Sheriff Tim Pounds and the Sheriff’s Community Outreach Program & Education (SCOPE) Division would like to thank all the pastors, preachers, priests and other church leaders for attending yesterday’s community meeting. It has been Sheriff Pounds’ goal to help close the divide between law enforcement and the community. This meeting is but the first step in doing just that.
An invitation was sent out last week for all church pastors to meet at the Sheriff’s Office in order to discuss reaching out to the community. The primary reason the SCOPE Division was formed was to bring the Sheriff’s Office and the community together as one. Only by working together can we dispel the myths and animosity towards law enforcement.
Discussed in this meeting were ideas on how to get the children in the community less likely to be involved in drugs and gangs. The Sheriff’s Office was interested in what programs the community churches already had in place that we could participate in, rather than reinvent the wheel. Lt. Elmer Horn discussed the Explorers program that he has been involved with for over 20 years. The program is aimed at 14-20-year-olds. It not only focuses on law enforcement as a profession, but the instructors also teach life skills such as accountability, and respect for oneself and others.
Also discussed was the recent acquisition of an ice cream truck. The Boston Police Department was the first law enforcement agency to purchase that type of vehicle, and the response from their community has been outstanding. Another agency in Missouri followed with a vehicle of their own, especially considering the tensions after Ferguson. They, too, saw an increase in positive interactions between their community and agency as well. Along with the free frozen treats, our officers will be working with the children in the community to help them avoid bad decisions later on in life.
Sheriff Pounds hopes that by opening a dialogue with church leaders, we can help at risk children and families before they need us in a law enforcement capacity.