Sheriff seeks better communication

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

WINTON – What’s the best way for county government to remain in contact with its citizens in the event of a natural disaster?

That’s the question to which Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan wants an answer.

In an effort to establish lines of communication in an emergency situation, Sheriff Vaughan is urging Hertford County church leaders to contact his office as soon as possible in order to coordinate a scheduled meeting on Aug. 19. That meeting is set for a 7 p.m. start in the Superior Courtroom of the Hertford County Courthouse in Winton.

&uot;Churches are the foundation of the communities here in Hertford County so I figured that’s the best place to start when thinking about who we, in county government, can contact in order to pass along crucial information following a bad storm or any type of natural disaster,&uot; said Vaughan.

The Sheriff alluded to the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in September of last year as an example of how critical it is to have some sort of communication with the citizens – in this particular case, the thousands of victims of that wicked storm.

&uot;We were completely shutdown, communications-wise, during and after Isabel,&uot; recalled Sheriff Vaughan. &uot;What information we attempted to pass through what channels of communication available to us was extremely slow in reaching our citizens. They were in the dark in more ways than one.&uot;

The Sheriff is hoping that the Aug. 19 meeting will lay a foundation of how better to serve Hertford County’s citizens in case another Isabel, or even a big snowstorm, is waiting in the wings. With the help of Hertford County Emergency Services Director Charles Jones, Vaughan wants to coordinate a plan on how to get the word out that there are emergency relief supplies available.

&uot;I’m fairly sure that even with our best efforts, the word will still not get out to everyone, but we’re going to try this effort with the churches to see how it works,&uot; noted Vaughan. &uot;It’s my wish that we will not see another storm of Isabel’s magnitude, but that’s just wishful thinking. We’ve got to be prepared for the worst and how to best handle the situation. It’s our job to make every effort to see that our citizens are informed of what’s occurring within county government after the storm has passed and what type of resources and emergency supplies are available.&uot;

Vaughan urged Hertford County church officials to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 358-7800 in order to verify if they will be able to attend the meeting.