Community Watch & Emergency Services 7/17/14

A special thank you to Sgt. Butch Clarke, County Sheriff’s Department,  and Chief Mike Tapp, New Hope Volunteer Fire Department, for speaking at the NHIA Community Center about community safety and the return of an ambulance squad in the New Hope community.

Chief Mike Tapp gave an update on the NHVFD and emergency services:

  1. A new fire truck was added to the New Hope Fire Station. The department applied for grants and negotiated a 0% loan which saved the taxpayers $27K off the initial cost estimate.
  2. An Orange County Emergency Services ambulance will soon be physically located at New Hope Fire Station 2 on NC Highway 86 during peak hours (1pm-1am) to reduce emergency response time for the New Hope area.  This area last housed an EMS unit (Orange County Rescue Services) in 1977.  The Orange County ambulances have been expanded since then from 4 to 7 as the county grew.  We are excited that EMS will soon have a home base to our area.
  3. Possible emergency shelter designation is being investigated for the NHIA Community Center.  There is currently a generator hook-up, portable generator and a full kitchen that could be utilized in event of power outages usually associated with area ice storms.  Proposal is under discussion with the Emergency Service Director.

Sgt. Butch Clarke spoke about several safety services that the Orange County Sherriff’s Office provides.  Among these were:

  1. Neighborhood Community Watch and the importance of citizen’s watching out for their neighbors.  He encouraged people to call  911 for ANY suspicious activity  and let the Sheriff’s Department decide if it is an emergency.  Break-in rates are trending down on an annual basis for the past 3 years.  Thieves are targeting electronics, jewelry and guns.  Citizens  are encouraged to record serial numbers and mark or photograph their valuables of easier identification in case of theft.   Simple steps to deter thieves include:
  • Make your house look occupied by  leaving lights/radio on,
  • Lock house and car doors
  • Use deadbolt locks
  • Don’t hide a key outside
  • Brace sliding glass doors
  • Install good exterior lighting
  • Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed
  • Stop mail and paper deliveries or get a neighbor to collect
  • Get a dog
  • Install an alarm

New Community Watch signs are blue and white and are available for purchase.  Old green signs can be replaced by contacting Sgt. Clarke ( or bring it to the Sheriff’s department to swap it out for a new sign.

  1. Daily Crime Report is available to anyone by signing up on the Orange County Sheriff’s website
  2. House Check is a service for when people leave their homes for one reason or another….vacations, business trips, etc..  Make your request 2-3 days prior to your departure by calling call 644-3050 or 942-6300 to speak with a Deputy on duty.
  3. Orange County Life Track is a proactive response system to identifying citizens within our community who have been known to become confused, have a tendency to wander and may not be able to return safely on their own. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Down’s syndrome and other such disorders can now be located through state of the art technology. The program is run by members who are specially trained, not only in the use of the electronic tracking equipment but also in ways to communicate with those that may be confused and disoriented.
  4. Seniors And Law enforcement Together (SALT) is a cooperative program to reduce both criminal victimization and provides a secure home feeling for older adults .  Deputies provide a sense of security by routinely checking on older county residents who are signed up in the program to see if they need assistance, information for other needed services, or just a friend to talk.  During past ice storms, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office along with the American Red Cross have provided hot meals and water to seniors without food or power.

Contact to sign up for these programs or learn about other services.

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