Friday, April 1, 2011

Sheriff Cofield takes the helm

News to Know
by Kelly Caldwell

Randolph County has a new sheriff but David Cofield isn’t the new kid on the block.
Before being elected sheriff in November, Cofield spent 13 years in law enforcement in Randolph County, most recently as the sheriff department’s representative to Alabama’s 5th Judicial Circuit Narcotics Unit.
“There are definite goals I want to accomplish during my time as sheriff,” he said. “One of the first things we did was order new uniforms for the our deputies.”

The uniforms may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of protecting the county, but it does make an impact.

“We want to promote a sense of pride in our work and one of the first steps is to look the part,” Cofield said. “I have also told all of my deputies and investigators that we are to treat people with as much respect as we can.”

Cofield also grew up in Randolph County and was a 1989 graduate of Randolph County High School.

Another goal for Sheriff Cofield is to bring the department up to the 21st century in terms of technology.

“There is so much time lost looking for paperwork in the files, by moving to the digital age we can save time in so many ways,” Cofield said.
The first step was to install flat screen televisions in the sheriff's office which serve as monitors and Cofield's goal is to get every deputy a laptop and have reports filed electronically.

“It is so much more efficient to have files available electronically,” Cofield said.
With the help of EMA director Donnie Knight, the Randolph County Sheriff's Department will be purchasing a boat for its use.

“Donnie knew of a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and we went after it,” he said. “We will be able to put it to good use in a number of ways.”

With its own boat, the sheriffs department will be able to help the community even more.
“There are times when we need to be on the lake,” Cofield said. “We have had water emergencies where our assistance has been needed. We will also be able to provide backup to marine patrol.

“I also want our presence on the lake to be felt. We won't be able to patrol the lake 24 hours a day, but when we get our boat, we hope to be out there to offer help to anyone that needs it.”

The department hopes to have the boat in service by June.
Another program Cofield hopes to get underway soon is the Yellow-Dot Program, which is designed to assist Alabama citizens and first responders in the event of an automobile crash or other medical emergency involving the participant’s vehicle.

“The Yellow Dot program is a free service and the premise is one that could help our first responders assess an emergency situation even quicker,” Cofield said.

The program can help save lives during the critical “golden hour” by improving communication at a time when accident victims may be unable to communicate for themselves.

Essentially the program involves a sticker and a folder both for your automobile, however, it can provide priceless information that could save countless lives.

“This is how it works. A person signs up for the program and receives a packet of information and a yellow sticker. The person fills out the information packet with medical information and a current picture,” Cofield said. “Then they put the yellow sticker on the driver side rear window and that information packet in their glove box.”

It's simple, but if a participant in the program is in a medical emergency like a car accident and can not provide information for themselves, the first responders will know to look for their medical information in the glove box thanks to that yellow-dot sticker on the window.
The program has 19 counties participating as of late January including neighboring Clay County.

“We hope to launch this program in Randolph County soon,” Cofield said. “We will have sign up days in the area soon. I see it as a real benefit to our senior citizens, but the program is open to anyone wishing to participate.”

With new initiatives like the Yellow-Dot Program and a boat for the sheriff's department, Cofield has accomplished a lot in a short time, but he is far from satisfied.

“We have a long way to go, to bring the sheriff's department up to date,” he said. “But, with the help of the Randolph County Commissioners and budgeting our funds, we hope to continue making improvements on the way we protect and serve the community.”

To find out more about the Yellow Dot program and to become a fan, visit www.facebook.com/AlabamaYellowDot.


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