The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is moving the headquarters of the Middle Georgia branch of the state’s Gang Task Force into a fortress-like Macon-Bibb County government building known by many simply as “The Castle.” 

The GBI task force has been active in Middle Georgia for three years, but up until now it has not had an office to treat as a regional headquarters. The building, formerly used as the transportation management office for Macon-Bibb County, is being renovated to fit the role after a memorandum of understanding between county government and the GBI. 

The new location for the task force is positioned between two local poles of law enforcement: the office of the United States Attorney for the region and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

United States Attorney for Georgia’s Middle District Peter Leary said he looks forward to strengthening the collaboration between federal prosecutors and the state’s top investigators. 

“The simple fact is good prosecution starts with good law enforcement and good investigations,” Leary said during the announcement of the move. “And the GBI does truly excellent work when it comes to investigations — long term, impactful matters that we’re going to be able to turn into important federal prosecutions.”

The future middle Georgia home of the GBI Gang Task Force, the Bibb County government known by some as "The Castle."

The future middle Georgia home of the GBI Gang Task Force, the Bibb County government known by some as "The Castle."

Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said the increased presence of the GBI in a community on edge about violence will be valuable. 

“To have them right here in the heart of Macon, in the heart of our community, it’s going to really make a difference,” Davis said. “The criminals and gangsters will know that law enforcement is on their tail and we will make that arrest.”

The move comes a year after Macon-Bibb County launched the Macon Violence Prevention program, in which the city funded a number of social service and mental health programs aimed at stemming community violence, particularly by and against young people. 

Though the increased law enforcement presence could be seen by some as a departure from that program, representatives from both the local NAACP and Cure Violence, the largest of the community violence initiatives, were present at the announcement of the GBI’s new Macon home not as critics but as supporters.

“We do admit we have gang issues and there are things that need to be done,” Macon-Bibb Mayor Miller said.

Many in the community see gangs as directly connected to Macon's persistent homicide rate, which last year was 25% higher than that of Atlanta.

So far in 2023, Macon-Bibb County has averaged one homicide a week.

Tags: violence  homicide  gangs  Macon  GBI  Atlanta