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Officers trained to spot abuse
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The Dawson County Sheriff's Office is taking another step in ensuring that its residents, especially its young ones, are safe.

During a March 25 luncheon, Family Connection held a seminar on preventing sexual abuse of children.

"We heard about it first at the Family Connection luncheon and they introduced the concept then," said Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle. "I wanted to get my employees here trained ... so we worked with Family Connection to start getting people at the sheriff's office trained."

The Stewards of Children program trains adults to watch for the signs of abuse and neglect in children. This allows adults to watch over children and keep them safe from harm by making adults in the community more aware of signs of childhood sexual abuse.

"We had a little bit of training in this in your basic police training, but it only gets in-depth once it goes into investigator training, those that investigate crimes against children," Carlisle said. "Part of the training is being aware of where you are letting your children go and that it's OK to question what others are doing to help protect your kids."

Carlisle said that the realization for training hit during the luncheon.

"We do the Junior Law Enforcement Academy here and spend upwards of eight hours a day with kids," he said. "The parents don't need to be afraid to ask what kind of safety plans those that are keeping them have in place to make sure they are safe and nobody is hurting them."

It's training that the sheriff's office feels they should be at the forefront of, as an example. And, according to Family Connection, it has, with every officer trained in this program so far.

"I think we, as the sheriff's office, need to start leading the way in the county for this training," Carlisle said. "We can say: ‘This is the type of plan we have in place to protect your children, this is what we're going to do to make sure they are safe.'"