WINNSBORO — Within the town of Winnsboro the terms to protect and serve are powerful. There is a well respected department that has been carrying out this mission for many years.
The Winnsboro Department of Public Safety was formed in 1986 when the Winnsboro Police Department and Fire Department were combined.
They are currently made up of 19 dedicated public safety officers, three part-time persons, one of whom is a certified police officer, and 15 volunteer firefighters on the roster.
These officers protect the town’s population which is approximately 3,550 by providing police, fire, and animal control services. Each officer in this department must also be a certified firefighter along with being an officer.
When asked about the tasks that his officers perform on a daily bases Chief F. J. Lorick Sr. said, “Public Safety is the eyes, ears, and responders of the town.”
Many may not know, but after hours public safety has to take on another role and handle all the calls that deal with electrical outages for the town as well.
Yet Lorick said this is the public safety concept to handle all of these types of issues, which requires each officer to wear many different hats at once.
The roles can be broken down into going from patrolling the streets and making terrific stops to jumping into the animal control truck to deal with an unruly animal, and wrapping the shift up by responding to a structure fire.
Lorick’s officers are more than willing to go the extra mile and work to continue to serve the town. The duties that they perform are done out of a commitment to the community.
One such officer is Officer Caughman who has been with this department for a year and allowed the Herald Independent to join him for a ride-along.
Caughman’s reason for wanting to be a police officer was his desire to, “Help out the people in the community and give the children something to look forward to; and let them know they can call on us if they need us.”
During a normal shift, officers check in at the base and then are off to the streets where on each shift officers observe to make sure that everyone is obeying the traffic laws.
Officers are also responsible for checking areas in the town to make sure they are secure, such as the schools, buildings, library, and other locations; while continuing to keep a visible eye out for law breakers.
Public safety not only works to enforce laws, but to educate the community to ensure safety. This education process can be as simple as informing a person on the actual state laws.
While patrolling the town officers are receiving information from the public safety base as well as from Central Midlands which is the 911 call center. This is just another chain that is formed to make sure that the town is protected. Central Midlands provide the information to the officers who in return serve the community.
It is extremely important for the officers to be visible in the community at all times and to provide proactive service. By continuing to be on the move, officers have better understanding of what is going on in the area and this in turn gives the town a sense of feeling secure.
Although the public safety officers of the Town of Winnsboro have many different hats they wear with a given shift, they continue to do their job to protect and serve the people of the town with dignity and respect.