One of our most critical responsibilities in law enforcement is training. It is our duty to ensure that our employees receive the most innovative and current training available. We must remain diligent in striving to stay current with ever-changing laws and to provide this information to our employees. Our goal is to provide the citizens we serve with the best trained, most highly skilled, and ethical public servants possible.

The Training Unit consists of Lieutenant Russell Canterbury, Staff Sergeant Dave Wheeler and Staff Sergeant Dale Newman. They, along with adjunct instructors, ensure employees from all divisions receive critical training that meets the guidelines of the Georgia Police Officer Training and Standards Council in conjunction with meeting Sheriff's Office goals and objectives.

Sheriff Whittle has partnered with the Georgia Public Safety Training Council (GPSTC) to host the twelve week Basic Law Enforcement Police Academy course and the two week Basic Jail Officer Training course. Employees of the Sheriff's Office conduct the training with oversight by the Regional Director of GPSTC.

Shooting RangeThe Sheriff opened a new training facility in July 2014. It is located at 215 Range Road in Appling and is adjacent to the firearms range which was opened in September 1997. The training complex consists of:

  • Four Classrooms
  • Live fire shoot house
  • 50-yard pistol range
  • 100-yard rifle range
  • 300-yard rifle range
  • 100 Acre Drivers Training Multiplex

Citizen's Firearms Familiarization classes are conducted regularly throughout the year. Topics covered include classroom instruction on Georgia law pertaining to use of force and weapons carry. The fundamentals of shooting are covered and participants are provided the opportunity to apply those fundamentals on the range with the assistance of a range safety officer. For more information, please contact the Community Services Division at 706-541-2856.

The Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act (LEOSA), also known as HR 218, allows qualified active and honorably retired law enforcement officers to carry their firearms concealed nationwide. A background check and firearms qualification must occur every 12 months, within the state you reside, to adhere to the requirements of LEOSA. To begin a background check, schedule an appointment by contacting Investigator Wynn Howard at 706-541-4023. More information on LEOSA is located on the Firearm Qualification page.

Training MultiplexThe Drivers Training Multiplex, which became fully operational in 2020, is comprised of a 1600-foot straightaway for braking exercises, a 1600-foot straightaway for off-road exercises, a 400 by 600-foot reinforced concrete pad for multipurpose precision driving, two skid pads, and a road course designed for emergency vehicle response training. In addition, there is an asphalted area of intersecting roadways designated for the future development of "little town".

Teen Driver Training Programs are conducted throughout the year and interested parties should contact the Community Services Division at 706-541-2856 for more information. The training consists of classroom and hands-on exercises for young drivers with limited driving experience. The topics covered, among others during the course include emergency braking, skid recovery, off-road recovery, and the dangers of driving distracted.