Safety first

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con­cen­trate while chat­ting with them after­ward — that whole “men in uni­form” com­plex re­duces highly ed­u­cated women to gig­gling school girls. I’m a big fan of Spike’s “Dead­li­est War­rior” (geeky, I know) and the first episode of sea­son two pit­ted SWAT against GSG-9. Af­ter the com­puter pro­gram test­ing, a SWAT mem­ber was the last man stand­ing prov­ing that the Amer­i­can group’s train­ing is su­pe­rior to Ger­man en­gi­neer­ing.

A trip to the Newton County 911 Cen­ter was like vis­it­ing the Star­ship En­ter­prise. Em­ploy­ees at the cen­ter re­ceive calls from the most des­per­ate of in­di­vid­u­als sev­eral dozen times a day, yet still had smiles for our class. They don’t have the most dan­ger­ous job in pub­lic safety, but theirs is just as im­por­tant. Dispatch op­er­a­tors are sel­dom thanked for their ser­vice to our com­mu­nity, so let me go on the record as say­ing each and ev­ery one of you is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated whether or not peo­ple tell you so.

The class then headed over to the Newton County De­ten­tion Cen­ter to hear from Sher­iff Ezell Brown and Cov­ing­ton Po­lice Chief Stacey Cot­ton. Chief Cot­ton ex­plained how out of the six Amer­i­can po­lice forces orig­i­nally Na­tion­ally Ac­cred­ited, the CPD is the only one to re­main ac­cred­ited for the past quar­ter cen­tury. Again, the NCSO and CPD work well with each other (they get gold stars) as ev­i­denced by SWAT and newly formed units such as the NCSO’s crime sup­pres­sion unit. The CSU, headed by Lt. Tyrone Oliver, is a com­plaint-driven unit that will pa­trol any place in the county. Some­times they have to work with the CPD in cer­tain ar­eas that are “their turf” and to my knowl­edge this has not yet pre­sented a prob­lem.

The first thing one will no­tice upon en­ter­ing the de­ten­tion cen­ter is how im­mac­u­late it is. I could lit­er­ally check my makeup on the glis­ten­ing floors. Af­ter lunch pro­vided by Frank’s Res­tau­rant, we got to see a demon­stra­tion of one of the NSCO’s K-9’s. A friendly look­ing Bel­gian Mali­nois named Ringo be­came a weapon of mass de­struc­tion at one com­mand from his in­struc­tor. Trust me, when the po­lice tell you to put your hands up or they will sic the dog on you, if you value your thigh mus­cles, you will put your hands in the air. We also got to meet Jiggs, one of the NCSO’s blood­hounds. He’s doesn’t take a bite out of crime, but he can lead you straight to the per­son whose per­pe­trated one. He’s a big boy and a bit like a bull in a china shop, but he does his job. He does not like ap­plause.

Capt. Sammy Banks took us on a tour of a pod in the jail — no in­mates were cur­rently in the pod. The aus­tere grey of the jail makes ev­ery­thing seem colder. Ta­bles and toi­lets are made of stain­less steel and mat­tresses are less than an inch thick. I’ve heard peo­ple say that for some jail is bet­ter than the street, but at least on the street you can look up and see the sky. Jail didn’t feel cozy at all. Free­dom isn’t free and in­car­cer­a­tion is down right ex­pen­sive. It costs around $43 a day to house each pris­oner, and that’s if they are healthy and re­quire no med­i­cal at­ten­tion. Start adding $43 times hun­dreds of in­mates times 365 days and you get one whop­ping num­ber in a year.

Af­ter the sher­iff’s of­fice, we went to Cov­ing­ton Fire Sta­tion One for a tour of an am­bu­lance as well as a demon­stra­tion of Cov­ing­ton Fire’s burn trailer. I’d just been in the burn trailer on April 7, so I just hung back and let my other class­mates see what I went through so they could see that I truly am brave and awe­some and that fire­fight­ers pretty much need to be wor­shipped. My hus­band is cur­rently train­ing to be an ad­vanced EMT so I took great in­ter­est in the am­bu­lance tour. It’s amaz­ing to think that these peo­ple not only bring peo­ple back to life, but also oc­ca­sion­ally wel­come peo­ple to this world. One of our tour guides had de­liv­ered a baby the day be­fore. They see things daily that I hope I never do, and yet go home each day and lead healthy fam­ily lives. That, too, is amaz­ing.

I’m so thank­ful to have such highly trained pub­lic safety of­fi­cials in Newton County and am thank­ful that Lead­er­ship Newton has af­forded me the op­por­tu­nity to meet all the won­der­ful peo­ple who work be­hind the scenes to make sure that our com­mu­nity is beau­ti­ful, pros­per­ous and safe.

Our class has or­ga­nized a com­mu­nity ser­vice project that will take place all of next week. We are col­lected canned goods and non­per­ish­able food items for a few of our lo­cal food banks Mon­day through Satur­day. Be­low is a list of lo­ca­tions where res­i­dents can drop off do­na­tions.

• The Cov­ing­ton News, 1166 Usher Street, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Snap­ping Shoals, 14750 Brown Bridge Road, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Newton County Wa­ter & Sew­er­age Author­ity, 11325 Brown Bridge Road, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Newton Fed­eral Bank, 3175 U.S. Hwy 278, 8258 U.S. Hwy 278 or 10131 Car­lin Ave, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• BB&T, Washington Street on the square, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, main lob­bies of both lo­ca­tions at 16200 Al­covyJersey Road or 8100 Bob Wil­liams Park­way, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Peo­ple’s Banks, 6124 U.S. Hwy 278 NE, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Crudup & Hen­drick, LLP, Church Street on the square, Mon­day – Fri­day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Eastridge Com­mu­nity Church, 863 Ga. High­way 142 E, April 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. or May 1 from 9 to 11 a.m.


Charles Hill Mor­ris

T. Pat Ca­vanaugh

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