This week our city hosted a ribbon-cutting event for the new office space of the Hartsville Safe Communities program, located at 710-H S. Fifth St. At the event, citizens had the opportunity to meet with members of the Hartsville Police Department and our Community Outreach Division. Manned by Lt. Tenyonde Richardson and the Community Liaison Officer, Jacqueline Gillard-Wright, Hartsville Safe Communities aims to put a face to law enforcement in the area and continue forging positive relationships between the community and police.

Hartsville Safe Communities is a result of a partnership with Hartsville Police Department and the Hartsville Safe Communities Action Team. Several community events have been hosted by Hartsville Safe Communities, including multiple “Coffee with A Cop” morning programs, to facilitate positive personal relationships between community members and the officers who help protect them.

Along with participation in upcoming events like National Night Out, these efforts are part of the Hartsville Police Department’s commitment to community-oriented policing. We focus on reaching out to residents because we know that assistance from the public helps us do our jobs better.

We have a nearly full police force; thirty-six members and we’re looking for one more. The men and women of the Hartsville Police Department have a simple goal in everything they do: make residents safer. Part of our job is to identify problem areas that interfere with that security, and make sure these areas get extra attention. Another part of our job is to reach out to our residents and make sure we are not strangers to them. By establishing and reinforcing trust with the public, we hope to improve the lives of those that call Hartsville home.

Talk to our officers when you bump into them, give us a call, or come by to see us. Our number is 843-383-3011 and our office is at 135 W. Carolina Ave. We can always use what ideas and information you have. We need and welcome citizen input on suspicious activity. Don’t wait to call us. We could have officers ready to respond in the area. Do not hesitate; it is not a bother to us. Look out for your neighbors and stay observant. Work with us.

Help us by taking simple steps to prevent crime, specifically property theft. One of our main concerns this summer has been people leaving valuables in unlocked cars. We need residents to exercise more caution. Remember to lock doors. Be sure to lock important items, like electronics, jewelry and firearms, in the trunk of vehicles.

Every day I am honored by the support my department receives as your public servants. Let’s try to do even more to support each other. Get in touch with us whenever you would like, and help us build a better Hartsville.

Jerry Thompson is the Police Chief of the Hartsville Police Department.