Rabun County Sheriff’s Office reveals 2019 statistics

News, Police & Government

RABUN COUNTY, GA – Rabun County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) released it’s 2019 statistics and activities, which included 7,603 calls in the patrol division, 1,339 incident reports, 325 accident reports, 580 citations, and 870 warnings issued by deputies.

Sheriff’s deputies also unlocked 396 vehicles, performed 1,149 business checks, and responded to 352 business/residential alarms. Overall, they patrolled 246,298 miles in 2019.

As for the drug arrests and initiatives, RCSO deputies arrested 166 individuals, and the K-9 units were deployed 79 times to hunt for drugs and/or missing people. The Criminal Investigation Division were assigned 220 cases and 170 cases were resolved. This resulted in an 83 percent case resolution rate for 2019, which is up 10 percent from 2018.

2019 also saw the collaboration between community and RCSO to raise funds for new body armor from the Shield616 organization.

RCSO partnered with other sheriff’s offices for Operation Watchful Eye IV in a statewide sex offender registration initiative. They also joined with the Clayton Walmart as part of the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Program.

A total of 1,255 people were processed through the detention center with an average population of 94 inmates and 20 were transported to mental health facilities. 470 were sent to court. RCSO also continued with its rehabilitation efforts, such as Prime for Life to help those in prison make strides forward toward a productive life once they leave.

The Courthouse Security Division reported that 46,634 individuals visited the building during 2019, up over 2,200 from previous years.

A representative from the sheriff’s office along with someone from Rabun County Schools, Fire Services, EMS, and EMA traveled to Maryland to attend the multi-hazard emergency planning for schools course at the FEMA training facility.

Officers, paramedics, and firefighters also attended training designed to help them recognize and assist a fellow peer in crisis.

Sheriff Chad Nichols also worked with the county board of commissioners to secure funding for the sheriff’s office and other public safety buildings.

To read the letter in it’s entirety from Sheriff Nichols, see the images below:

2019 statistics

Images courtesy of Rabun County Facebook page.

Rabun County Sheriff’s Office offers citizens’ academy

Community, Police & Government

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Sheriff Chad Nichols of Rabun County Sheriff’s Office invites everyone to attend the 2020 Citizens’ Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA), which begins on March 10, 2020 at the Rabun County 4-H Conference Center.

The eight-week course is held every Tuesday night and ends on April 28 with a dinner ceremony. CLEA costs nothing to attend, but those interested must pre-register by stopping by the Sheriff’s Office or by bringing by the completed form found on our website, rabunsheriff.org, under the useful links tab.

Each Tuesday, participants will experience presentations and interactive demonstrations reguarded a variety of topics.

  • Office of the Sheriff
  • Law Enforcement Challenges in the 21st Century
  • Use of force, de-escalation, and community policing
  • Uniform Patrol Division – School Resource Deputies
  • Criminal Investigations Division – K-9 Units
  • Courthouse Security and Civil Process
  • Jail Division (includes tour of jail)

The citizens’ academy opens with a presentation from Sheriff Nichols over the role of the sheriff’s office, including history and purpose. Overall the course promises to be informative, fun, and entertaining. Other guest speakers will be present as well.

Contact Lt. Mark Gerrells, CLEA facilitator at 706.782.3612 for more information or clarification.

citizens' academy

Two arrested on trafficking methamphetamine charges

News, Police & Government
trafficking methamphetamine

RABUN COUNTY, GA – Rabun County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) conducted a traffic strop for a defective windshield on Ga. 15/US 441 and Tiger Connector Road, which led to the discovery of one pound of methamphetamine.

RCSO Deputy Brandon Hyer initiated the traffic stop for a busted windshield in a black 2006 Ford F150 pickup truck. During the stop, a search of the vehicle occurred which uncovered four bags suspected to contain drugs.

Deputies took Joshua Arnold,36, and Misty Hicks,33, of Mountain City, Tenn. into custody on several charges. Arnold was arrested on three charges a windshield violation, one count of trafficking methamphetamine, and one count of possession/use of drug-related objects. Hicks was arrested on one count of trafficking methamphetamine and one count of possession/use of drug-related objects. Both subjects were transported to the Rabun County Detention Center.

Bond hasn’t been set as of Jan. 15 for either Arnold or Hicks. In the United States, all are innocent until proven guilty.

