By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro Police Chief Damon Williams is living up to his promise to improve community policing in the community by participating in the National Child Safety Council's (NCSC) Safetypup® Program.
The NCSC program promotes the importance of staying safe and drug free, and will reach children ages 5 though 12. For starters, TPD will focus on kindergarten through third grade students. Eventually the program will be administered to all grades, Williams said.
The NCSC will provide the TPD with various printed materials that will include pedestrian safety, general safety, internet safety, beware and aware of dangerous people and bullying. Also included are mini books detailing good/ bad guys, playground safety, touching right and wrong ways, when to call 911, smoking prevention, and peer pressure. Printed material will be given to students as well as the parents. The program also provides materials for parents to heighten involvement and re-enforce the messages at home with their children.
"This goes in hand with community police program that I've implemented," Williams said. "It's about reaching them now, so that we will not have to reach them later. This is a great program for our town."
Williams said his department will begin implementing a portion of the programs this spring. At the beginning of the next school season, he said Cpl. Ricky Dozier, the crime prevention officer, will have sessions in elementary schools classrooms.
"This is a great program especially with the bullying that is going on today," Williams said. "The material will teach the danger of bullying and it will also enlighten the parents to knowing the signs of bullying."
Several years ago, TPD participated in a similar national program many years ago. Drug Abuse Resistance Education D.A.R.E. seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. Students who entered the 10-week program signed a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs. Williams explained that the new program is different from D.A.R.E. because "it covers a hold gamut of crime prevention and safety."
The TPD is mailing letters of request to the area business, industrial, professional, military and civic organizations seeking financial support. Sponsor’s names will be placed on the work study manuals that the children receive.
Williams said there are other programs available to his department, however, "the NCSC has the best materials available, and the cost per child is the lowest we have found.”
In less than a year after he was hired, Williams has implemented at least four community programs in his department including, bicycle patrol, PAL program, honor guard and the walk and talk program. He have also placed an school resource officer at Martin Middle School and also formed a step team there.
Williams said the community policing approach allows his department to be proactive, rather than reactive.
Business, industries or individuals that would like to contribute to the program can make checks payable to the National Child Safety Council and mail it to: The Tarboro Police Department, 318 Main Street, Tarboro,, Attention: Chief Damon Williams.
The NCSC is a nonprofit, federal tax-exempt organization. They began the well known missing children milk carton program in 1985. Their “Safetypup®” mascot has appeared on milk cartons with one-liners about safety and drug prevention.