Creating a Safer Upstate Beyond the Shield Workshop – Law Enforcement Outreach Strategies
The first Creating a Safer Upstate – Beyond the Shield Virtual Workshop of 2022 provided an opportunity for Upstate law enforcement agencies to share some of the ways they engage with their local communities.
The law enforcement panelists for the session were Chief Matt Hamby from the City of Greer, Chief Sonny Ledda from the City of Clinton, Chief Ben Ford from the City of Travelers Rest, and Lt. Todd Caron from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. The Community Leaders participating in the conversation will be Inez Morris from the West Greenville Neighborhood Association and Patrena Mims, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Center in Spartanburg’s Highland Neighborhood. Jim Shew from Marsh & McLennan and Keishe Nelson from Michelin coordinated the audience questions during the session.
Coffee with a Cop was a popular activity, along with community meetings, funeral escorts for veterans, and doing “talks” around town for churches and other civic groups. Many agencies offer trainings including active assailant, bus driver active shooter response, active shooter and reunification, and safety trainings for seniors and women. Many Upstate agencies also have citizens academies and do events for kids like trunk or treats, touch a trucks, First Bump Fridays, gun safety, Girls on the Run, summer Camp, and stuff a cruiser to collect school supplies and holidays gifts.
Ten at the Top will host a virtual event in May with Upstate agencies invited to hear from a National Night Out representative about the benefits of registering events this year, with the hope to have all events on the same day to build energy and awareness around community engagement.
Questions from the community involved building trust and relationships between law enforcement and communities. Chief Hamby discussed taking advantage of random opportunities to engage while working in neighborhoods, and the efforts law enforcement makes to incorporate community engagement into their work. COP cards (like baseball cards) were mentioned, and decals for drivers with autism. Many agencies receive training from their local disabilities and special needs boards.