Members of the Pembroke Police Department attended the annual Governor’s Challenge Awards Ceremony in Atlanta last week. The PPD walked away with a first place trophy and $4,000 in prize money, to go toward new equipment, for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Award for a department their size.
This marks the third year in a row the PPD has taken this honor. State officials look at all areas of a department in consideration of the award. This includes written policies, training of officers and public programs.
Collins said it is the department’s many youth-oriented programs that make them stand out from the pack so much. This includes the junior police program, the impact program and the Pembroke branch of Students against Dangerous Decisions (S.A.D.D.).
"I don’t think there’s anyone in the state that puts more effort into working with youth and their safety than we do," Collins said. "As long as I’m Chief of Police in Pembroke, we’re going to focus on our young people as much as we can and try to encourage other small departments to address youth and problems that they may encounter."
Collins said the Pembroke S.A.D.D. group has traveled to and participated in numerous national and state safety events and has helped to start S.A.D.D. programs in both Tattnall and Evans counties. Richmond Hill High School is in the process of incorporating the PPD’s Fatal Vision program into driver’s education to help teach the dangers of D.U.I. "We just came back from a national underage drinking prevention conference where some of our local kids on the S.A.D.D. board explained our impact program," Collins said.
The motto of the PPD is "even small departments can make a difference." Collins said he is not discouraged by the fact that he does not have all the resources that are attached to larger police departments. "We don’t believe size can hamper you when it comes to making a difference in your community," he said.
Collins said winning the award for the third year running goes to show the consistent quality of the programs in place at the Pembroke Police Department. He also doesn't take credit for the achievement and said every member of his department has played a role.
"Without such a dedicated group of personnel, all these accolades would not be possible," Collins said.