Beam was one of 44 newly elected sheriffs attending the mandatory training.
The 160-hour training program included classroom instruction emphasizing the duties of the chief law enforcement officer of a county. The state constitution and the Official Code of Georgia specify many duties of the office of the sheriff, including service as jail officers, court officers, law enforcement officers, and administrators. Class sessions introduced new sheriffs to these responsibilities while state and national experts also spoke to the sheriffs about the latest issues concerning jails, civil procedure, personnel, and liability issues.
The course was initiated by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association in partnership with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which drafted legislation in 1976 requiring every newly elected sheriff to complete the course during the first term of office. The training has evolved from a voluntary, two-day seminar in 1960 into a four-week training program required by law.