GIBSON — Chief Lloyd Goins of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office addressed concerns from Gibson residents about the need for more law enforcement presence in town during Thursday’s monthly town council meeting.
Residents reported an increase in the number of juveniles riding non-road legal dirt bikes in the city limits and a few instances of trespassing.
“Why don’t you patrol Gibson with the unmarked vehicles so you can catch the kids riding their dirt bikes?” Frank Pallares suggested.
Residents felt marked patrol cars would be easily spotted by juveniles riding dirt bikes and they would simply stay off the streets until law enforcement left the area.
“I personally have patrolled Gibson over the past two weeks,” Goins said in response to the complaints.
Goins also said the sheriff’s office has considered the possibility of transport officers regularly patrolling the town for a few hours a day.
Another complaint residents had was the slow response time to 911 calls that come in from Gibson.
Goins used an example where it took an officer 27 minutes to arrive at the scene of the crime — the average response time for the sheriff’s office is 10 minutes.
Goins explained the sheriff’s office doesn’t have any control over the 911 call center and told residents “it took 17 minutes for the 911 center” to get in touch with the sheriff’s office.
“If you see a crime committed, call us immediately so we can get there sooner,” he said.
Another recommendation Goins made was to detain the individual who has committed a crime and wait for officers to arrive.
“Residents of North Carolina do have the right to detain an individual who has committed a crime,” Goins said.
The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Chief also promoted new online resources to help residents better protect themselves. Among them included the recently announced Project Lifesaver for those with memory disorders and the “Are you Okay?” program, which calls people who have registered for the program on a daily basis to check on their well being.
Although the sheriff’s office only has four officers patrolling at any given time, there have been fewer instances of breaking and entering in Gibson since Scotland County Sheriff Ralph Kersey took office in 2014, according to Goins.
To conclude the Town Council meeting, Mayor Ronnie Hudson encouraged residents to attend the free health screening on Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Gibson Baptist Church.
He also reminded those in attendance the new Gibson Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month. If anyone wishes to see the museum on any other day call 910-268-4291 to see if an appointment can be made.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171