Community Outreach Division
HAYS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Community Outreach Division specializes in crime prevention, recognition of a potential crime risk and the action necessary to remove or reduce such risk. Crime Prevention can take the form of many avenues including awareness, education, preparation, and action necessary to deter criminal activity. Law enforcement along with the general public can work together to achieve success in combating criminal activity.
The Hays County citizens can assist law enforcement in the promotion of crime prevention programs by actively being involved. They can serve as extra eyes and ears for reporting any suspicious activity. Working together we can achieve more for building safer communities in Hays County.
Various programs are designed to involve the general public, businesses, schools, and individuals to strengthen the awareness of and deter specific criminal activity. A few of the existing programs include Neighborhood Watch, Stranger Danger, Bicycle Safety, National Night Out, Citizen Police Academies, Personal Safety, Shattered Dreams, and Identity Theft.
Hays County Sheriff’s Office Programs
• The communities of Hays County participate in the Neighborhood Watch Program to communicate vital law enforcement information to each other and the HCSO.
• Programs are sponsored by the HCSO but every individual subdivision coordinates their own meetings and email distribution.
• Information that can be shared includes crime statistics and suspicious activities and people.
• Communication is the key. Neighbors who know each other and participate in this program are not only making good friends they are actively creating safer communities.
National Night Out Program
• A community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of August. (Texas has the option to use an alternative date in October, to avoid hot weather). The event has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.
• The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities such as drug prevention, town watch/Neighborhood Watch, and other anti-crime efforts. Initially communities held lights-on vigils. Now, many communities hold block parties, festivals, and other events to help bring neighbors together.
Brown Santa Program
• Brown Santa is an annual event used by the Hays County Sheriff's Office to collect toys, food, and funds for families of Hays County that are in need.
• The assistance of deputies, correction officers, dispatchers, and the community typically reach out to touch the lives of hundreds of families.
• The program is similar to the city police department Blue Santa programs. The brown color is the historical uniform color of most Texas sheriff's offices.
• Brown Santa operations begin in late October or early November, and culminate in the delivery of Christmas presents and food just prior to Christmas.
Sheriff’s Citizens Academy
• A forty (40) hour program designed to give the citizens of Hays County a working knowledge of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and the criminal justice system as it works in our county.
• The primary objective is to build a better understanding between citizens and the sheriff’s office through education. It is further hoped that the academy will increase public awareness, dispel suspicions, misconceptions, and increase sheriff’s office and community rapport.
• At the same time, the sheriff’s office becomes aware of the feelings and concerns of the community from the participants interaction and input. The instructors of this academy are supervisors, deputies, and correction officers working in the areas being taught.
Volunteers in Policing Service (VIPS)
• The Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) Program offers a no-cost resource to enhance the capacity of law enforcement to utilize volunteers throughout the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.
• Our volunteers are graduates of the Hays County Citizens Academy and are current Alumni members.
• The volunteers work with employees within the sheriff’s office. Duty details range from making phone calls, filing and computer data entry, as well as a number of other assignments.
Junior Deputy Academy
• A summer camp for children 8-11 years old.
• It gives the children a chance to interact with sheriff’s deputies and interact with positive role models.
• Deputies from various parts of the sheriff’s office visit with the children and introduce them to the different functions they provide. Patrol, SWAT, Negotiations, Gang Unit, Criminal Investigations, Crime Prevention and the Narcotics Drug Dog will be represented as well as the fire department, EMS and a representative of Pedernales Electric Co OP (PEC) who will present a segment on electrical safety.
Shattered Dreams Program
• A two-day, school-based program that promotes responsible decision-making among high school students regarding underage drinking and impaired driving (driving after drinking or riding with a drinking driver) by showing them how irresponsible choices can end all dreams.
• The Shattered Dreams Program emphasizes the results of alcohol-related crashes: the shattered dreams of those who drive after drinking, the innocent victims, and their friends and families.
Explorers Post Program
• Initiated in February 2014 in conjunction with Learning For Life (Boy Scouts of America) at Lehman High School, Kyle.
• Plans are to expand the program to other high schools within the unincorporated area of Hays County. This would include Hays High School located in Buda, Texas, Dripping Springs High School located in Dripping Springs, Texas, and Wimberley High School located in Wimberley, Texas.
• Designed to acquaint young people (15 to 21 years of age) with the nature and complexity of law enforcement, and to encourage participation in a rewarding and productive service activity.
• Brings members into direct contact with law enforcement personnel through meetings, training and community service projects.
Other Programs for Adults/Families
• Alive at 25 (Teen Driving Awareness)
• Blood Drives
• Business Security Surveys
• Emergency Preparedness
• Home Security Surveys
• Narcotics Awareness
• Special Topic Presentations
• Sunshine Kids
• Town Hall Meetings
• Wounded Warrior Project
Lieutenant Todd Riffe