Special Program Update: Creating a Safer Upstate – Sheriff Rick Clark & Stinson Ferguson

    You can view a recording of the meeting here and the presentation here.

    Last year a steering committee was created with representatives across the Upstate from law enforcement, non-profits, clergy, citizens, and business leaders. Questions to address included what does a safer Upstate look Like? Who has the power to create a safer Upstate? How do we move forward? How do we engage non-English speakers? How do we capture the voices of young people? What information do we need? What are the barriers to success?

    Three goals were recommended with one subcommittee to work on each:

    Goal #1: Engage law enforcement officials, community leaders and residents to work together to build healthy working relationships that elevate mutual respect, value cultural differences, and acknowledge the roles and responsibilities that each play in creating safer Upstate Communities.

    Goal #2: Provide regular opportunities for law enforcement and community leaders to convene to discuss community issues and emerging law enforcement topics while exploring approaches that can be implemented across the Upstate Region.

    Goal #3: Enhance public trust by documenting, sharing and implementing best practice approaches for developing a sustainable, healthy relationship between law enforcement officials and the greater Upstate Community.

    Police Department Community Outreach Survey – Chief Matt Hamby

    As part of Goal #1, this subcommittee created a Police Community Engagement Survey. Please see the presentation for survey results:

    • The Safer Upstate Task Force created a survey asking about police community engagement that was sent out to 57 police departments and sheriff’s offices in Upstate South Carolina.
    • We received responses from 28 police departments and 4 sheriff’s offices.
    • We received a response from at least one department in all 10 counties in the Upstate.

    Chief Hamby shared community engagement opportunities in Greer including summer youth camps, Fist Bump Fridays at schools, Citizens Academies, and National Nights Out. Chief Hamby encouraged agencies to request funding for community engagement. With the Greer budget of $4,000, they can engage many members of their community and build healthy relationships.

    Tri-County Outreach Efforts and Community Meetings – Jacquelyn Blakley

    Tri-County Tech, in conjunction with Clemson University and the Creating a Safer Upstate committee, has developed Community Leader Forums:

    • Partners: Tri-County, Clemson University and Creating a Safer Upstate
    • Attendees: Community leaders and law enforcement in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties
    • Goal: Build trust and develop healthy, sustainable relationships

    Forums will include:

    • Roundtable Discussion
      • Police training and credentials
      • Community engagement
      • Neighborhood safety concerns
      • Policing policies
      • Other topics

    Announcement of Community Safety Virtual Workshop Series – Kim Kegler

    Beyond the Shield:
    Perceptions, Realities & Community Concerns Around “Hot Button” Public Safety Issues

    Each one-hour virtual session will include law enforcement officers and community leaders discussing elements of policing and how to build a collaborative understanding and dialogue around the issues, concerns and opportunities to create a Safer Upstate.

    Creating a Safer Upstate Committee Initiatives – Stan Davis

    Group #1 will move forward with a focus on data with a template to share information and include community engagement opportunities. Group #2 is pulling together programs to create awareness. Group #3 has taken the before-school engagement activities and piloted the concept around the Upstate with 11 schools visited at the end of the school year and a positive news story by Fox 21 as a result. The efforts of the committees will expand the role that residents play and continue to share best practices.

    Resource Update – Billy Crank, LEAD Upstate

    • Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD) started with Seabrook Marchant buying breakfast for officers at Tommy’s Ham House and grew to an annual sit-down breakfast the Westin Poinsett Hotel.
    • Due to COVID, a drive through line was set up last year, providing 450 breakfasts and goody bags in 2020
    • The goal of LEAD Upstate is to bridge the local community and law enforcement together in the name of appreciation and gratitude.
    • LEAD Upstate provides an opportunity for residents to say thank you to all law enforcement personnel in Greenville County, including Greenville, Greer, Traveler’s Rest, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn.
    • Our sponsors are honored to host this event and participate by serving breakfast and handing out prizes.