Category Archives: Gaston County Police

Gaston’s Opioid Issue

SEABROOK SAYS:  To Gaston County residents: You, like most, are unaware of Gaston’s problems with opiate abuse and addiction.  It is bad.  We rank #5 in North Carolina behind Mecklenburg County, which is #1.  Read on, become aware and weep. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Initially, when the news started trickling out that Gaston County was one of the worst counties in North Carolina for opiate abuse and addiction, I sensed that many of my fellow residents were as unaware as I of just how deadly the epidemic was.  As we have begun to educate ourselves, the news has become pretty grim.  Consider this sobering statistic from the Gaston Gazette.

Gaston County remains one of the top counties in the state for heroin overdose deaths, ranking fifth in the total number of such deaths from 1999 to 2014.  Seventy five people in that time period have died from heroin overdoses, putting Gaston County behind only state-leading Mecklenburg (175), Wake (109), Guilford (103) and New Hanover (97).

When reading the stats and figures , remember we are talking about someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, child or spouse.  Opiate addiction does not discriminate and has permeated every race and social/economic demographic in Gaston County.  In fact, one of the quickest growing demographic is white, middle class women.  Whether or not we are aware, we all know someone who is struggling with this form of addiction.

How do we combat the crisis in Gaston?  Fortunately, we have some of the finest law enforcement agencies and some of the most knowledgeable addiction specialist, doctors, social workers and clinicians in the state.

The DDAT (Drug Diversion and Treatment) program initiated by Chief Ramey (Gaston County Police Department) has blossomed into an all hands on deck approach to not only assist those who are addicted, but work to keep them sober with short and long term goals and programs.  They correctly understand that we will not be able to incarcerate our way out of this epidemic.

Our Sheriff has partnered with CaroMont Health to provide over 500 doses of Narcan (a lifesaving drug that when administered can literally bring someone back from the brink) and is ensuring the proper training for GEMS and local deputies.

Our Gastonia City Police are also training their deputies on the use of Narcan and have been actively working with the DDAT program as well as increasing their arrests of major drug traffickers in the Gastonia.

Phoenix Counseling and other groups such as Gaston Controlled Substance Coalition, Partners Behavioral Health and the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services have also stepped up and initiated training programs, public awareness events and treatment programs to address the epidemic.

And still we need to do more.  We are making headway and lives are being saved, but as I talk with legal and clinical experts and recovering addicts; this struggle is far from over.

Gaston County has much to be proud of – we are ahead of many NC localities that are still trying to assess and respond to the crisis.  What is critical now is more community involvement and awareness.

Faith leaders can help by opening their doors for community discussions and allowing recovery groups to meet free of cost.  There is a real need for more ALANON and NARCANON groups to be formed and facilitated by trained staff.  This could be a real asset to the community.

Local schools (public and private) need to formulate or update drug deterrent programs that address the troubling rise in youth addiction and abuse of opiates.  Young adults are quickly becoming one of the most vulnerable demographics of opioid abuse.

Finally, all of us can help by talking to our friends and family about the dangers of abusing opiates, discarding and storing medications properly and the rise in heroin addiction.  Be aware, educate yourselves, form community watch groups and take care of one another.

Like any other crisis that has come our way , Gaston County can and will rise to the challenge.  What will determine the speed at which we gain the upper hand will be equal to the amount our local communities come together to help.  This is your community and our challenge.  Let’s meet this challenge together.  Are you ready?

Robert J Kellogg

Gastonia City Council (Ward 1)

 

 

 

 

The Golden Rule

SEABROOK SAYS:  It’s quite likely that very few in Gaston are aware of the teaching, training and work that go into the job of sheriff.  Here are comments on what works for Sheriff Cloninger.  NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

I can remember as a child my mother, Mary Jo Cloninger, teaching me the Golden Rule, which is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” She had to use a “hickory switch” to emphasize the value of the Golden Rule on me. But as I have matured, I have come to appreciate these simple words.

