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Could it happen here?
Recent events in Connecticut are a reminder to us all of how tragic events can change our perspective.  The loss of life was devastating to the community of Newtown, CT, as well as to the nation when we heard the news that 20 people, including 18 school students, had been shot and killed by a lone gunman that forced his way into the Sandy Hook elementary school.
shooting2.jpgOften times when, these events occur, many assume it can’t happen here.   The reality is events like Newtown Connecticut, though rare, can happen anywhere.   Since 1996 communities like Pearl, MS, West Paducah, KY, Jonesboro, AR, Edinboro, PA, Richmond, VA, Littleton, CO, Conyers, GA, Red Lion, PA, Red Lake, MN, Nickel Mines, PA, DeKalb, IL, and Omaha, NE have experienced similar events.  These are just a small sample of communities in our nation that have gone through such horrors.
columbine.jpgAll of us hope that something like this will never occur in Anderson County, but if it did, how would we respond?  At the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office we take the potential of such incidents seriously, and regularly train our officers and special teams in how to effectively respond if something like what occurred in Newtown, CT occurred in our county.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Division works on a regular basis to plan for such situations as an active shooter in a school.  Special teams, including the SWAT team, train on various scenarios.  

Training exercises are held in cooperation with the various school districts in the county to provide a “real world” experience to better equip those officers that may have to someday respond to such a tragic event.


We are often asked why the Sheriff’s Office Detention Center doesn’t operate an inmate “chain gang”. Chain gangs are a group of sentenced prisoners chained together who perform manual labor such as digging ditches, building roads, planting crops, or clearing debris. The use of chain gangs was phased out nationwide by the mid 1950’s and made a short lived resurgence in the mid 1990’s during the “tough on crime” era.
inmate_labor4.jpgThe majorities (approximately 85%) of inmates housed by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center are pre-trial detainees and cannot be used on a labor detail until convicted of a crime. Pre-trial inmates are expected to clean their individual housing units and maintain a level of personal hygiene. Although you won’t travel down the roadway and see a group of inmates chained together working, inmate labor is still widely used in Anderson County every day.  This inmate labor saves the taxpayers of Anderson County hundreds of thousands of dollars per year In fact, in an average month, there are roughly 9000 man hours of inmate labor performed in Anderson County, that if based on minimum wage, comes to over $783,000 annually in savings.
inmate_labor_3.jpgDuring those hours, inmates clean miles of roadway picking up trash and debris. Within the Detention Center, they cook and serve almost 35,000 meals per month and clean the dishes and kitchen. They wash patrol vehicles, and do hundreds of loads of laundry. Additionally, they assist with maintenance issues, clean inmate dorms, and mop and wax floors. They cut the grass and maintain the grounds at the Detention Center and at the Sheriff’s Office. Outside the facility, they work with various county work crews and at the Convenience Recycling Stations and landfill.
inmate_labor2.jpgAs a general rule, inmates receive a reduction in the sentences they receive for both good behavior and by working. Should the inmate fail to follow the rules or refuse to work, this reduction would be revoked. Good time and work credits are statutorily granted upon the inmate following the requirements and are not discretionary. Note – Inmates assigned to work crews outside the confines of the facility have been screened by the Classification Unit and must meet certain minimum security criteria. Inmates who have a history of violence or registered sex offenders are utilized only inside the detention facility.          


Unfortunate as it is, home invasions and home burglaries are common everywhere now, whether you live in a small town or a metropolitan area. The bad guys are looking to see who appears to be the most vulnerable. Here are just a few quick tips to make your home safer.breakin2.jpg

Get a deadbolt lock, secure Sliding glass doors, and change your routine.
The reason for changing your routine is simple.  Usually before someone decides to break into your home, they most likely have been observing you for awhile, to discover what your regular routine is.

Watch shrubbery
And remember outside lights
Criminals who intend to conceal themselves want the perfect place to hide and shrubbery is perfect for that purpose. Outside lights are also important in deterring thieves.

Never open a door to a stranger.
People will attempt to get you to open up your door, by appealing to you for help. Someone may knock on your door or ring your doorbell and claim to have a flat tire or claim to have an emergency situation and need to use your phone.  Home invasions occur when unscrupulous individuals are able to push their way into your home. It is also important to teach children never to open a door for someone they do not know.  Don't give criminals that chance to break into your home.

Give the illusion of being there.
If you plan on going away for an extended stay somewhere, make sure it doesn't look that way. Be sure that you have your mail held, so your mailbox does not "over-flow."  Have your newspaper delivery stopped, and consider timed lighting to go on and off at different times.