The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office opened their doors to visitors last week when they hosted an open house event during National Police Week. The gathering allowed Sheriff Peter Dougherty to officially welcome the community, to present some awards of recognition and to allow his officers to demonstrate some of the skills they use in their day-to-day professional career.
Dougherty took the opportunity to present certificates of excellence to two officers, Cpl. Dustin Tabler and Cpl. Vincent Tiong. The two were ranked among the top 50 officers in the state for the most DUI arrests.
According to Dougherty, of the 123 DUI arrests made by the department in 2012, Tiong made 32 arrests while Tabler was responsible for 47 of those arrests. .Dougherty, along with County Commissioner Dale Manuel, took the time to commend the two officers and thank them for their service to the community.
Sgt. R. Sell explains the use of goggles which allow the wearer to experience what it feels like driving under the influence of alcohol. This was one of several demonstrations given at the recent open house at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the awards presentation, members of the SWAT team, which is made up of officers from all local departments, shared an example of how they handle a case and go about securing a potential crime scene and apprehending suspects.
In addition to the "classroom" explanation given regarding procedures by the SWAT Team, guests were treated to several demonstrations done by the county's K-9 units. Deputy G.W. Kilmer shared with attendees how the dogs are trained to listen both verbally and via hand commands to their trainers.
One K-9 demonstrated a drug search. Drugs had been hidden in a vehicle and the dog was instructed to find them. Upon locating the drugs, the dog simply sits by the car. Kilmer said that for the drug to be released, the drugs must actually be found by the human partner. The dog is then released and given a treat or toy.
Kilmer also donned protective gear so that Officer Michael Armentrout, Harpers Ferry Police Department, could show how his K-9 partner apprehends a potential criminal. The dog would not release until Armentrout gave the command to do so.
Following the K-9 demonstrations, Officer Tiong called for a volunteer to don "drunk goggles" to experience a DUI traffic stop. County Commissioner Patsy Noland stepped up and was subsequently "pulled over" and put through the protocol of a DUI stop, all while wearing the goggles. Noland was asked to walk a straight line, which she could not accomplish, as well as submit to a breath test. Others interested in testing out the goggles were encouraged to do so.
Dougherty said that he was pleased with the turnout at the Police Week event, a first for the department.
President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962. That week later became known as National Police Week. Celebrations and demonstrations similar to Jefferson's are held throughout the country are gatherings of multiple police at national events.