Arnold from Mountain City, Tenn. was arrested on trafficking meth charges.

Misty Hicks was in the vehicle with Arnold and also arrested for trafficking.

Rabun County Sheriff’s Office Releases Smartphone App

Announcements, Police & Government

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Sheriff Chad Nichols announced the release of the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office smartphone app for citizens to use in order to stay safe, offer tips, and lookup information.

Users can receive push notifications from the app about alerts and updates in the area as well as access current inmates and sex offender registry in Rabun County. Additionally, citizens can submit tips to the sheriff’s office on the application. The tip feature allows users to be as detailed as they want by uploading pictures, videos, and GPS locations. Tips can be submitted anonymously too.

Free RCSO Smartphone App is Now Available!

I am so excited to announce the release of our very own Rabun County Sheriff's Office smartphone app! This project has been in the works for almost a year now and was developed to provide our citizens with info and updates right at their fingertips! There is so much content within the app that I will not be able to elaborate on it all in this post. So download it for FREE and check it out! I am excited to use this advancement in technology to increase our presence within our community! Thanks,Sheriff Chad K. NicholsClick on the link below for the free download.https://apps.myocv.com/share/a34730525

Posted by Rabun County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Created through The Sheriff’s App, the developer specializes in bringing law enforcement into the 21st century. According to PEW Research: 90% of all content viewed on a smartphone is in an app while only 10% is viewed in a browser. 77% of Americans own a smartphone (over 200 million people). On average, people check their smartphones 150 times each day.

It can integrate with most third-party systems including Southern Software, JailTracker, SmartCop, Offender Watch, and VINE.

Rabun County Sheriff’s Office joins over 60 law enforcement agencies currently using The Sheriff’s App technology to relay information to its citizens.

The app is free of charge and can be found in the Apple or Google Play store. Here’s a link to the download: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a34730525


Sheriff and GBI Arrest 13 on Drug and Racketeering Charges

News, Police & Government

RABUN COUNTY, GA – The Rabun County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI – Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO) have successfully conducted a lengthy, joint investigation which included violations of Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Burglary 1st Degree, Forgery 1st Degree, and Drug Trafficking. During the course of the investigation, investigators were able to identify multiple subjects involved in a crime organization where a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine, prescription narcotics, firearms, and stolen property were seized.

Upon completion of the criminal investigation, the following arrests were made.

Jody McCracken (31) of Clayton, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Burglary 1st Degree, Possession of Schedule II with Intent to Distribute, and Possession of Schedule IV with Intent to Distribute.

Michael Frady (21) of Rabun Gap, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Trafficking Methamphetamine, Burglary 1st Degree, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony and multiple traffic-related offenses.

Ashlyn Wilburn (22) of Clayton, Ga. -Trafficking of Methamphetamine, Burglary 1st Degree, and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.

Photos courtesy of Rabun County Sheriff’s Office

Tony Kellar (58) of Clayton, Ga. – Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon.

David Frady (44) of Clayton, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Forgery 1st Degree, Theft by Receiving, Party to a Crime, and Conspiracy to Commit Felony.

Rita Frady (44) of Clayton, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Theft by Receiving, and Conspiracy to Commit Felony.

Austin Groom (30) of Clayton, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, Theft by Receiving (felony), Possession of Schedule II with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Schedule IV with Intent to Distribute, and Possession/Use of Drug Related Objects.

Peyton Alexes Hunnicutt (22) of Clayton, Ga. – Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, Theft by Receiving (felony), Possession of Schedule II with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Schedule IV with Intent to Distribute, and Possession/Use of Drug Related Objects.

Steven Watts (28) of Clayton, Ga. – Burglary 1st Degree.

Terry Young (40) of Clayton, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Burglary 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm during the commission of a Felony, and Conspiracy to Commit Felony.

Syndey Hamby (23) of Clayton, Ga. – Burglary 1st Degree.



Elias “LES’ Lambert (35) of Alto, Ga. – Prohibited Activities under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm during the commission of a Felony, Possession/ Use of Drug Related Objects.

Michael Smiley (51) of Clayton, Ga. – Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

To report illegal narcotics, please contact the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office drug investigator at 706-960-9857 or the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office at 706-348-7410. You can remain anonymous while providing information.

