Sheriff reveals new public safety programs

By Jesse Campbell -

JEFFERSON-With public safety in mind, the Ashe County Sheriff’s office has recently launched two initiatives to keep the community informed of criminal activity and to safeguard those in the county who are the most vulnerable.

During the public comment portion of the April 17 meeting of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Terry Buchanan briefed the public on these newly implemented programs and what affect the emerging technology will have on the citizenry going forward.

To sweeten the deal for taxpayers, Buchanan said these programs were developed and installed at no cost to the county. Buchanan said this was done through private donations.

The first program that Buchanan revealed focuses on a visual representation of crimes being committed throughout the county.

“We’ve implemented a new program called community crime mapping,” said Buchanan. “This community crime mapping will allow the citizens in the county to check on and put in their addresses to find out what crimes have occurred around their place of residence or within the county in general. What it does to tell you…it tells you what is going on in your neighborhood. It also gives citizens who want to come to Ashe County, a view of what’s going on.”

The sheriff said this program is currently up and running on the sheriff’s office’s webpage.

Buchanan also gave the commissioners a detailed description of the “R U Ok?” system.

“That (system) is going to allow every citizen in the county that lives alone to be able to call in and check in with the system everyday,” said Buchanan.

This system is simple and is designed to give peace of mind to both the relative and friend who is concerned about an individual that lives alone, as well as that person of concern.

“Where you may have an individual that may want to call a family member or a close friend, on this system, all they have to do is pick up phone and call sheriff’s office each day on a designated line, which they will sign up and give us that information,” said Buchanan. “If we don’t hear back from that citizen we simply call their contact list that they leave with us. If we don’t get a hold of anyone on that contact list, we will send a deputy out that day.”

These new programs are just two of several recently kicked off by the sheriff’s office.

Buchanan and Ashe County Schools have not met eye-to-eye on the impact and merits of the DARE program, which the sheriff wants to have reintroduced in the classroom curriculum. Buchanan also wanted to send a home a congratulatory letter to every student that made the A/B Honor Roll.

By Jesse Campbell


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