Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul speaks to the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club on Monday regarding some of the outreach efforts geared toward the community’s youth. The agency will be featured on A&E’s “Beyond Scared Straight” later this month. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)
ALBANY — Many people in the Albany and Dougherty County area know the impact the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, — particularly Sheriff Kevin Sproul — has had on the area’s youth. Soon the agency will get a national spotlight.
Sproul announced Monday to a Dougherty civic club that, later this month, the Dougherty Sheriff’s Office will be featured on A&E in the program “Beyond Scared Straight.”
The show follows at-risk teens who have been in trouble with the law for various offenses. They are forced to spend a day, and sometimes a night, in jail and be confronted by convicted felons and experience the harsh reality of life behind bars.
A preview available on the network’s website shows that among the scenarios presented from Dougherty County will be that of “Blue,” a 12-year old who stayed out after curfew and was kicked out of school for carrying marijuana while his brother “Nard,” 13, boasts that he hit a boy in the face with a brick.
“I treasure youth and that has always been my passion,” Sproul told the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club on Monday.
The program will air at 10 p.m. on Nov. 21.
In his speech to Kiwanis on Monday, Sproul, along with Lt. Terron Hayes with the crime prevention unit at the sheriff’s department, listed the programs the agency is involved in when it comes to helping children who might be otherwise roaming the streets or living in adverse circumstances. Among them are Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety, or C.H.A.M.P.S., which offers such activities as “Shop with a Sheriff,” as well as a summer day program.
As someone who has hosted 19 young individuals in his own home for up to a year at a time, the cause of keeping youth on the right path has continued to be a platform for Sproul. On Monday, he also showed Kiwanians a video on the Georgia Sheriffs Youth Homes — an organization with five campuses throughout the state that pulls children out of desperate situations with the goal of giving them a new lease on life, including educational opportunities.
In making his point on the gravity of the situation, Sproul listed some of the obstacles facing at-risk youth today, including gang affiliations and parental drug abuse.
“It’s sad children have to deal with issues, but even sadder that children (are at home) while parents are behind closed doors melting drugs on a spoon,” he said. “(Reaching out to youth) is part of who I am and what I do.”
People seeking more information on the Georgia Sheriffs Youth Homes, or who know of a child who needs to be put through the application process, are encouraged to contact their respective sheriff’s department.