The Patrol Division, consisting of 16 full-time Deputy Sheriffs, responds to all 466 square miles of Cherokee County. Patrol is comprised of four overlapping 12-hour shifts that cover three zones and each deputy is assigned to patrol one or more zones.
Lieutenant Rayburn Mason acts as Watch Commander over all shifts and ensures that the traditional patrol duties are carried out, such as responding to all 911 calls, incidents in which a citizen requests an officer, filing of official reports, service of warrants, service of domestic violence protection orders and other civil documents, security for the court and assisting all other law enforcement agencies and emergency services when requested. In addition to basic services, these officers participate in drug interdiction programs, traffic safety check points, and proactive patrol techniques including checking local businesses after hours.
Each patrol unit is equipped with all necessary warning lights and devices as required by law, as well as items to provide basic roadside services to the motoring public. Other items include video camera, microphone, fingerprint collection kits, field test kits for controlled substances, and protective equipment. Each full-time unit is also equipped with a Mobile Data Terminal which allows deputies to check for wanted or missing persons and to run serial numbers of possible stolen items. The terminals have also increased the amount of time an officer is on patrol by allowing the officers to complete all incidents and arrest reports in the vehicle and allow them to remain stationary in their patrol zone.
Patrol pursues grant opportunities each year to help strengthen their efforts in serving Cherokee County. Some past awards include:
- 2006, Governor's Highway Safety Program: used to purchase two used, fully-equipped Patrol vehicles to combat Impaired driving in Cherokee County. Cost-savings: $ 27,000.00
- 2006, National Tactical Officers' Association (3):
- one M26 Taser from Taser International (The Taser is a less lethal device that gains compliance from a combative without having to use hands on techniques). Cost-savings: $1,000
- Ten ballistic helmets. Officers will utilize these helmets when they encounter a known suspect or situation that will likely require deadly force. Cost-savings: $5,000.00.
- Specialized training in tactical building entry. Cost-savings: $2,000.00.
In order to better serve the geographic area of western Cherokee County, an officer is available weekly at 784 Highway 294 in the Hiawassee Dam Community, within the Emergency Services' building.