Operation Safe Summer gets face-lift

By Danza Johnson

TUPELO – With a new police chief heading the department, Tupelo’s Operation Safe Summer has been overhauled.
Going into its seventh year, the initiative to increase patrols and police presence during the busy summer months will focus more on informing the public rather than just enforcement.
“The days of just keeping your children in the home to protect them from harm is no longer an option because with the Internet harm can just be one room away,” said Chief Tony Carleton, who began his job earlier this year.
“So as a department we decided to give parents the tools they needed to help protect their children from all threats this summer and the computer is one of those.”
Even though enforcement will remain a key part of the operation, Maj. Anthony Hill said the department felt the public would benefit more from the teaching sessions.
“Enforcement will always be the biggest part of our jobs as police officers,” said Hill. “But we want to be more proactive about stopping kids from getting into trouble before it happens this summer. More idle time often means more time to get into trouble, so this summer we will provide workshops to parents to educate them on situations dealing with kids they may not have been aware of.”
Hill said the dangers of the Internet and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook will be key topics at the workshops. Parents also will be given a crash course in gang identifiers.
Deputy Police Chief Robert Hall said residents will see more police on the streets and in neighborhoods this summer.
“The department is adding some new things that will better serve the people, but enforcement is still the cornerstone of the department,” said Hall. “The citizens will see more bike patrols in their neighborhoods, more foot patrols and just a bigger presence overall. Summer is a busy time of year, so we just want to stay as proactive as we can.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.