By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Ware County Sheriff’s Department investigators may begin reading books of information after the county voted to make changes in the pawn shop ordinance to make transactions “internet available” to detectives.
Investigators will benefit from the new ordinance approved Monday by the Ware County Commission governing the use of cameras to photograph jewelry and other items transacted at local pawn shops.
During a work session held Monday, commissioners agreed to approve the new ordinance that will add a camera and technology to the one pawn shop that lies within the county jurisdiction. (Commissioners were told the city already has the technology at pawn shops located inside the city limits.)
The camera, which would cost about $15, would allow detectives to look — by way of the internet — at items pawned at the shop at the end of each business day.
The board was told by Ware County Sheriff’s Department Detective Capt. Neil Skerratt that currently, by the time information is gained by detectives, the pawned items — for example, silver rings — have already been circulated and out of range, and that (if the rings were stolen) the owner might never get them back.
“These photos will aid the sheriff’s department and help solve cases and possibly deter (crimes),” said Skerratt. “The victims would be able to see the photos and identify their property and it would help cut down on costs.”
Skerratt said the city already has the technology for the searchable data base.
“Without a photo sometimes it is difficult to make a case. This would help us make cases. We could solve a lot of cases this way,” said Skerratt.
The change in the ordinance would require the pawn shop to comply with the county regulations and pictures would be posted on the website. Ware Planning and Codes director James Shubert said if the shops do not comply, they may have to appear before a magistrate.
A vote taken during the regular meeting that followed was unanimous with Commissioners Danny Turner, Jerry Pope, Carlos Nelson and Steve Barnard voting to approve the changes.
Chairman Jimmy Brown was sick and could not attend the meetings.
In other business, at the regular meeting, Ware County Emergency Management Agency director Jonathan Daniell told the board that President Donald Trump has added Ware County to the list of counties that will be eligible to receive FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding to help recover costs of road repairs as a result of the recent storm that damaged roads and caused schools to be closed.
Daniell said that FEMA will repay 75 percent of the costs with 10 percent coming from the state and the remainder to be paid by the county.
“Michael Brooks (county road department) and Dee Meadows (Ware County Board of Education member) rode all of the roads at that time to determine which ones needed repairs,” said Daniell. “They did a great job for us.”
He also noted that repairs to the Manor-Millwood Road, which was temporarily closed because of water damage, may be recouped as well. That road has been repaired and has since been re-opened.
Commissioners agreed to allow the use of photos taken inside the Ware County Courtroom to be used in a Netflix documentary, as long as there are no people in the photographs.
County manager Scott Moye and the county attorney will look at the photos to make sure they comply with the county’s stipulations.
Commissioners approved a contract with Coca-Cola Co. to assure that they are the sole providers of beverages at the Tremblin’ Earth Recreation Complex. A low bid from the company had been approved at the January commission meeting.
A list of surplus county items was approved to be sold on Barry Cox, of the Ware County Maintenance Department, presented a stack of photos to the board showing the items in question, mostly vehicles and equipment. He said the only use for most of them would be parts.