HOGANSVILLE, Ga. (WRBL) – Hogansville Police Chief, Jeffrey Sheppard, was sworn in a week ago and has established changes in the department. During his time as interim chief and now as chief, Sheppard has created a citizens advisory board, a senior care program and has overseen many community events. The police department now hosts blood drives and free CPR training, is involved in afterschool programs and will begin a citizens police academy.
Sheppard’s goal is to eliminate the barrier between the police and the citizens.
“It is really important that people see us as more than an occupier which is what a lot of cities see their police departments as. We want to be seen more as your neighbors, we are the people that the citizens of Hogansville depend on to keep them safe so they don’t have to go out and do their own policing,” said Sheppard.
Sir Robert Peel once said, “The Community is the Police and the Police are the Community”, a quote Sheppard holds at the center of his community initiative. Sheppard believes the police department works under the authority of the community and works to serve them so the community does not have to serve itself.
Sheppard encourages his officers to ride around the community and introduce themselves to everyone including children and business owners. He said his goal is not to make them feel as if they are being watched but to have the community be comfortable around the officers.
“The community as a whole has really embraced what we’re trying to do here. It has created more resources for us because these community members, now they want to come in and be a part of what we’re doing,” said Sheppard.
Jody Neighbors, the Executive Director for the Hogansville Housing Authority, said she has noticed the police presence in the community. She said the police department circles around the housing authority almost daily and the residents have grown accustomed to seeing them.
“They do have a good response when we do call them for emergencies and they ride through our property. They have a good repoire with our residents in our community,” said Neighbors.