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Sheriff’s department earns community policing award

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Denton County Sheriff’s deputies Leslie Willingham, Charley Smith, Penny Campbell and Bob Hargenrater, of the Community Policing Unit were recognized by the Texas Crime Prevention Association for their outreach efforts.
Denton County Sheriff’s deputies Leslie Willingham, Charley Smith, Penny Campbell and Bob Hargenrater, of the Community Policing Unit were recognized by the Texas Crime Prevention Association for their outreach efforts.

The Denton County Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Unit was recently recognized by the Texas Crime Prevention Association (TCPA) for its outreach efforts.

The Community Policing Unit was awarded the Outstanding Crime Prevention Agency – Large Agency-population 250,000+, after review of their presentation by the TCPA Award nomination committee. The committee reviewed submissions from all agencies in the state of Texas.

The Community Policing Unit operates the Stay Safe Program which was expanded to meet the increased needs of population growth in rural Denton County school districts.

The Juvenile Impact Program girls’ program was rewritten to focus on the specific needs of at-risk girls.

Community service deputies helped several Denton County neighborhood crime watch groups network together to set up drive-by locations to gather donated items needed to support the battered women’s shelter in Denton.

In addition, a Christmas toy drive provided enough toys for a year’s worth of children’s Christmas and birthday presents for the women’s shelter.

A food donation program was created from the abandoned commissary food items that were unclaimed by inmates released from the jail. The total amount of food items delivered to Denton County charities equaled over 1700 pounds.

Community Services Deputies also began a coin drive in area schools for the Peace Officer Angel Foundation. The organization provides funding for the unmet needs of injured law enforcement officers.

This was the inaugural year of Denton County’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program, and the first group of VIPS graduated from the training program in May. Volunteers are already active in many areas of Denton County.

The deputies also worked to bring specialized training for law enforcement and civilian groups on the topics of Church Safety, Active Shooter Training, and Forensic Art.

In addition, forensic art services were provided to 16 law enforcement agencies in the DFW area. The composite drawings currently have a 70-percent identification/solve rate.

“We are extremely proud of our Community Policing Unit. These deputies spend hours preparing and presenting programs that help us connect with the communities within the county. Community interaction is a crucial part of our mission, and these officers make that possible,” said Sheriff Will Travis.

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