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Public Safety Program set to begin in February

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Classes designed to educate residents about what law enforcement, fire and rescue services provide to community

By Ben Orcutt-borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County's public safety agencies will offer a series of classes starting in February for area residents interested in law enforcement, fire and rescue services.

The Community Public Safety Program classes will be offered Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., Feb. 8 through April 12, at the Warren County Government Center by the Sheriff's Office and the Fire and Rescue Department.

"It's a way to let people in the community know what we do and become a little bit more educated about what their public safety agencies do," said Richard E. Mabie, chief of Warren County Fire and Rescue.

"A whole lot of people don't really realize the extent of what we're doing out here until they have to call 911 or what have you," Mabie said. "Then they think that's all we do. You know, we sit around and wait for an emergency call to come in. We do a whole lot of proactive stuff as well."

While the Sheriff's Office will handle the law enforcement side of things, Mabie said personnel from his department will talk about fire and rescue services, their costs, and volunteerism.

In addition to the nine volunteer fire and rescue departments, the county has 22 paid fire and rescue staff members, including Mabie.

"We have a lot of prevention programs that we do and public service programs, such as our smoke detector giveaway program," Mabie said. "We have our school programs, which we cover under our public education programs where we go to the schools and start [reaching] school kids as early as preschool actually."

Deputy Larry Funk, the officer in charge of the of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program and community events, will be coordinating the public safety program for the Sheriff's Office.

The classes will be limited to 15 people ages 18 and up, Funk said. Background checks will be performed on the applicants, Funk added.

Funk said topics will include narcotics investigation, clandestine drug labs, homicide scene investigation, gang task force and animal control.

"Mostly what we want to do is provide interested local citizens with a much, much closer look and more in-depth information
regarding the overall law enforcement operations of this state-certified sheriff's office as well as the Warren County fire and rescue services," Funk said.

"Our goal remains, as it's been here for many years, is to ensure the safety and security of the community and we do that a lot through maintaining an important cooperative relationship between the citizens of the community, the sheriff's office and fire and rescue services. And basically, that's our community safety initiative right there -- an informed public by way of the community public safety program. This is the very first time this program will be offered by the sheriff's office."

The deadline to register for the program is Jan. 24. Applications can be picked up at the Warren County Sheriff's Office's public assistance window at 23 E. Jackson St. For more information, call the Sheriff's Office at 635-4128 or Funk at 635-0399.

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