Meet and Greet with Chief of Police Candidates

Tuesday, April 18th the City Hall was packed with community members and police officers eager to meet the Chief of Police Candidates. Mayor of Sylvester, Bill Yearta welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming out to support the Chief of Police Candidates. Council Member, Randy Hill led the invocation.

The first candidate was Ms. Karen Anderson. She served as Major with the Dekalb County Police Department. Anderson has been policing for 33 years, 25 of which was with Atlanta where she retired. She was proud to say that she was responsible for 150 officers at the Georgia Dome for events which she felt like she had led them well. Those events can be very difficult to lead and maintain but she stated all went well with the great officers that she had under her. Anderson was a part of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta where she worked the Volleyball Venue not far from where the bomb exploded. That was a night I am sure she will never forget but Police Officers like Anderson was able to handle this situation in a manner to be proud of. Anderson has her Master’s in Public Relations and is working on her Doctorate.

The second candidate was Anson Evans. He served as Chief of Police at the Jeffersonville Police Department which is East of Macon. He retired in 2014 with 29 years of Military and retired in 2015 with 29 years in Law Enforcement. He has a degree in Criminal Justice. Evans has been a part of many obstacles and situations over the 29 years in both careers, some of which he can not mention due to the confidentiality of the military. He was proud to say that he had been a part of the Homeland Security as a Sergeant and has been part of many special projects. He was honored to say that he served as a leader in starting a gang unit which is a very needed unit. Evans stated that he had traveled the world with the military and was blessed to meet his wife while doing so. He laughed and said that he had to learn to speak Spanish to her though because he knew he would want to eat. Crowd all responded with laughs. We all understand that in South Georgia, we love to eat!

After the candidates both introduced themselves then Mr. Jason Armstrong with Albany State University served as the Moderator. Both candidates were asked five questions which were the same to each candidate. The candidates did not know the questions prior to them being asked. Below are the questions and answers given by each candidate.

1. Tell us about your interest in Sylvester. What is motivating you to pursue a new position here in Southwest Georgia?

Anderson:
She stated that she talked to people in the community both adults and youth on one of her few visits to Sylvester. While on one of her stops here, she saw some youth that had a shirt on that said “Dare”. She asked them if they were in the Dare program and they looked down at their shirts and explained to Anderson that it was a church group they were a part of that encouraged them to “Dare to be me”. She was thrilled to see that this was being taught in local churches. Anderson also mentioned the she attended Georgia Southern which brought her to South Georgia. She believes that Sylvester is a great fit for her. Anderson is super excited about Sylvester being the Peanut Capitol of the World, that Peter Pan Peanut Butter is located here and to attend the Peanut Festival and the Peanut Pickin’ 100 Mile Yard Sale.

Evans:
After retiring, Evans stated that he has looked for a place to call home, a place that he can write books about and he believes that Sylvester is that place. He stated that growing up his parents taught him that if he wanted something, to claim it and it will be his and he is hoping and praying that Sylvester will be the place he can call home. Community is everything to Evans he stated. He stated living in Sylvester would be him a little closer to Tampa and that is where his daughter lives. Evans stated that in his military career he was a warrior and instead of being a warrior now, he desires to be a guarder. He wants to use all his resources and give a peace of mind to all home owners. Evans referred to wanting Sylvester to be like the Andy Griffith Show, where everyone knows everyone and crime is down low. The crowd laughed and agreed.

2. Please explain your philosophy of community engagement. How do you intend as the Chief to engage the citizens of Sylvester?

Evans:
He stated that he planned to utilize social media to engage the citizens. He wants things posted on twitter, facebook and neighborhood watch teams so that the community can see what’s happening. Evans stated that he would like to involve citizens in the police work so that they had a better understanding of how things worked in a police environment. He also feels that a police department should have a recruitment plan. Evans believes that you get that by involving the youth from the ages of 14-18, keeping a positive image and having visibility in the community.

