“One of the most endearing images of American policing is that of the traditional foot patrol officer walking a beat and twirling a night stick. The image is powerful because it represents an era in policing when police officers were the fabric of the community they served.” *
While it's not likely you will see Burke County deputies walking beats, it is Sheriff-elect Alfonzo Williams' goal to continue Building Community Relationships. This major component of law enforcement is commonly overlooked by the media. From educating children in schools about the danger of using illegal drugs through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, to providing driver safety education, to coordinating neighborhood watch associations, to speaking at business luncheons, schools and community town hall meetings, Sheriff Williams will work diligently to make our communities safe and to provide a friendly environment for the people his department serves.
This effort will be multi-faceted and will start in the classroom. As Sheriff, Alfonzo Williams will work with the board of education to add campus safety officers. He will also establish a mentoring program in our elementary and middle schools. He also plans to enhance the existing jail ministry.
Sheriff Williams will create a community relations division to teach crime prevention to residents and business owners, a citizens academy, a citizens on patrol unit, an All-Terrain Vehicle Unit for natural disasters, an honorary deputy unit, reserve deputies unit and a GREAT program (Gang Resistance Education and Training). He will schedule quarterly meetings with neighborhoods to study crime analysis, prevention and education, and pass along information. His staff will also work with our financial institutions to prevent identity theft and check fraud.
He plans to develop a website for the office and include Computerized Crime Mapping to build safer communities (used by residents, business owners/employees and deputies). To support the new website he will use social media for daily communication.
Sheriff, Williams will embrace the governor’s Public Works initiatives with public and private sector using inmates. He will also work with schools, DA, Magistrate, DJJ, State Patrol, GBI, Probation, Parole and other government agencies to foster professional relationships ahead of crisis.
*John P. Skinner, Deputy Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, American Policing in 2022: Essays on the Future of a Profession, U.S. Department of Justice.