Since having the honor to be the Sheriff of Gaston County, I have made the Golden Rule part of our philosophy at the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. In my interviews with new employees, we discuss the Golden Rule and its value in serving the citizens of our county. I explain that we should treat everyone as we would want our own mother, father, brother or sister treated by any other Sheriff’s Office personnel in the same situation. It is my belief, that if my employees and I will try our best to follow the Golden Rule, then we will better serve the citizens of our county. Hopefully, we will reduce complaints and dissatisfaction with the jobs that we perform for the public.

But just take a moment and think what the effect would be on Gaston County if all of us just tried every day to follow the Golden Rule. Would we not have less conflicts and have a greater respect for one another? Would there not be a significant decrease in crime? Would Gaston County not become the greatest place in the world to live and raise a family?

I hope all of us will try to make Gaston County the envy of the whole world by trying to live everyday by the Golden Rule. We need to encourage all our friends, family and acquaintances to try to live by this rule also!

Alan Cloninger
Sheriff, Gaston County

Inside the Blue Line

SEABROOK SAYS: Jennifer Davis is a Gaston native who retired from IBM. Now she is a very successful consultant serving clients in Gaston, Mecklenburg and other area counties. She is very actively helping find solutions for the common good. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Working with law enforcement was never on my bucket list. But, for the past 22 years or so, I have had the privilege of going “inside the blue line” and being bathed in blue.  It may not have been on my list, but I have found it to be the most rewarding and frustrating thing I’ve ever done.  In those 22 years, I have been fortunate to work with dozens of agencies from here to California, often in some not so pleasant times

My initiation into working with cops came during a time of tension and unrest within a department and the community it served. I was asked to explore some issues with their employees, compile results and information, and make recommendations to address.  I had no idea what to expect and, I must say, was pleasantly surprised with the results.  As a result of that experience, I forged relationships and friendships with officers that are still intact today….including the detectives who were assigned to us when our son, Sean, died.  For me, this work is personal.

Despite the negative news that often captivates us, the vast majority of the men and women who choose to wear the uniform are some of the finest people I know. The overwhelming majority of them are kind, caring, men and women who feel “called” to this profession to “serve and protect” – especially for  who cannot protect or care for themselves.

I’m not so naïve to believe all cops are good. I’ve met a few that I felt needed to quit, die, or retire.  But, neither are all teachers, preachers, lawyers, managers, consultants….well, you get the picture…. good. As a consultant, I go where I am invited.  Better yet, I get to decide whether or not to accept the invitation.  Police go where they are called and not going is just not an option.  Often their sense of value and appreciation must come from within themselves.  Other than our military, who else  that straps on pounds of gear and equipment every day, runs toward  threats, danger, and unpredictable situations, sometimes only to find themselves being targeted, resisted, shot at or cursed.

Recently, the Gaston County Citizens and Clergy Coalition (GC3) and Gaston County law enforcement entered into a covenant committing  to “work together across lines of race, creed, class, gender, and location” to create and maintain a stronger and better community.  For us average citizens who have high expectations for our officers, it means we commit to work for and with them to ensure they are properly paid, trained, and equipped to keep our communities safe.  It also means we do what we can to expose and remove from the profession those who do not honor their oath.  For officers, it means they pledged to uphold their oath of office to support and maintain the laws of our state and nation.  Together it means we will have stronger, better, and safer communities, places where we are all proud to live and work.

What can we as average citizens say or do? Respect the badge; say “thank you” to a cop; pay for a meal or a cup of coffee once in a while; pray daily for them and their safety; honor them in your churches and organizations; address negative stereotypes and generalities when you hear them; identify and encourage men and women who may be interested in this noble profession; and, sign your name to the covenant, when given the opportunity.

I am often reminded of an officer’s response to me when I asked “why, in this day and time, do you want to be a cop?”    His answer:  “I want to be in a place where doing the right thing is the right thing to do.”

Shouldn’t we all.

Jennifer_Davis 1

Jennifer Davis

 

Jennifer Davis
Human Resources Professional
Jennifer P Davis & Associates, LLC