Anderson:
She believes in building trust within the community. She wants to be able to meet with the community, businesses, NAACP, Lions Club, etc along with meeting with the youth. She also thinks a citizen’s police academy to change the perception of the community is needed. Anderson said she definitely wants a faith based program. She also believes social media is needed to produce good stories. She wants to use it to keep people informed but wants the good stories out there too. She feels like the police department is the one to control their own stories. Anderson feels that connecting sooner than later is the best way to do.

3. If selected, what would be your goals and approach for your first month on the job? First year? How do you plan to accomplish these goals?

Anderson:
She stated that the first month she would take to make an assessment. She would like to meet with as many people as she can. She would also like to look at a plan to reduce crime, check on complaints and deficiencies and take a look at the policy and procedures. She did not plan to make any big changes unless they were needed. Within the year, Anderson stated she would like to formulate the direction of her vision and find the best way to move Sylvester forward.

Evans:
He too stated that the first month he would take to make an assessment. He would like to find out what is exactly going on within the department and the community. He would like to talk to the officers and find out what their thoughts are. He believes in holding people accountable. Evans stated that he would definitely want to look at the budget to see any short falls because reducing the budget is a major goal of his. He also wants to take a look at the technology used and do a crime analysis. Evans plans to build a 5 year strategic plan. At the closing of this question, Evans stated that he does want the community to participate in surveys because he feels the community is the report card for the police department.

4. Ethical standards in any profession are important; however, the law enforcement profession is built upon public trust. Therefore, what steps are you prepared to take to ensure that members of the department not only adhere to the Canon of Ethics for Law Enforcement Officers but promote a culture of ethical integrity within the department?

Evans:
He replied quickly that he was responsible for 7,000 troops at one time and he had to build their trust so he understands that for sure. He feels the way to build trust is to get out and talk to people. Anderson stated that if any of the officers had issues with their ability to do the job, they can be sent for training. He wants the community to be proud of Sylvester.

Anderson:
She believes in Ethics and Integrity. She also believes in doing the right thing! Anderson wants to follow up on complaints with internal affairs. She plans to take a look at the policy and procedures within the police department. Training is very important to her so she will make sure officers have training. Without any question she stated, the department would work ethically and professionally. Anderson’s motto is that she will inspect what she expects but that she will not micro-manage.

5. Please provide your experience with budgeting. How do you intend to meet the operational needs of the department, yet ensure fiscal integrity?

Anderson:
She has had experience with a 1.5 million dollar budget. The way she operates she stated is that the department heads justify the budgets to her and she justifies them to the city manager. She stated that she plans to write grants when needed because she has experience in writing grants. Anderson stated that there are grants available from federal, GEMA and the state for technology. She also stated that she would like to work with companies and businesses that would like to be sponsors to purchase bullet proof vests, etc.

Evans:
He has had experience with a 2.5 million dollar budget and while in the military he had a 30 million dollar budget to manage. He is constantly looking for ways to save money. Evans stated that it seemed that Sylvester and Worth County was becoming a popular place for tornadoes so in case of emergencies such as that, he would like to be able to use other agencies and officers to help on the street during emergencies. Another way he feels that he can save money is to get rid of old cars that are costing more in repair and to purchase cars that are cheaper in gas. Evans wants to have an outlook of where he and the department wants to be so they can work as a team to get there.

We at The Martin News hopes this helps enlighten you to what the candidates had to say about why they would like join the Sylvester Police Department.

One Year Cancer Free

With all the worries of today, this little boy is worry free! And not to forget to mention he is Cancer FREE too! Logan Lee, son of John and Donna Lee is now one year cancer free. Look at that precious smile! A smile worth having for sure. His mom did say there were a few obstacles to go through with some minor health issues that are sometimes caused from chemo but she stated they could handle that any day with a diagnosis of Cancer Free. As most of you have been doing, I have been following this little boy through out this journey He has been on many prayer lists and prayer chains. God is SO good! Logan is also super excited about his Make A Wish trip. Logan made a wish to go to Legoland/Disney and that is exactly what he and his family will be doing. Logan’s mother said she wanted to say a BIG thank you to the Make A Wish Volunteers who is making that day and trip extra special for Logan. Logan, The Martin News hopes you and your family have a great time!

