Sheriff's Office no longer teaming up with utilities - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sheriff's Office no longer teaming up with utilities

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is no longer teaming up with utility companies to spot suspicious activity after a public outcry.

The effort, called the Watchmen's Program, was the brain child of the sheriff's department as a way to fight crime.

Sheriff PJ Tanner says it wasn't a spy program, despite what residents thought.  It was a way to add an extra eye out in the neighborhoods to help his department with the crime in the county.

"We live in a different world, and that's the reality of it," said Heather Nix.

Nix is a Beaufort County resident and the mother of three girls. She says part of her agrees with the new program, because she's noticing a rise in crime and starting to fear the worst.

That's a fear Sheriff Tanner was hoping to get rid of.  He started developing the program in June.

Basically, employees who work  out in the field for these companies are encouraged to be on the lookout for suspicious activity in the neighborhoods and report it to the police.

"I did find it a bit odd that someone who's not a trained deputy or whatever would be asked to do that type of work," said Judy Glazer.  

Glazer says she's glad the sheriff isn't moving forward with the program.

"I think that's probably a good thing. I think it would need a lot of development and training," she said.

But Nix says she kind of wishes the sheriff didn't stop developing the program.

"Considering I have three little girls, I honestly would have to say yes I support it."

The sheriff says his department is now looking at other crime prevention efforts.

He says is main priority is the safety of the people in the county.

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