This time a year ago Keith O. Wood was preparing to take office as Meigs County Sheriff.
It has been a busy first year in office for the Sheriff, who recently took time to reflect on many of the events of 2013. Sheriff Wood took office on Jan. 6. “One of the biggest goals at the beginning was to build a foundation for a safer community, with focus on the kids,” said Wood. That goal has been accomplished through many different programs and projects this year including the School Resource Officer, K-9 unit, partnering with the Department of Job and Family Services and the formation of a task force.
Wood noted that one priority was to reach out to the youth of Meigs County prior to them becoming involved in drugs. The formation of a School Resource Officer (SRO) program over the summer help take a big step toward reaching that goal. Deputy Mark Griffin (who will become a Sergeant on Jan. 6) took the lead on the program, becoming the counties first SRO. Griffin, along with Deputy James Riley, are working with students in the area schools to implement Project ALERT. Project ALERT is an age-appropriate substance abuse prevention curriculum proven effective in reducing experimentation among teens and in reducing usage among teens who experiment. The program is geared toward seventh and eighth grades students. Lessons taught through the program focus on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and inhalants.
The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office is also working to train teachers, staff and their own personnel to “prepare for the worst but hope for the best.” Wood noted that it is better to prepare for a situation and never need the training then to not be prepared. Wood stated that none of the goals set forth could have been accomplished without the group of employees who want to make things happen, tackle the drug problem, and make positive changes in the community.