Senior reserve officers honored at dinner

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 25, 2009

“I am very much appreciative for the service, dedication and commitment you men and women have shown and provided to our community” said Sheriff Dennis Meeks before a dinner held in honor of the Covington County Sheriff’s Senior Patrol. “You have given of your time freely so that others within our community could feel more secure and dwell in safety, knowing that someone is out there who cares.”

“I am here to relay the message that many citizens within our county have contacted me expressing their thanks for the services this unit provides,” he said.

Thus began a feast of steaks, roasted potatoes, salads, covered dishes and dessert as Sheriff Meeks and his wife Altheia settled in as the Senior Reserve Force’s guests of honor at Coldwater Congregational Church Recreational Center on Nov. 21.

The meeting officially began with prayer issued by Senior Reservist Cecil Jones. A short introduction of the unit’s other guests which included Dr. Barbara Linder, who represented the Pilot Club of Covington County, and her husband, Robert Linder, formerly with the Covington County Extension Office.

The Pilot Club provides the financial support for the locator bracelets and other equipment for Project Lifesaver International. These services and equipment are needed for facilitating the service provided by these two agencies.

The bracelets are worn by persons within our community who suffer from some form of dementia that may lead them to become lost or disoriented. The Sheriff’s Department will use trained personnel using a method of triangulation to locate and rescue these citizens. 
The average rescue time nationally is around 30 minutes from when they are reported missing. There is no age limit for the services.

Meeks stated that his department now has nine fully trained officers who have undergone training to become proficient on the use of this equipment.

Pilot Club representative Barbara Linder expressed her thanks for the hard work and dedication from those within the Sheriff’s Department who are instrumental in providing this much needed safety service to citizens of our county. She further stated that there are now 15 individuals within Covington County who utilize this service.

Former Senior Reserve Captain, Doyle Taylor, who was instrumental in founding the Senior Reserve Patrol within the Sheriff’s Department, spoke of the cohesion and dedication this unit has demonstrated throughout its existence and looks forward to when he may resume duty.

Reserve Captain, Dick Chandler, also spoke of the importance of simply visiting those who are unable to get out and be a part of the community.

“A fellow officer and I visited someone the other day and the gentleman began to openly weep simply because we had come to visit him and check on his well being,” Chandler said. “There are people out there who simply need to know that someone cares and they are not alone.”

“I am proud of the service this part of the Sheriff’s Department allows me and my fellow officers to perform,” Chandler continued. “It is part of our Christian duty and the Sheriff’s Department has provided a means for that much needed service.”

Various other services the Covington County Sheriff’s Senior Reserve provide are patrolling the many unpaved roads of our county, locating illegal dump sites as well as downed trees and power lines then reporting them to the proper authorities, reporting suspicious activities of vandalism, checking to be sure that businesses and churches are locked and secured, and checking on residences if requested by the owners. Providing extra security and traffic control assistance during many of our local activities, and, if called on to do so, assist professional law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties at accident scenes.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks as well as Senior Reserve Captain Dick Chandler are open to suggestions and input as to how the Senior Reserve Force may be of further service to the needs of Covington County citizens.

Please contact the Sheriff’s office if they can be of assistance at 428-2640.