**UPDATED** Suspect in Custody retrieves weapon – attempts to flee in Pickens County

Police & Government

**UPDATED**

Additional Details:
The individual arrested during the case was Eric Wade Potts, a 37-year-old male from Jasper Georgia.
Mr. Potts has been charged with:
• Aggravated Assault against a Peace Officer
• Escape
• Possession of Methamphetamine
• Possession of Marijuana (less than an ounce)
It has been determined that the secure lock box located under the rear passenger seat of the patrol unit was found to be unlocked. The box is designed to be secured storage for supplies needed during patrol time. It is not the policy of the Pickens Sheriff’s Office to allow storage of weapons in the prisoner transport compartment of the patrol car. There were no live rounds of ammunition located in the container, but the deputy had stored his less lethal weapon in this compartment.

The storage of the weapon and the lack of locking the container are both under review by Internal Investigations.

During the struggle to regain the Less Lethal Shotgun, Mr. Potts fired one round of less lethal (bean bag round). Once the deputy regained control of the weapon, he fired additional bean bag rounds at the suspect. The suspect was struck once. Following the incident, EMS responded and evaluated Mr. Potts and he was cleared to be released to
the jail.

In addition to Mr. Potts, Keri Lee Lawrence, Age 42 from Canton Georgia, was also arrested during the investigation. She has been charged with Possession of Methamphetamine.
We are very grateful that this incident did not escalate to a potential deadly force encounter.
The case is still active at this time, and additional details are not currently available.

**Original Release**

Pickens County, GA

According to authorities earlier this morning, July 18th, deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person at a business in Tate Georgia. Upon arrival, deputies encountered a male in the parking lot of the business. As they approached him, he immediately attempted to walk away. During a pat down, deputies discovered a quantity of suspected methamphetamine and needles.

After the suspect was placed in the patrol vehicle, deputies went back to gathering information related to the initial call. Deputies went back to the vehicle to check on the individual and he had maneuvered his handcuffs from behind his back to his front and had been able to get into a secure box and retrieve a less-lethal shotgun loaded with bean bag rounds. The suspect aimed the weapon at the deputy and started to confront him. The deputy was able to wrestle the weapon away and the suspect began to run again. During the attempt to detain the individual, multiple bean bag rounds were fired by both the suspect and the deputy.

Following a brief foot pursuit, deputies were able to take him back into custody. A second individual that was with the suspect has also been detained to determine her involvement into the issue. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit has also responded to gather evidence and process the seen.

Additional details are not available at this time due to the active nature of the crime scene but will be released once they are available.

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Tate receiving new fire department

Community, News

JASPER, Ga. – Tate will be receiving a new fire department at 58 Worley Crossroads Jasper, Ga 30143 (at the corner of Worley Crossroads and Old Canton Road).

New Tate Fire Department Groundbreaking (2019)

The groundbreaking was held on-site on Wednesday, May 30, 2019 at 9 a.m.

According to Tucker Green, chairman of the Pickens Board of Education, the fire department will be paid for with special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) funding, and is expected to be finished around Christmas of 2019.

This is not to replace any other fire departments in the area, according to Rob Jones, chairman of the Pickens Board of Commissioners, but will be utilized as an additional fire department for the community.

New Tate Fire Department Groundbreaking (2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Following sex offender incident, safety & security among the school system discussed at town hall meeting.

News, Tate Elem

JASPER, Ga.- Following the incident last Friday in which a man on the sex offender registry gained access to Tate Elementary, Superintendent Dr. Carlson Wilson and Sheriff Donnie Craig held a meeting at the Tate Elementary auditorium on Thursday, March 28, 2019, to discuss safety and security in the school system.

Members of the community gather for the safety and security meeting at Tate Elementary.

Craig states (2:55) that the status of the offender was not known until he had already left the school grounds, but that the arrest was made quickly. He goes on to explain exactly how the events unfolded the day of the incident (4:50). Around 9:13 am, the school resource officer on campus at the time had overheard an employee of the school asking a Bruce Lee Daniel how he had obtained access. Daniel responded that he was looking for janitorial work, and had gained access through a door next to the cafeteria. Daniel was then taken to the office, where the resource officer on-site had him sign in and have a copy of his driver’s license made.

Again, Daniel claimed he was at the school in search of janitorial work, and was informed that he must go through a contractor to obtain such employment. Daniel was then escorted out of the building (6:18), but first showed school staff where he had entered. The doors by the cafeteria were secured at this point in time, but the resource officer then ran his license, at which time he was found to be on the sex offender registry. The assistant principal, as well as the sergeant in charge of the school resource officers within the county were notified (7:26), following a walk-through of the school grounds. The sergeant then passed word along to the other school resource officers, the school administrators, the uniform patrol division, and the county’s criminal investigators, at which time a “be on the look out” was posted for Daniel.

