There is a new Sheriff in town and he is attacking county-wide drug issues, developing new tactics for involving the police force more with the community, creating new programs for teenagers, and could possibly the star of a reality television show soon.
At the Waynesville town hall meeting on Tuesday night hosted by Sheriff Ron Long himself, Long discussed details of his vision for the county and the Sheriff's department.
Long said that he wants the Sheriff's Department more involved with the people in the county, a concept he calls community policing.
He said that in the spring, it won't be unusual in Pulaski County for deputies to stop residents while mowing the lawn and introduce themselves.
“This way, we get to know you as a person and your family members and you get to know us. This way we can know more about what's going on in your community and there is more that we can do for you,” Long said. “It's very important for you to know that you can come to us.”
The sheriff is also developing teenage advisory panels as another way to create a stronger relationship with his department and the community within the next two to three weeks.
He said that when he was teaching high school students last year he was saddened to hear from students that they were afraid of their local law enforcement officers.
The teenage advisory panels will include two teenagers from each high school around Pulaski County meeting with members of the Sheriff's Department to discuss different issues affecting high school students.
“They will come in and have a round table with us and that way we as law enforcement can get to know them, hear their needs while they can get to know us and we can start eliminating that fear-factor.”
Long said that this is one of the ways that the county is attacking the “drug problem” here by educating and developing relationships with teenagers and parents.
“You can never become a drug addict if you never start using drugs,” he said.
The sheriff said that through education, community policing and arresting and rehabilitating drug dealers, the drug problem in this county can be solved.
“I want the drug pushers to know that we're coming after them, and we're going to be aggressive,” he said. “Once we start knocking down drug usage, we start knocking down property crimes.”
Long said that more than 75 percent of crimes committed Pulaski County are committed by drug offenders.
He said that the two main drugs in our county are heroin and methamphetamine.
In Tuesday night's meeting, the sheriff also briefly mentioned that he is going to meet with Hollywood producers on Feb. 22 to meet with himself , the chief deputy, and two county commissioners to talk about possibly filming a TV show or a short documentary including the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office and one other law enforcement office in the state.
Long said that it would be an educational program to help prevent drug addiction with a focus on methamphetamine and heroin. It would show individuals and their rehabilitating process and communities with drug issues and their progress after raids
“It's not going to be for entertainment, it will be informative and the key to this is drug prevention,” he said.