Easter Basket Give Away

Congratulations to Mrs. Sandy Holt on winning the Easter Basket given away by the City of Sylvester Main Street and Downtown Developmental Authority. Pictured with Mrs. Holt is Chloe Holbrook, Main Street Director. The basket was full with about $600 worth of goodies donated by the downtown businesses. Thank you to the businesses that donated, to those who shopped downtown and to the City of Sylvester for a great give away!

Painting With Friends

Need some fun adult time for a few hours once a month? You would love to attend the painting class that is offered at the Margaret Jones Public Library. The class is $10 per person. Allison Kilcrease leads the class and teaches you beautiful ways to paint the specific canvas print for that class. I have seen many different designs that has been done at the classes and they are beautiful! You do not have to be an artist to go to the class. She will help you in any way that you may need. My sister has attended a class and said that if you make a mistake that Allison will help you fix it in no time. Now this class is for adults both men and women but not for children however from time to time she does a mother and child paint class so be sure to stay tuned the Margaret Jones Public Library facebook page for more details.

Lunch & Learn Scheduled at The Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce

No matter what job we are doing in life, we always have room to learn and improve. Thanks to the Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce, they aim to help us with that! The Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce holds a Small Business Lunch and Learn usually every quarter. The Lunch and Learns are offered to anyone. They are free to members and $15 for non-members. We at The Martin News have been to a few of them and enjoy them immensely. We take away much knowledge from the events. The topic for this Lunch and Learn is “How to build your Chamber Mini Web Page and optimize your Chamber Directory Listing”. As a member of the Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce, you have a mini web page and the chamber staff wants to make sure we are utilizing it the best we can. The Guest Speaker for this Lunch and Learn is Josh Beckstrom, The Sylvester Computer. Josh plays a very vital role with The Martin News and we could not make it without him. He built our website, www.themartinnews.com and helps to maintain and manage it monthly. He has also helped us with the mini web page so we are eager to go and learn from him at this event. You are also encouraged to bring your laptop that can use Wi-Fi and your Chamber log in information. The event is scheduled for May 11, 2017 at the Sylvester– Worth County Chamber of Commerce located at 122 North Main Street in Sylvester. Registration begins at 11:30 am and the presentation begins at 12noon. The Chamber President/CEO, Karen Rackley encourages everyone to join the event too learn more. In the sessions, they will discuss how you can utilize and build your free mini web page and optimize your directory listing. I am super excited about this Lunch and Learn! I encourage you if you are a member, take advantage of this event. If you are not a member, please try and join us. You will not want to miss it. If you have any questions or need further information, please call the Sylvester– Worth County Chamber of Commerce at 229-776-7718. We hope to see you all there.

