Ag News

Ag Commissioner Harper restores GDA status as law enforcement

by Georgia Department of Agriculture

Posted on Jul 12, 2023 at 0:00 AM

By the Georgia Department of Agriculture

On June 26, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper announced that the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) has successfully regained its status as a law enforcement agency. Harper named Harlan Proveaux, a 29-year law enforcement and emergency management veteran with experience across multiple state and local agencies, to serve as the GDA's new inspector general and director of the GDA Law Enforcement & Emergency Management Division. GDA has historically operated with a law enforcement capacity; however, the GDA Law Enforcement Division was disbanded in 2013. Harper and Proveaux began the process to have the GDA’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council ID reinstated, restoring the department's status as a law enforcement agency.

“I am proud to announce the Georgia Department of Agriculture has regained our status as a law enforcement agency, restoring a critical function of the department and enabling us to better serve farmers, producers, and consumers across the state,” Harper said. “Director Proveaux brings decades of experience in law enforcement and emergency management, and he has my full support and confidence as we work together to rebuild and restore this critical division within the department.”

Prior to joining the GDA, Proveaux served as the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Deputy Director for seven years. Proveaux has served at several other state and local agencies including Georgia Public Safety Training Center, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Ware County Magistrate Court, and Ware County Sheriff's Office. He holds a master's degree in public safety administration from Columbus State University.

“I'm incredibly excited to join the Georgia Department of Agriculture as inspector general and director of the Law Enforcement & Emergency Management Division,” said Proveaux. “I've known Commissioner Harper for more than ten years, through his past service as Senate Public Safety Committee chairman, and I look forward to working with the commissioner and existing GDA staff to rebuild our Law Enforcement Division and strengthen the department's emergency management operations and response capabilities.”

GDA officers will assist local, state, and federal agencies with a wide range of investigations from animal cruelty to labor and drug trafficking to agro-terrorism, while also working to improve safety and security at the state farmers markets throughout Georgia. At the same time, strengthening emergency management operations and response capabilities will allow the department to respond more efficiently, effectively and rapidly in the event of a natural disaster, severe weather event, or animal disease outbreak.

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