Bruce Lee Daniel, picture courtesy of Pickens Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation was immediately launched, with detectives responding to the school (8:27). It was found that Daniel was on probation out of Cherokee County for the offense of being a Peeping Tom (or something similar, states Craig). A warrant was obtained from Cherokee County for probation violation, following warrants for the arrest of Daniel.

Upon checking security camera footage, at approximately 9:06 am, Daniel found the front doors to be locked (10:00). He then found one of the doors near the cafeteria ajar. He then walked towards the other end of the school, towards the gymnasium, before entering the girls bathroom. He wasn’t there for long before walking to the boys bathroom and standing with his back to the wall. Craig states that they’re aware of this because you could see his shoes from the camera in the hall (11:01). At approximately 9:10 am, several boys entered the restroom, and at approximately 9:11 am, Daniel left to return to the office area, at which time he was confronted by school staff. It was found that the door by the cafeteria in which Daniel entered was ajar due to a piece of bark that had been kicked towards the door earlier in the day when students had arrived (13:20).

Members of the community gather for the safety and security meeting at Tate Elementary.

Daniel was arrested around 3 pm on Friday, March 22, 2019 at his home and taken into custody at the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, at which time he admitted he wasn’t at the school searching for a job, though Craig states that details can’t be given at this time as to what Daniel’s excuse was. According to Craig, Daniel faces 30-40 years for his charges.

Sheriff Craig states that, because of the investigation, information shared with the parents and the general public was initially limited (20:01). He cites that this was because if too much information was shared, it could potentially have caused problems with their investigation in such that it may have let Daniel know of the investigation underway against him. There have been several open records requests for the security camera footage, but Craig states that, because of the severity of the case, this footage won’t be released at this time.

Members of the community gather for the safety and security meeting at Tate Elementary.

Dr. Carlson Wilson states shortly after the opening of the meeting (1:39) that one of the first things to change is the addition of a resource officer so that one will be present within all of the schools located within Pickens County. Wilson goes on to state that money has been spent on new security cameras and updates to that system (25:05), as well as classroom cameras and emergency notification systems. New digital radio communications systems are now within the schools and the buses that tie directly to 911, and there is now GPS tracking on each of the buses for law enforcement utilization. There were 55 new handheld radios within the schools, and new fencing has been completed on several of the campuses, with more fencing on the way. New safety vestibules are to be installed, making access to the schools impossible without going through the front office first.

Dr. Wilson goes on to say that a “welcome center” has been implemented at the Pickens High School (26:04), which thus far has turned away 17 vehicles approaching the school (though for unknown reasons). Card readers are also being implemented on the campus, making it easier to lock down doors and tell who used which doors when. Several classes, such as the weight training class, have been brought inside of the main building instead of utilizing outside buildings, though the agriculture class still utilizes the green house located outside. Baseball and Cross-Country sports have also been moved to the high school, though the swimming team, golf team, and bass fishing team will still have to leave campus for their activities.

Dr. Wilson states that involvement on active shooter and intruder training has been constant with all employees (28:44), that background checks on volunteers will continue to be a thing, and that door monitoring and emergency lock down software is currently being looked into. The ability to run a license check on all visitors is also a likely possibility in the near future, according to Dr. Wilson, but he goes on to say that staff members as well as parents must work together to ensure every visitor within the schools comes prepared with a valid license, and displays a visitors badge at all times.

Members of the community ask questions during the safety and security meeting at Tate Elementary.

One of the parents present during the meeting proposed utilizing door alarms similar to those found in stores such as Walmart (32:10), with an opposing voice stating that this would trigger far too many alarms daily. Dr. Wilson’s comment towards this was that door monitoring software that includes an alarm is currently being looked into. Another parent posed the question as to why the school didn’t go into lock down during the incident, with Dr. Wilson stating that all of the schools within Pickens County are in a constant “soft lock down”, in which all exterior doors are supposed to be locked at all times. There was no complete lock down because none it was not determined that Daniel was a threat until he had left the campus.

Another question posed at the meeting was “who was watching the cameras during this?” Dr. Wilson responds that there’s not a single person who watches the cameras constantly, nor a person who constantly monitors halls (42:53). Dr. Wilson goes on to say that he is open to parental volunteers to monitor (after a background check) the halls or the cameras, and that most students and teachers were in class rooms during all of this, allowing Daniel an easy passage.

Yet another point made during the meeting was that, despite Dr. Carlson stating that there is someone present to monitor the children coming into the school each day, these monitors are “unarmed, defenseless staff” (48:25). Dr. Wilson responded that having an armed staff member to monitor the children is a possibility in the very near future.

