Dawson County Sheriff's Office

Community Programs

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Youth Programs

Advanced Junior Police Academy – The Advanced Junior Police Academy is an extension of the Junior Police Academy for children. Participants must be enrolled in 7th or 8th grade. This three-day program builds upon lessons learned in the Junior Police Academy. Group size is smaller to ensure participants receive more individualized instruction. This program includes practical applications of topics such as crime scene processing and use of force.

Caught Safe Driving Program – In 2010, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office launched the Caught Safe Driving Program. This program aims to reward teen drivers who officers observe driving safely. Twelve adolescents are randomly chosen throughout the year. The program was an instant success and greatly increased seatbelt usage.

CHAMPS Program – The CHAMPS program is the core crime prevention program offered to our children. The Dawson County Board of Education requires all 5th grade students to participate in this program. The School Board heavily supports this program with partial and full funding of school resource officer positions. The seventh class of CHAMPS recently graduated after a very successful year of instruction by Corporal

Steven Swofford and Officer Stan Harrison.

Family Connections Mentoring Program – The Dawson County Family Connection directs this program, which offers children positive role models. Volunteers mentor and encourage positive behaviors. Since the program’s inception, several Dawson County officers have volunteered with this program. Officer Stan Harrison actively participates with this program. To learn more about the Dawson County Family Connection, please

visit www.gafcp.org/fcnetwork/dawson.

“It’s Party Time, and it’s no game!” – In 2008, Captain Tony Wooten developed a drug curriculum to educate 7th grade students about the dangers associated with unhealthy choices. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office piloted this program, which was recently completed. The Passage Group, which is an education company with over 20 years of experience educating parents about youth drug abuse, adopted and supports this program. As a result, this program is currently utilized in 20 counties located throughout Georgia

and 12 states nationwide.

Jail tours for unruly juveniles – Parents often request tours of the Dawson County Detention Center for unruly juveniles. With parental consent and Sheriff Carlisle’s approval, juveniles are exposed to the daily life of current inmates. This tour

emphasizes freedoms that are denied to individuals in custody.

Junior Police Academy – One of the most popular programs the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office offers to children is the Junior Police Academy. Children enrolled in the 4th grade are eligible for the first session of the Junior Police Academy, and children enrolled in the 5th or 6th grade are eligible for the second session of this program. Program attendance and quality has grown dramatically since the program’s inception 10 years ago. This program greatly fosters trust between children and law enforcement personnel.

Shop with a Cop – Shop with a Cop offers underprivileged children the opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts for themselves and/or family members. Officers volunteer to accompany participants during shopping trips and help them manage their allotted funds. During the 2011 Shop with a Cop event, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office raised approximately $3,200, which allowed participation to double over the previous year.

Adult Programs

Citizen’s Police Academy – The Citizen’s Police Academy is a free, informational course that educates members of the community about the roles and responsibilities of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. Participants receive weekly training about the varied functions of law enforcement. Topics of interest for this program include, but are not limited to, crime scene processing, criminal law basics, patrol tactics, firearms, police canine usage, search and seizure, and many other topics. Participants are introduced to officers as well as the command staff that serve the community. Students gain a greater understanding of law enforcement and an increased ability to understand the operations of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. Please note, this program is not a law enforcement accredited certification course.

Elderly Watch – The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office offers an elderly watch program. School resource officers work with the Senior Center to identify senior citizens who do not have family members who can check on their welfare during severe weather. In 2011, Dawson County received snow and ice on multiple occasions. During this time, the Senior Center ran out of food and was unable to receive supplies from their supplier. The Sheriff’s Office cooked food at the Detention Center, and school resource officers utilized four-wheel drive vehicles to deliver food to dozens of senior citizens’ homes. These officers also assisted with snow removal at these homes, delivered medications, and assisted one citizen with heating repair at no expense to the citizen. To enroll a senior citizen in this program or obtain more information, please contact Captain Tony Wooten.

Firewood Program – In the winter of 2000, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office developed a program to assist senior citizens in our community. During this time, Dawson County contacted a company to pave several roads located within the county. The company contacted needed a place to dispose of the removed trees. Members of the Sheriff’s Office suggested the company could relocate the downed trees to the jail. A member of our staff, who assisted with inmate labor, could then cut the wood into firewood length and give to citizens in need. The Enforcement Services – Criminal Investigations Division began contributing to the project as well. An individual had recently been arrested for selling illegal drugs. During the arrest and prosecution of this individual, a wide variety of property and assets were seized. Among the items seized was a wood splitter. The Sheriff’s Office was awarded the possession of the wood splitter in a court order. The Sheriff’s Office began using the wood splitter to cut firewood for those in need. During the winter, approximately thirty loads of wood were hauled to senior citizens who resided in Dawson County. The wood was given to individuals who primarily used wood to heat their homes, those that could not afford to purchase wood, and those who could no longer physically cut and haul their own wood.

To ensure the wood was given to appropriate citizens, the Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Dawson County Senior Center to evaluate all firewood applications. During 2011, 135 loads of firewood were delivered to citizens in need. This required approximately 350 hours of inmate labor. The Sheriff’s Office plans to continue this service for many years to come.

Neighborhood Watch – The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office endorses neighborhood watch programs. These programs obtain citizen involvement to discourage and prevent residential crimes. A neighborhood watch is one of the most effective and cost efficient methods to prevent crime. Neighborhood watches are especially effective in deterring burglaries and thefts.