(January 18, 2017)

Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork


by Karen Sherrell
Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork is no stranger to law enforcement, and after 38 years in the field, he is manning the helm in Fulton County.
Beginning official duties this month, Roork stated he is a realist and humbled to be the new sheriff in town. Not having an opponent at election time, and with the retirement of Sheriff Buck Foley, it is a natural transition of duty for Roork.
“I’m humbled to be sheriff and protect the community,” said Roork. “I’m everybody’s sheriff, and treat everyone equally. I will enforce the law equally and with common sense.”
Roork has seen many changes over the past four decades in law enforcement. “The law is more and more complex now,” he said. “It costs a fortune to operate all the courts we have.” The 16th Judicial District covers five counties, including Fulton County, and Roork has a deep respect for the judges and their jobs. “I have respect for the judges and how hard they try. It’s not easy on their part.” Law enforcement must deal with a ton of paperwork now more than in the past according to Roork. “We respond to calls, but it’s hard to have pro-active law enforcement,” he said. “There’s just not enough staff.” Roork has four deputies and one chief deputy. “I have a great crew. They, like police officers in America, put on a badge and gun everyday. They have a very difficult job, and they’re honest, dedicated people.”
The sheriff appreciates help from the community and stated Fulton County is the best place in the world to live. “There are lots of hard working people here, and I depend on them to trust me, and know that what they tell me is in confidence.”
The hands-on sheriff stated he is a working sheriff, in the field with his officers. “People will see me around,” said Roork. “I love what I do and love helping people.”
Fulton County has from 1,600 to 2,000 county road miles that the sheriff’s office is responsible for. “It’s forty miles across the county,” said Roork. “We are on call 24/7 and ready to go whenever. We work hard for the people and enforce the law.”
“People have no idea of the amount of crime in their community,” said Roork. The hub of all problems he said, is an increase in drug use in the county, of methamphetamine and prescription drugs. “It leads to assault on families, thefts, and loss of productivity.” Roork hopes to slow the escalation of crime. “Burglaries occur every day somewhere in the county.”
The sheriff’s department focuses on each crime, aware of the fact that people are more difficult to deal with these days. “One of the biggest problems today is mental illness and the way it’s dealt with,” said Roork. “It’s time consuming to have a person committed, seeking help. We can help those people that can’t help themselves, and it’s a great feeling to do that,” he added.
The sheriff would like to see a dedicated investigator in the department. “We’re the only county that doesn’t have one,” he said. “Our Chief Deputy was our Investigator, as well as performing his normal duties. It’s just too time consuming.” But the new sheriff will continue to do his job as a working sheriff in the field, alongside his officers, for a community that he loves. “I have no visions of grandeur, we will do our job,” he said.

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