A new division at the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office has been tasked with raising the agency’s visibility in an effort to suppress and prevent crime.
Lt. Col. John Cagle, undersheriff, said the crime suppression unit has been developing for about a month as an extension of the sheriff’s criminal investigation division.
“What we hope the program will do is really enhance our capabilities to be more visible, to go to where we see the crimes developing,” Cagle said.
The unit will focus on street crimes such as burglaries and vehicle break-ins, which Cagle said become more prevalent as the weather warms and people begin spending more time outside.
“They’ll concentrate on our parks, in our neighborhoods and other high crime areas, like our retail,” he said.
The unit includes veteran officers Laura Bishop and Mark Caruana, who will work closely with investigators to develop methods and contacts in the community.
Bishop said neighborhood patrols paid off during a recent burglary investigation in which a suspect’s vehicle was identified.
She said information from leads gathered through contact with residents will be the unit’s most useful tool.
She also urged the community to report crimes or suspicious behavior, either by calling the sheriff’s office or using the sheriff’s Bulletin Board, an online resource at www.dawsoncountysheriff.org.
“Some people may be reluctant to call the sheriff’s office, because they don’t want their identity to be revealed,” Bishop said. “I think the Internet may be a safer and more convenient way for them to communicate.”
The Bulletin Board is also designed to deliver information to subscribers through e-mails and text messages.
“The whole thing is designed to improve communications both ways,” Cagle said. “They see more of us, we see more of them. They hear from us and we hear from them.”