Dr. Wilson states that the parents of the students who were in the bathroom were notified of the incident. Kayla Worley, parent of a student who was in the boys bathroom at the time of the incident, states her son told her “there was a man in the bathroom that had touched his shoulder and offered to give him some Beyblade toys to come over and talk to him”. She states that the school principal notified her of her son being present in the bathroom only after 7 pm that night, despite the press release from 3:40 pm earlier that day stating that there was no physical contact by offender Bruce Lee Daniel. “I was told that the man went into the bathroom and that I was welcome to watch the video, and that they were sorry that it had happened.” Worley states that she was never informed that her son was touched, though her son did tell his story to the sheriff who interviewed him. At (39:20), Dr. Wilson admits that the four parents of the children in the restroom at the time of the incident should have been notified earlier, and he apologies for letting this occur.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-J6V0IxGhw[/embedyt]

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Man on sex offender registry gains access to Tate Elementary

News, Tate Elem

JASPER, Ga.- Friday, March 22, 2019, at approximately 9:06 a.m. a man gained access to Tate Elementary school. He was in the building for 5 minutes before being escorted to the office by office personnel, at which time a copy of his ID was obtained. It was found that this man was on the sex offender registry. No students or staff were involved.

Jasper, Georgia – An incident occurred this morning at Tate Elementary School where at approximately 9:06 a.m., a male individual gained access to the building. After being in the building for 5 minutes, he was confronted by office personnel, at which time he was escorted to the office. A photocopy of his ID was obtained. School personnel ran his ID information and discovered that the male subject is listed on the sex offender registry.

Due to the upgraded security camera system, district staff can confirm that the subject had no direct interactions with students. Warrants have been issued for his arrest and an ongoing investigation continues with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

We want to assure all parents and our community that we take these situations seriously. We must all work together as a community of students, parents and school personnel to keep our campuses safe. Our number one goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts.

If you have any questions, please contact the district office at 706-253-1700.

Bruce Lee Daniel, picture courtesy of Pickens Sheriff’s Office (click to enlarge).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Lee Daniell Arrest Warrant 1 of 2 (click to enlarge).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Lee Daniell Arrest Warrant 2 of 2 (click to enlarge).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Lee Daniell Media Release (click to enlarge).

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Free Groceries For Those in Need

Community

Tate Elementary Starts The Year With A New Principal

Community, Tate Elem

Jasper, GA – On July 24, 2017, Stephanie Hall was approved to be the new Principal for Tate Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year. Former Principal, Sandy Layman took a position at the Central Office.

Hall graduated from Pickens High School in 1988 and then attended North Georgia College where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education.

Her teaching career began at Tate Elementary, in 1992, where she taught for 14 years. In 2006, she transferred to Jasper Elementary School to become the Academic Coach and spent 10 years providing professional support for JES teachers.

For the 2016-17 school year Hall served as Assistant Principal at Jasper Elementary School.

In her bio for Tate Elementary, Principal Hall shared,

“My goal for the Tate Elementary School is simple. I want every child that enters our building to feel loved, safe, accepted, successful, and prepared for the next level. I’m hopeful that our families will feel welcome, respected, and will become our partner in their child’s education. Lastly, I want our staff to feel highly valued and respected by all stakeholders as they persistently work to ensure the success of every child at Tate Elementary. The mission of Tate Elementary School is Teaching All To achieve Excellence (TATE).”

Parents look forward to seeing what Hall will bring to Tate this school year.

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

BOE Approves Tate Principal

Education

The Pickens County Board of Education has welcomed a new principal to Tate Elementary.

Mrs. Sandra Layman brings 14 years of experience with administration to the school. She has been a Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal of Elementary Grades, received extensive training as a School Improvement Specialist, and gathered experience within the North Georgia School Districts to aid in increasing student achievements.

Sandra Layman

She holds a Bachelors of Science in Middle Grades Education from Brenau College, a Master’s of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University, and an Educational Specialist in Educational Administration and Supervision also from Lincoln Memorial University.

She has also received several awards in her career, including an award for completion of the North Georgia RESA’s Leadership Academy and the Chairman’s Award from the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce.

In a public statement, Dr. Lula Perry, Superintendent of the Pickens County School District, said

“I am extremely pleased to bring Mrs. Layman’s experience and commitment to excellence to the Tate community. I trust her with the minds and hearts of Tate Elementary students, parents, and staff.”

Mrs. Layman also commented saying,

“My primary goal is to work collaboratively with students, teachers and staff, parents, and the School Advisory Council to build on past successes while making plans to move the school forward. I am so excited to learn about Tate’s history and meet the community.”

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Fund Created to Aid Voyles Family after Tragic Loss

Community, Featured Stories, News

A tragic accident at Georgia Marble in Tate has left a young family without a husband and father. (more…)

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