It has been another busy month for us at the Sylva Police Department.

Our calls for service are rapidly increasing every year. Citizens are calling for our help more than ever before and we are working hard to always have our resources ready to go to work for you when you call. Some days this is a tough job, but I’m proud to tell you that the Sylva Police Department has a strong group of police officers who love their town.

With the recent addition of Jacob Waldroup to our agency, we have only one vacancy left to fill. I can’t tell you how good that feels to report to you. Our officers have been working so many extra shifts to keep up our high standard of police service while being short-handed this year, and I haven’t heard one complaint. If you get a chance, let your officers know you appreciate their hard work.

One of our goals here is to find ways to police our town in cooperation with our citizens. By now, I hope you can tell that I want your police department to be transparent. I want the people of Sylva to know what is going on within their police department. I believe this concept has gotten lost somewhere along the line. What am I talking about? Well, allow me to provide a real example.

I’m writing today to announce that the Sylva PD is going to be doing a “dangerous driving campaign” during the month of February. Now, many of you are thinking we would be more successful if we didn’t announce our plans, but I disagree. We want everyone to know what is happening. Why? Because we want you to slow down and drive safely, on your own. We don’t want to cite our own citizens for unsafe driving; however, it’s our job.

Sure, we cite bad drivers every month, but this February we will be focusing on this particular problem in our town. The incidents of dangerous driving in Sylva are becoming far too frequent. This campaign includes our crosswalks. We have a lot of crosswalks in our town; remember it’s the driver’s responsibility to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, not the other way around.

Now, when you hear someone complaining because they got a ticket this month, we want you to remind them that they should drive safer and that we even announced this in the newspaper. If you get pulled over for dangerous driving in Sylva, getting off with a warning is unlikely, so please drive safely. The phrase “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” comes to mind.

As I have written to you before, if you drive safe on our roads, this message isn’t for you. In fact, we want to thank you for driving responsibly on our roads.

Until next time Sylva, please watch after each other, slow down on our roads and watch for people in our crosswalks.

Hatton is chief of the Sylva Police Department.