Burke County to rename law enforcement office in honor of past sheriff

The Burke County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Center will be dedicated to a longtime former sheriff.


The law enforcement center will be named after former sheriff Gregory Coursey, who was elected in 1980 and retired in 2016. Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams made a formal request Tuesday to the county commission to rename the facility and the members voted unanimously to do so.

Coursey, now 71, was the youngest sheriff in Georgia when he was elected and served as sheriff for more than 36 years. He currently holds the record as the longest serving elected official in the county.

He was appreciative of the gesture Wednesday.

“I didn’t know anything about it until after the meeting last night,” he said. “I’m honored and humbled that they would do that.”

After being elected sheriff in December 2016, Williams pushed to rename the center in Coursey’s honor.

“Naming a county (building) after someone is often not accomplished until after they have passed away,” Williams said Wednesday. “However, we were all 100 percent in agreement that this was the right thing to do at this time and the response was very well received in the meeting.”

With the dream now a reality, Williams and Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard said they will immediately begin planning “Sheriff Gregory T. Coursey Day” at the law enforcement center for the community as well as all of the sheriffs in Georgia.

“We are extremely grateful to be working with amazing commissioners who understand that it is more important to thank and recognize people in person whenever possible,” Blanchard said. “Sheriff Coursey is very deserving of this honor and we look forward to accomplishing this towards the end of April of this year.”

Facts about Coursey

Coursey took office in 1981 after beating James Striggles in a runoff to replace retiring Sheriff Ralph Elliot in 1980.

Increased capped capacity at the jail from 40 to 80.

Expanded staff from 14 in 1981 to 86 by 2016.

Retired from office Dec. 31, 2016