Rep. Collins hosts symposium on mental health resources

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) hosted a symposium at Lanier Technical College Wednesday to explore mental health resources for first responders.

In 2018, at least 159 first responders nationwide died from suicide — nearly 10% more than the total number of line-of-duty deaths resulting from causes such as assault, vehicle accidents, heart attacks, and duty-related illness.

“Mental health is just as essential as physical health in order for our law enforcement officers to remain effective in keeping our communities safe, yet first responders often face serious trauma resulting from their line of work,” said Collins. “As the son of a Georgia State Trooper, I understand firsthand the challenges facing our officers, and I am committed to ensuring they have access to the resources needed to address their health and well-being.”

The following agencies presented on resources available for first responders: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-Disaster Technical Assistance Center; Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services; Federal Emergency Management Agency-National Fire Academy; Department of Veterans Affairs-National Center on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Georgia Public Safety Training Center; Georgia State Patrol-Wellness Officer; Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office-Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator; and Hall County Employee Assistance Program.

The following agencies attended the symposium: Commerce Police Department; Forsyth County Sherriff’s Office; Habersham County Emergency Medical Service; Hall County Sheriff’s Office; Hall County Fire Service; and Jackson County Emergency Medical Service.

“I want to thank the many agencies who traveled near and far to participate in today’s symposium. Their feedback is invaluable as we explore ways to help meet the needs of our first responders, and I will continue to seek their input as we work towards drafting legislation to address these issues.”

In March 2019, the Department of Justice submitted a report to Congress detailing the gap of law enforcement mental wellness and programs. The report listed several recommendations to assist first responders’ access to mental health care, including possible legislative solutions.

 

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Dawson Parks and Recreation director resigns

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DAWSONVILLE – Dawson County Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson has announced that she is resigning after many years of service to the community.

“I’m going to help my husband with his real estate business and just see what the Lord has in store for me,” Henson said Wednesday.

“I’m going to miss everyone I worked with. We have all been like family. That is the hardest part of my decision, but I’m still going to be in Dawson County and they will too so we will stay in touch,” Henson added.

Henson has been in public service for a quarter of a century, first as a deputy in Forsyth County then as patrol supervisor with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. She also worked as Forsyth County Athletic Director before becoming Parks and Recreation Director.

Henson submitted her letter of resignation last week but said she would be willing to stay on until a replacement is found.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Drowning Victim Was a Dawson County Man

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Authorities have identified the man who drowned at War Hill Park Tuesday as David Howser, 55, of 711 River Valley Road in Dawsonville.

David Manke, a friend of the victim, told Forsyth County Deputy C.A. Miller that Howser was attempting to swim back to shore when he went under water and never resurfaced. Manke said he swam out to Howser, pulled him back to shore and attempted CPR before calling 9-1-1.

Dawson County EMS was first to arrive on the scene. Paramedics attempted CPR for approximately 30 minutes but were unable to revive the man.

The body was transported to the Forsyth County Coroner.

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Former Deputy Coroner Files Lawsuit for False Arrest

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CUMMING, Ga. — The attorney for Sonya Abercrombie, a former Dawson County Deputy Coroner, says his client was wrongfully arrested, publicly embarrassed and lost her job but now she will have her day in court.

Abercrombie was arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer while a customer at Austin’s Steak and Seafood restaurant in Cumming in 2014 but a Forsyth jury acquitted her of all charges. Now she has filed a million dollar lawsuit against the restaurant, the manager and an employee for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional stress, false imprisonment, false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Abercrombie’s attorney Steve Leibel said, “She has been unable to perform her position due to her lack of required training while this matter is pending.”

According to the lawsuit, Bruce Gordon Panter, the restaurant manager, saw Abercrombie arrive in what he believed was a county vehicle and thought they were about to be the target of a sting operation.

He warned staff to strictly check identification of persons attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages. Panter asked Abercrombie for her identification as she entered the premises and she provided a Georgia driver’s license. Her coroner’s office badge was attached to the outside of her purse and would have been visible when she opened it to obtain her identification. After Abercrombie and her friend were seated they were again asked to produce their I.D. which they did.

The lawsuit states: “Panter contacted 911 and falsely reported that Abercrombie was intoxicated. Panter also made a false report that Abercrombie was “abusing power” by showing her coroner’s office badge, claiming to be a police officer, and refusing to provide other identification. When the Forsyth County Sheriffs Office responded to the 911 call, both Panter and (Julie) Adkison falsely reported to the investigating officers that Abercrombie was intoxicated and had been “flashing” her badge and claiming to be law enforcement. The investigating officer arrested Abercrombie based on the statements made by Panter and Adkison.”

The lawsuit also charged Steven and Carol Murphy, the owners of Austin’s, with piercing the corporate veil, negligent hiring, supervision and training and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

“We will be seeking no less than $1 million for her,” Leibel said.

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