Town Wrapped Blue

Melissa Blankenship

Local Law Enforcement Serves the Community

Communities around the country are painting their towns blue in support of  local law enforcement agencies the week of May 13 to May 19.  The citizens of Cochran and Bleckley County depend on our police officers and deputies for a variety of tasks from directing traffic in front of the schools to putting their lives on the line for our protection, so in honor of Law Enforcement Week, businesses and individuals around Cochran are buying up bows to wrap the town in blue.

According to Police Chief Chris Coley, national news often highlights the tensions and sometimes bad relationships between police and communities around the nation.  These national tensions can effect the attitudes of people locally.  Chief Coley and Sheriff Coody and their officers work to foster relationships between law enforcement and community members.  They hope that these relationships will help outweigh the negative effects of the current national story line that often pits community against police.

The Cochran Police Department sponsors a neighborhood watch program, provides meals for families at Thanksgiving and gifts for children in need at Christmas.  Last August, they participated in the National Night Out initiative.  They provided food, games, activities for kids, and most importantly community fellowship.  Around 400 people attended the event, and Chief Coley hopes that more people will participate this year.

The Sheriff’s department also provides food for families and gifts for children during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In addition they sponsor CHAMPS, Choosing, Healthy Activities and Methods for Promoting Safety, for fifth grade students at Bleckley County Elementary School.  After completing the program, students graduate and the Sheriff’s office grills out for them.

In addition to planned activities, Chief Coley and Sheriff Coody encourage their officers to stop and talk with people as they patrol the community. Chief Coley has initiated foot patrols in certain areas so that officers can more readily talk to the citizens they are protecting.  Officers also participate annually in deescalation training to help them know the best way to calm the highly stressful situations that are a common part of their job.

During the course of their work, our police officers see our community at its most despairing, tragic moments.  Chief Coley says that community support is “huge because we deal with the bad stuff everyday and knowing our community supports us helps boost morale in the department.”

How Can You Support Law Enforcement Officers?

You can buy blue ribbons already made from several businesses downtown and on-line.  They are available at the police department and at Simply Made in downtown Cochran for 2$ each.  You can choose between 8 and 9 inch bows.  If you want something  for your front door, check out the selection at Rewooded & Highstrung on Facebook.

Our community has an opportunity to do a small thing – tie a blue bow on a mailbox or tree. That one small thing can have a big impact on the morale of our local law enforcement officers.  You know their names.  You see them at church or when your dining out.  They get up everyday and put on a uniform that says they have dedicated themselves to the protection of our community, of you, of me.  Get your blue bow and show your support for them today.


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