George Co. Sheriff’s Dept. “Children First” Campaign Nets Multiple Arrests
The George County Sheriff's Department has launched operation "Children First,"a campaign lasting through November 28th. It's all about the safety and protection of children in the community.
21 warrants for crimes of child neglect or endangerment were recently issued in George County.
Within a week’s time, 13 individuals were arrested or turned themselves in. The other eight have yet to be located.
These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation under the operation “Children First” campaign launched by the George County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigator David Ray says this is a big move in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done.
“Under operation ‘Children First,’ an opportunity presented itself through an anonymous tip through child protective services, which led to an investigation and multiple charges against several individuals were made. I would simply say just turn yourself in and for any would be criminals that are thinking about committing crimes, of or around children, it will be investigated and you will be prosecuted,” says Investigator Ray.
“Children First” is a drive initiated by Sheriff Keith Havard, in partnership with the Lucedale Police Department, during the holiday season, to spotlight crime and safety issues involving children. As part of the campaign, aimed at protecting children, Investigator Ray tells News 25 law enforcement is also focusing on the safety of children who are riding in vehicles without proper safety restraints.
“It does happen. It’s a problem I imagine everywhere where kids are not properly seat belted or they may be in a car seat but the car seat isn’t attached to the seat, which does no good. It’s to bring awareness to the fact that wrecks can happen and it just takes a few seconds to buckle a kid in and keep them safe,” says Investigator Ray.
Through this campaign, Ray says so many people have stepped up to protect children and put them first, including foster families who have taken kids into their homes at a moments notice.
He hopes more people are inspired to do the same.
And when it comes to children, the George County Sheriff’s Department means business.
“Simply put, they are our future. We have a basic responsibility to look out for them. They are the most innocent of all and should be the focus every day. We are a small department but again it’s children first. There’s no limit. We’ll push as hard as we have to,” says Ray.
The campaign runs through November 28.