Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office is adopting a new, more community-oriented approach to policing, and already is working on three projects to further that goal.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program will be reinstated this year at county schools. The program was discontinued at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. Sgt. Glynda Chester in June 2008 resigned from HCSO as patrol deputy and DARE officer in order to accept a similar position as security officer and Drug, Alcohol and Violence Education teacher at Douglas Intermediate School. Sheriff Butch Adams said at that time that he had no other qualified officers on staff nor funding or time to train anyone for the post in time for the 2008-2009 school year.
Recently, Deputy Brad Cummings was given the nod to become the next DARE officer for HCSO. He traveled this month to Oklahoma to attend a training session to obtain certification and instruction on teaching the class, which is expected to be offered at all six county schools beginning this fall, according to Lt. Henry Turner.
The second activity to further HCSO’s goal of a more community-oriented department is to make the general public more familiar with the deputies who will be responding to calls for service.
The department also hopes to reestablish Neighborhood Crime Watch programs in communities in the county.
“Way back when I first started working here we had this program, but over the years it faded away,” noted Turner, who’s been with the department for more than 20 years. “We’d like to start it up again. It’ll help us with investigations, when people call in suspicious vehicles and activity. The people in the community are our eyes and ears; we really depend upon them.”
The community will have an opportunity to learn more about the new county DARE officer and Neighborhood Crime Watch program Saturday, May 16, during the First Annual Sheriff Butch Adams Meet the Deputies and Family Day.
“We want to invite all the county citizens to come out that day and meet our deputies and their families,” Turner said. “Sometimes people think officers are this or that, or have preconceived ideas about them from things they’ve heard. They don’t realize they’ve got families, too. We want them to meet the deputies and their families. We really hope as many who can will come.”
As an added incentive, the sheriff’s office is offering free refreshments, including hamburgers, water and drinks.
Meet the Deputies Day is especially kid friendly, with several activities such as face-painting and bounce houses geared specifically toward them. A table will be set up with information about the Neighborhood Crime Watch program as well as sheets for people to sign up.
The DARE car and patrol vehicles will be strategically located on the hill south of the sheriff’s office where the event will take place to allow children a chance to get an up-close view of their lights and sirens.
Meet the Deputies Day begins at 10:30 a.m. and will continue through 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16.
“We are looking forward to this. The sheriff is really excited about it,” Turner said
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