It is a goal of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to make a positive difference in people's lives and the community we protect and serve. There are a number of different ways we do that. Three plans to help achieve that goal have been put into action for patrol deputies and investigators. These plans do not mean that we will be giving less priority to our other responsibilities, it simply means that we will be giving special focus to the three areas selected.

The plans were not developed because we are doing poorly in these areas. The plans were developed because we felt that our current efforts focusing on these areas have made a positive difference for our community. By formalizing plans, we are recognizing their importance and will continue to expand, enhance and improve that focus. The three areas of focus are: community relations, traffic enforcement and domestic violence.

The Sheriff's Office has strong community relations resulting from active participation in our schools, community events, work groups and other venues. Active patrol in our cities and townships also provides an opportunity for interactions with people throughout the county. These interactions build trust and allow for a mutual exchange of information that can bring awareness to local concerns and help us do our jobs more effectively. Interactions with city and township officials are another important way to stay aware of local concerns. Our focus on community relations is to maintain relationships and to expand and create new relationships throughout the county.

The purpose of traffic enforcement is to make travelling in our county safe. Enforcing traffic laws protects people from loss of life, injuries, and property damage. Enforcing all traffic statutes on our roads is important and we are focusing on traffic offenses such as speed, inattentive driving, stop sign violations and following too closely. Statutorily these offenses are considered minor offenses, but statistically, they lead to most crashes. Enforcement efforts also provide an opportunity to educate drivers regarding current laws. Similar efforts will be a focus on our lakes to keep them safe and enjoyable for all that use them.

Reducing domestic violence gives victims and families a chance to have healthy and stable relationships. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office promotes this through active enforcement of domestic violence laws and ensuring that victims are aware of the services available to them. Deputies work hard to take immediate action that protects all victims. Our plan is to continue to take action by making follow-up visits and/or phone calls to victims. This provides an opportunity to receive additional information and to make certain victims feel safe pursuing services they may need. We will continue to receive training and collaborate with local work groups to enhance the services we can provide. We have already seen positive differences in this area.

Making the public aware of these plans helps the Douglas County Sheriff's Office achieve its goal. We can all work together to make a positive difference in people's lives and our community.

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"In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.