FAIRFIELD COUNTY — As part of its Community Oriented Police program, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department is holding a Crime Watch meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Greenbrier Fire Station on Highway 269.
Corporal Ron Mull said the meeting is part of ongoing conversations to get a group started in that area of the county. He said individuals in the area approached the department about getting the group started for Greenbrier.
A Crime Watch group exists at the river at Dutchman’s Creek, one at a community fire station in South Winnsboro in the old mill village, one in the Dawkins area and a community crime watch off Park Road that serves the Blackjack and Longtown areas.
As part of these meetings, speakers educate the community on a variety of topics. One presentation will be about how to be safe in one’s home and things that can help prevent robbery of homes. The communication with the community has been a strategy the department has attempted for years as a crime deterrent.
The COPS program began as a grant funded program, but the department saw its value and kept it running when the grant ran out.
Lt. D.J. Wilson said the the COPS Home Alone Program is another positive form of community outreach that helps elevate Fairfield County’s quality of life. Begun about 15 years ago, the program has officers call, go by and check on persons who live alone and/or live in outlying areas of the county. They keep tabs, so they know about people.
Currently Mull estimates they keep check on 40 to 50 people. Community volunteers help with phone calls so that frees up deputies to respond in cases where a citizen does not respond, rather than have them running around trying to be 40 places each week. Even so, the deputies make time to stop by and visit the residents on a regular basis to show that they care.
The interaction can begin following a friend referral or church referral, or the client can come to the notice of the department during a call.
Of course, the focus remains on the quality of life of all residents of the county. Wilson said on a call around Thanksgiving to deliver a turkey to a client, he noticed the homeowner had an empty refrigerator.
“All the food I saw in the house was a few dog biscuits on the counter,” he said.
He knew he had to contact his resources and help that person find food and they did so, another way the community and the department work together, not just to fight crime, but to fight hunger, isolation and loneliness as well.
For more information about the COPS program call the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department at 635-4141.