~ Dates to Remember ~

April

17th ~ WCES Book Fair
18th ~ Books and Bubbles at the Margaret Jones Public Library
18th ~ Born to Make Music Chorus Program at WCPS
18th ~ WCMS Parent Football Meeting 6pm
18th ~ WCES Book Fair
19th ~ WCES Book Fair
19th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting
20th ~ Book Discussion Group at The Margaret Jones Public Library
20th ~ Annual Health Fair at Shipp Senior Center 9:30-11:30
20th ~ WCES Book Fair
21st ~ WCES Book Fair
21st ~ Outdoor Family Movie Night at WCES
21st ~ Purple Up for Military Kids—WCPS– Wear Purple
21st ~ Purple Up for Military Kids—WCES– Wear Purple
21st ~ Purple Up for Military Kids—WCMS– Wear Purple
22nd ~ “Bring in Spring” at Campbell Place from Noon to 3 pm in Camilla
24th ~ Georgia Cities Week
24th ~ WCMS Cheerleading Tryouts 3:30-5 WCMS Gym
25th ~ Georgia Cities Week
25th ~ WCMS Cheerleading Tryouts 3:30-5 WCMS Gym
25th ~ Books and Bubbles at the Margaret Jones Public Library
26th ~ Georgia Cities Week
26th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting
26th ~ WCMS Cheerleading Tryouts 3:30-5 WCMS Gym
27th ~ WCMS Cheerleading Tryouts 3:30-5 WCMS Gym
27th ~ Georgia Cities Week
27th ~ Worth County Cancer Survivors Dinner
27th ~ City of Sylvester Council Meeting 7pm
28th ~ Georgia Cities Week
28th ~ Pre-K Field Day at WCPS
29th ~ Georgia Cities Week

*** Email your questions or event listings to info@themartinnews.com and we will get them listed on the calendar ***

WCHS Donates Check to Lights of Love, Phoebe Worth Cancer Center

Selena Dawson, Educator at Worth County High School was filled with excitement to present a check to Mandy Gordon of Phoebe Worth Medical Center and Christie Burger, Volunteer with Worth County Cancer Coalition on Thursday, April 13th. The money donated was collected by the teachers when they paid to wear jeans as a fundraiser. This fundraiser is held by many businesses to use as a dress down day and raise money for an organization and that is exactly what WCHS did. All those that donated to the dress down fundraiser were donating their money to benefit Lights of Love, Phoebe Worth Cancer Center. There is no longer a county by county Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society but because Worth County has so many cancer survivors and needs right here in our county, Phoebe Worth Medical Center and the Worth County Cancer Coalition have teamed up to continue to raise money and recognize those battling cancer. The first of the festivities were held in December with the Lights of Love tree ceremony being held at Phoebe Worth Medical Center. Money raised from that event stayed right here in our county to help provide televisions at the Oncology Department. How wonderful is that! Keeping money in our county and be able to help our own is a blessing. The next festivity will be on Thursday, April 27th at 6pm which is the Annual Survivors Dinner and Luminary Service. The event will be held at First Baptist Church. Everyone is extremely excited to have all the monies stay right here in Worth County. They will be using the Phoebe Foundation as a guide. Thank you again to WCHS for your donation and to Phoebe Worth Medical Center and Worth County Cancer Coalition for all of your hard work to make all the great things happen for our cancer survivors. They are WORTH it! Pictured above L-R is Christie Burger– Volunteer with Worth County Cancer Coalition, Mandy Gordon– Human Resources Business Partner at Phoebe Worth Medical Center, Selena Dawson-Educator at WCHS and Harley Calhoun– Principal at WCHS

WCPS Class Says Thank You to the Veterans

Mrs. Tison’s morning group at Worth County Primary School sent thank you cards to the Georgia Honor Flight group to be given to Veterans at mail call on their flight home. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill. They liked the cards that WCPS sent so much that they called and requested that the students make more so that there would be enough for every Veteran on the trip to receive one. They sent a nice thank you letter and a copy of a book from one of their trips to Mrs. Tison’s class. The students felt very honored to be able to do something for our Veterans! Job well done to Mrs. Tison and her students. What a wonderful way to show appreciation to the Veterans.
Source: WCSD Facebook Page

Contest Time with The Martin News

Ready for another give away? The Martin News is giving away an Easter Basket Full of Goodies on April 14th. We are EXCITED!! All you have to do to enter is guess the number that has been chosen from 1-1000. Send your guess to lmanley1210@gmail.com with your name and place of employment. The winner will be either who guesses the number correctly or gets the closest without going over. If there is more than one that guesses correctly, we will draw out of those names for the winner. Be sure to get your guesses in! We LOVE giving away prizes here at The Martin News!