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Safety to be focus of sheriff's town hall meeting in Dearing

Dearing residents will have the opportunity to speak their minds during a Town Hall meeting next Wednesday. McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall, Maj. Ronnie Williamson, Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley and all Dearing Council members will be present to talk and listen to the citizens.

"It is a chance for the community to come out and meet all of us, voice their concerns and ask questions," Mayor Kelley said.

The meeting will be the first in what the sheriff hopes to be a series of meetings that will address the growing national trend of violent and non-violent crime and involve local citizens with law enforcement to prevent it before it rises in the local community.

Maj. Williamson said the sheriff's department used to have a full-time deputy in Dearing, and "we hate that we can no longer do that." When the major spoke to Mayor Kelley about the idea of a Town Hall meeting, he said the Mayor "jumped right on it," and secured a location for the event.

"We care about them. ... They have that Neighborhood Watch program down there, plus their willingness to always help and their support ... and ooh, are we thankful he got the school auditorium. That is great," Maj. Williamson said.

The major said he is looking for other locations throughout the county, "any place that is convenient to the people," to hold more meetings.

Maj. Williamson said at the meeting, he and the sheriff will examine how forming partnerships with social service agencies, religious organizations and community members can help residents create change and implement solutions.

"We are trying to plan for growth," he said.

Free firearm locks will also be distributed at the meeting.

Maj. Williamson said they are looking to prevent any more tragedies of accidental shootings, especially among children.

"I am pleased that the sheriff's department chose Dearing as the first place to hold its town hall meeting," said Councilman Kristopher Wells. "We look forward to working closely with the sheriff's department, and I hope there is a big turnout from people across the south end of the county who are interested in sharing their concerns."

The meeting will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19 in the Dearing Elementary School auditorium.

Web posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007

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