contraband cell phones in their facility.  Their actions resulted in the immediate apprehension and transfer of Nicolas Kennedy to a maximum security facility and the recovery of evidence which will assist us in the prosecution of this case.”

Sheriff Butch Conway appreciates the diligent work of his investigators and the swiftness in which this case was investigated.  “I don’t like seeing innocent people being victimized by anyone, but even less so by state prison inmates.  They rob their victims of much more than money, they rob them of their sense of well-being.  I am committed to doing everything within my power to stop them,” he says.

Sheriff Conway also asks that citizens speak to their elderly family and friends who may not utilize the internet or social media to ensure that they’re aware that no government agency will ask for payment of fines over the phone, especially using money cards or wire transfers.

March 2, 2016

Naxolone Administration

Deputies assigned to our court services unit were attempting warrant service at the Allround Suites extended stay hotel at 3175 Medlock Bridge Road in Norcross today around 1:30 pm when they were flagged down by residents reporting an unconscious female in the rear of the hotel’s parking lot.

Deputies responded, quickly locating the unconscious female in her vehicle.  She was not breathing.  While assessing the victim for first aid, deputies noted fresh needle marks on her arm and a hypodermic syringe nearby.  Deputies administered naloxone hydrochloride, also known as Narcan, which is a prescription drug intended to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.  The victim responded positively to the medication and began breathing on her own.  She was transported to the hospital by responding paramedics.

Narcan has been standard issue for Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles since August 2015, at the urging of Sheriff Butch Conway.  Naloxone may be injected in the muscle, vein or under the skin or sprayed into the nose and has been used in hospitals and ambulances for decades as an antidote for opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine and other prescription pain medications.  Naloxone only works if a person has opioids in their system; the medication has no effect if opioids are absent.

The acquisition of naloxone is yet another measure Sheriff Conway has taken to promote the safety and wellbeing of his constituents.  In October 2014, all Gwinnett County Sheriff patrol vehicles were equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions.

Both the Naloxone ($4,100) and AEDs ($99,500) were purchased utilizing drug forfeiture funds.

February 3, 2016

GMTF Marijuana Traffic Stop

Investigators assigned to the Gwinnett Metro Task Force have charged two men with trafficking after recovering over 500 pounds of marijuana with a street value of approximately 1.2 million dollars during a traffic stop yesterday.

After receiving information about a suspicious U-Haul truck, GMTF investigators spotted the suspicious vehicle, driven by 46 year old Mark Anthony Spaziano, near the intersection of Cedars Road and Highway 316 in Lawrenceville around 1:30 pm.
They requested the assistance of a Lawrenceville Police marked unit to conduct the traffic stop.  A police K-9 trained to detect narcotics indicated that narcotics were in the vehicle.

Investigators searched the vehicle, locating 427 packages of marijuana totaling 504.3 pounds.  A passenger in the vehicle, 48 year old John Anthony Edney, was arrested with the driver.  Both men are charged with O.C.G.A. 16-13-31 – Trafficking in marijuana and were transported to the Gwinnett County Jail without incident.

The Gwinnett Metro Task Force is comprised of deputies from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Duluth and Suwanee Police Departments.  The GMTF was formed in 2012 to investigate drug and vice complaints in Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Duluth and Suwanee.

The Gwinnett Metro Task Force can be contacted via their Drug Tip Line at 770-670-5180 or by email at gmtaskforce@gmail.com.

November 24, 2015

DEA Task Force Arrest

A three month long investigation by the DEA Atlanta Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrests of a Lawrenceville doctor and physician assistant.

Dr. Beth Sullivan and Physician Assistant Dave George were arrested yesterday during the execution of a search warrant after an investigation revealed that they were illegally prescribing Schedule II and Schedule III drugs at Riverside Family Medical (1960 Riverside Parkway, Suite 106 in Lawrenceville), which is owned by Dave George.

Investigators allege that Dr. Sullivan pre-signed blank prescription forms and provided them to Dave George.  Georgia law prohibits doctors from pre-signing prescriptions and physician assistants are not permitted to prescribe Schedule II drugs.  Investigators also learned that Dave George’s physician assistant license was previously suspended for similar prescribing violations.

Sullivan was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act and George was charged with Conspiracy and Possession of Marijuana.  Both Sullivan and George voluntarily surrendered their DEA registrations and can no longer prescribe controlled substances.

The pair was arrested yesterday without incident and transported to the Gwinnett County Jail.  They have both since been released on bond.
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October 22, 2015

Deputy Bullock Arrest

For immediate release:

A Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested today after illegal narcotics were discovered inside his residence.

On duty deputies were serving Deputy Trenell Bullock with administrative paperwork at his residence and observed what appeared to be methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the residence.

Trenell Bullock, a fifteen year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was arrested and charged with
Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act Section 16-13-30(a). He was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail without incident.

Deputy Bullock has been placed on Administrative Leave pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation. No further information is available at this time.

It is our policy to document, investigate and prosecute, when appropriate, any instance of employee misconduct.
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