National night out in Jefferson County - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

National night out in Jefferson County

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Communities and law enforcement agencies across the country are joining forces to take a stand against crime.  Tuesday marked the 29th annual National Night Out. Many agencies spent the evening getting to know people and telling them how they can be involved in helping protect their communities.

The night is especially important in Jefferson County where the commission is talking about possibly making cuts in the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Mike Hale says his department is tired of just being able to survive. It needs a stabilized funding source to go into a proactive mode to keep the community safe. On Tuesday, Commission President David Carrington offered an appeal not to cut anymore from the sheriff's office because they've already trimmed back.  It's a time when community support can really make a difference.

The National Night Out is a night of appreciation for the community. Sheriff Mike Hale says "It's important that we have force multipliers such as honest law abiding citizens." Like Timothy Cook who has already learned a thing or two in the citizens police academy. "There's not enough police officers out there to take care of everybody. We've built a lot of subdivisions and people in the area, so we have to help ourselves. We can't wait for the government to do it."

With budget cuts possibly looming, Sheriff Hale says it's essential for everybody to work together to fight crime. "I don't have enough deputies to get the job done by themselves, we're only as good as the information our eyes and ear from folks in the community, things they tell us alert us too."

Sheriff Hale says public safety dollars are getting tighter for agencies across the country. "This office has shrunk 63-million to 43-million. It's a time we really need to grow programs."
Cook says "The sheriff's office needs to keep what they've got, they need the money."

While many citizens don't want to see cuts in law enforcement, they're ready to support them and help keep neighborhoods safe. Jefferson County resident Don Getz says, "There's so much evil that goes on, people going insane across the country, at least law enforcement can be a deterrent."

People could learn about many aspects of the sheriff's office from the swat team to the drug task force. Firefighters and other agencies were also hand for a meet and greet as well.

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