The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office says its community outreach programs are continuing to grow in popularity and are showing marked results.
Programs such as the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy, Chaplaincy program, Project First Responder and Law Enforcement Adventure Program (LEAP) are moving into their third year.
Det. Chuck Love and Maj. Donnie Lowe established the programs to form a stronger relationship with members of the community, as well as dispel misperceptions about law enforcement.
“When the community sees a report of an arrest ... there are generally two types of response,” Love said. “‘I would have done the same thing, they deserved what they got’, or ‘What was that officer thinking?’ To combat this way of thinking, we choose to educate our community, to know what the officer is thinking, and why the officer made the arrest.”
With negative or false portrayals of law enforcement being nearly ubiquitous on television, Love said he wants to use education to forge stronger relationships with the community and help make Louisa a safer place.
“Our graduates are now better educated in the workings of our department, and in the law in general,” he said. “Being informed is a powerful means to increase the community’s empathy for law enforcement officers. It presents an opportunity to humanize law enforcement officers, to get to know the actual person behind the badge.”
Support from your community is vital for an effective law enforcement organization, and Lowe said that he is grateful for the trust and support from throughout Louisa County.
“These programs not only enhance the support from the community, but also allow us to interact, listen and bond with the public while teaching them about our department, deputies and staff,” Lowe said. “In addition to helping us build rapport with the community, a lot of the information made available to the public can come in handy if you or a loved one are ever in an emergency situation, so it’s making our community safer, as well.”
Currently, the number of children who are participating in the Law Enforcement Adventure Program makes it one of LCSO’s most popular programs.
“LEAP has been a tremendous hit with those who have attended,” Love said. “Parents have sent emails saying how much their children talk about everything that they do during the program, and how much they look forward to attending the next day.”
Some have requested that the summer program be extended to two weeks, or even the entire summer. This year, they added a field trip to the pool and a visit to an adventure park which including zip lining, mini-golf and wall climbing as a way to change up the itinerary and keep it fresh.
Spaces are full for the fourth session of the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy, which began June 11 and will continue through Aug. 27. The next session will occur in the fall. For a list of available programs, visit the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office website at www.louisacounty.com.