Operation Watchful Eye Reveals Whereabouts of Sex Offenders

News, Police & Government
operation watchful eye

RABUN COUNTY, GA -The Rabun County Sheriff’s Office participated in Operation Watchful Eye checking all 28 of our registered sex offenders residing in Rabun County. Of the 28 offenders, all of them were accounted for and in compliance with their probation terms. “This operation was successful not only in our county but across the entire state as the Georgia Sheriffs worked together to ensure our particular counties are safe. To stay up to date on all of our sex offenders I would encourage all of our citizens to please take advantage of our Offender Watch program that can be found on our website rabunsheriff.org,” stated Sheriff Nichols.

Thanks to an initiative involving Georgia’s sheriffs, 40 sex offenders were arrested and 147 warrants issued across the state from October 25 – November 1, 2019 for violations of state registration laws. In 2015, the first coordinated effort across the state was launched to conduct residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time period. The coordinated initiative became known as Operation Watchful Eye. Due to the overwhelming success of the original initiative, Georgia’s sheriffs have made this an annual operation and recently conducted Operation Watchful Eye IV.

The Office of Sheriff is mandated by law to register sex offenders and to keep the public informed of where registered sex offenders reside, work and attend school. Throughout the year, each sheriff’s office verifies addresses provided by registered sex offenders. While conducting residence verifications, deputies also assure additional registration requirements are being adhered to.

The purpose of this statewide effort is to create awareness that sheriffs’ offices work collectively, network, and actively engage their office by participating in statewide verification checks and other non-compliant matters in order to make our state safer. In numerous counties, deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Probation officers and Department of Community Supervision probation/parole officers worked together to verify sex offenders comply with the law.

Preliminary reporting by 77 sheriff’s offices reveals 9,178 registered sex offenders, 240 predators, and 123 homeless sex offenders who are currently living in their counties. During the seven-day operation, 7,535 residence verifications were conducted, 96 new sex offenders moved into the reporting counties, 18 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law, 13 warrants were issued for new sex offenses, 48 warrants were issued for residency violations of the sex offender registry and 28 warrants were issued for other miscellaneous new charges. More importantly, it was discovered that 190 sex offenders had absconded from their last known address, which will require the sheriff to work with other supporting agencies and track these individuals down.

Remember, for the protection of your family and neighbors, visit your local sheriff’s office website or visit the http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry for more information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders in your community.

Rabun Sheriff’s Office Raising Funds with No Shave November

No Shave November

RABUN COUNTY, GA – Rabun County Sheriff’s Office is participating in No Shave November to support their own Sgt. Watts and his wife, Cass.

The organization is taking donations, accepting partnerships, and support. Anyone who is interested should contact the sheriff’s office for more information.

All participating staff will donate at least $30 or $1 a day to show support for Sgt. Watts while not shaving for the entire month. The money raised will be given to the Watts family.

No Shave November began as a way to raise awareness about cancer. The concept illustrates through hair growth that many cancer patients lose all their hair during treatment.

The rules for No Shave November are simply just don’t pick up a razor for 30 days and go natural for the month. Then, donate the money normally spent on shaving products to cancer research.

The charity event partners with St. Jude’s, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and Prevent Cancer Foundation.

So far in Nov. 2019, individuals have raised $437,196 for cancer research either on their own, in organizations, or on teams.

Two Arrested on Drug Trafficking Charges

Featured Stories, Police & Government
drug trafficking

MOUNTAIN CITY, GA – On August 8, Mountain City Officer Jeremy Welch stopped Colby Foreman and Madeline Ford for a traffic violation. He soon called Rabun County Sheriff’s Deputies and K-9 unit to the scene where the dog discovered cocaine, and deputies charged the two occupants in the car with drug trafficking.

Seargent Kenneth Watts and his K-9 Jorka searched the vehicle pulled over on Ga Hwy. 15/ US 441. Jorka gave a positive alert on the car and law enforcement found two kilos of cocaine.

Foreman from Bush, Louisiana has prior convictions.

Foreman, 37, or Bush, Lousiana and Ford, 20, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana were taken to Rabun County Detention Center.

Foreman was charged with trafficking cocaine, conspiracy to commit a felony, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He posted bond a $65,000 on September 17.

Ford was traveling with Foreman.

