DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. - The Dawson County sheriff is reassuring residents after a dispatch recording revealed an officer refused to go on a call for help.
Channel 2’s Sophia Choi spoke the sheriff, who isn't faulting the deputy who was very reluctant to respond to a call concerning an accident.
The whole thing started when a man flipped his SUV in a remote area of the Chattahoochee Nation Forest last month.
Dawson County sheriff's Sgt. Larry Busher was called in to rescue the man.
“I'm sorry. Something about this isn't right,” Busher said in a call to the 911 dispatch center. “If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But if I’m right it might just save my damn life.”
In the call, Busher said he was worried about his safety
“I'm going to get shot -- you know that,” Busher told the dispatcher.
“Busher! Have you taken your medicine tonight? You are not gonna get shot. This is not an ambush,” the dispatcher told him.
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Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson told Choi that his deputy made that call about 90 minutes into his search and he understands the officer’s concerns.
“Obviously in this day and time, officers are targeted. Officers are ambushed,” Johnson said.
Choi rode up the mountain Wednesday with two Dawson County deputies who say they, too, worry about potential violence against officers.
“It’s always in the back of your mind, and when you’re seeing something like this … it kind of brings it closer to the front,” Sgt. Randy Harkness, with the Sheriff’s Office, said.
A hiker who helped the accident victim posted on Facebook that it took five or six hours before anyone arrived at the scene to rescue the man.
“Are you going to be up there before shift change maybe?” the dispatcher asked in the call with Busher.
“I don't know,” Busher responded. “I'll get there when I get there. If he's injured, I’m getting there.”
“Yeah, well a six-hour ETA. That' s going to be a heck of a lawsuit,” the dispatcher told Busher.
The sheriff said it took time to find the accident scene in the mountainous woods and once they did, officers figured out the accident on Bimblewill Gap Road was in Gilmer County, not Dawson County.
The sheriff did not reprimand Busher but he did get some counseling for cursing on part of that recorded call.
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