Ford was charged with trafficking cocaine, conspiracy to commit a felony, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. She posted a $65,000 bond on September 19.

Photo courtesy of Rabun County Sheriff’s Office Facebook.

Shield616 Equips 33 Rabun County Deputies

Community, Featured, Featured Stories

Rabun Co., Ga – Shield616 and local resident Tom Madison raise over $90,000 to outfit 33 sheriff’s deputies with new equipment.

Rabun County Sheriff Chad Nichols has sought since 2017 to improve his deputies’ safety through relevant training and adequate equipment especially given the recent rise of officer violence. Additionally, officers have faced more and more active shooter situations and local drug busts.

Deputy Jeffrey Hooper introduced Nichols to resident Tom Madison, who had a relationship with the non-profit Shield616.

Tom Madison spearheaded the donation process with Shield616. Images provided by Rabun County Sheriff’s Office Facebook.

Shield616’s motto “protecting our protectors” and the organization focuses on providing all-day rifle protection for peace officers and first responders. It partners with Angel Armor to offer cutting-edge products and give officers the confidence to do their jobs.

After Nichols and Madison’s initial meeting on May 2019, Madison quickly began raising funds with Shield 616, and in two months, they had over $90,000.

Due to their success, donors outfitted 33 deputies with all day, rifle rated protection, which included the School Resource Deputies as well as Nichols.

Angel Armor gear costs $2,100 per deputy and includes one Angel Armor carrier, one level llA soft vest, front and back level lllA rifle plates, and a Revision Batlskin helmet.

Additionally, the extra community donations allowed the Sheriff’s Office to upgrade the initial kits to include an additional plate carrier and a ceramic strike faceplate, which helps protect deputies from a 5.56 round, also known as an armor-piercing bullet.

“The community support for this initiative was simply unbelievable. From Tom leading donation efforts to all donors that were so generous in their giving to support our local deputies, it was a truly humbling experience for all of us. We cannot thank all those involved appropriately,” said Sheriff Nichols. “No one truly understood the magnitude of this event until all stories were told and deputies inspected armor never seen but only hoped for.”

The 33 deputies, Nichols, Madison, and families gathered at The Waterfall Club on Lake Burton on August 29 to celebrate the success of the fundraiser and the tremendous support from everyone.

Shield616 and Angel Armor ceremony at The Waterfall Club. Photos courtesy of Rabun County Sheriff’s Office Facebook.

“This was one of the neatest aspects of utilizing the non-profit organization, Shield616. It included a focus that links a donor to a deputy, not only to provide financial support but to provide a support system for the deputy as well. This approach sets itself apart from any other fundraiser out there,” explained Nichols, “I just want to thank Tom Madison, all the donors, and the deputies who serve our great community daily.”

For more information on how to donate or assist your department, contact Shield616 by email at info@shield616.org, or visit their website at shield616.org.

Rabun man arrested for arson and false imprisonment

Featured Stories, Police & Government

CLAYTON,GA – On Wednesday, September 11, Al L. Lococo Jr, 35, of Clayton, Georgia, was arrested and charged with 1 Count of Probation Violation, 1 Count of Arson First Degree, 1 Count of Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder, 1 Count of Aggravated Battery, and 1 Count of False Imprisonment. The charges stem from his alleged involvement in setting a fire to his own camper that occurred on September 4. Lococo currently sits in Rabun County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

“Not only did Mr. Lococo commit arson on the night of September 4, he also put the life of another individual in jeopardy,” said Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “There is absolutely no place for horrific acts of this nature. My office will continue working closely with local authorities to ensure Mr. Lococo is punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

The fire occurred around 8:10 P.M the night of September 4. The camper was parked at 4336 Hwy 441 North in Rabun Gap, Georgia. As a result of the fire, two individuals, including Mr. Lococo, were sent to the hospital to be treated for burns. Further investigation revealed that the fire was set inside the camper following a domestic dispute between Lococo and the other victim. The victim is still currently at Grady Memorial being treated for injuries sustained the night of September 4.


Lococo’s camper after the incident.

More charges are expected to be brought forth against Mr. Lococo. Investigators with the Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office are assisting the Rabun County Fire Department and the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office with this investigation.

First Degree Arson is a felony punishable by a fine of no more than $50,000 or by a prison term between one and twenty years, or both.

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available.

Back to Top