A new sheriff is leading Benton County, and he is working to fight cyber crimes and take down gangs to protect your children.
"We're going to be able to focus on our future, set some goals, and try to achieve those."
2013 is bringing change to Benton County, and Sheriff Kelley Cradduck is sharing new strategies to keep kids safe.
"We need to make sure we're focusing on taking care of those problems we know are occuring right here.
Cradduck is hoping to form a Cyber Crime Unit with detectives, dedicated to helping prevent prowling predators.
"It will be made up of four individuals and one supervisor who will dedicate all their time to investigating cyber crimes, so anything from computers to phones... What we need to try to do is not keep up just with that volume, but also what are we doing on the proactive end."
Creating a Gang Unit is also a top priority for Cradduck.
"20 years ago as we started to see a problem that was budding just in our school system, is completely evolved into a different creature now... We're seeing these young kids, young adults, who are having children and raising them to be gang members."
The sheriff hopes to minimize gang-related problems, and protect young ones from following in dangerous footsteps.
"You have more gangs, you have more guns, you have more drugs, you have more violence. That's a fact... We are going to encourage all of our employees to spend at least a few hours a week at whatever school of their choosing, in uniform, build relationships, have a presence and try to make our schools safer."
After working as a School Resource Officer, Cradduck knows students can share a lot of valuable information. He believes information is the key to improving problems in his county. So while Cradduck wants to see his ideas become reality by February, he is looking for approval.
"These are all plans I would like to do, but it is all contingent upon the Quorum Court. I will go to them with the request for all of these changes."
Cradduck believes as communities and businesses evolve, so should law enforcement. Other changes coming to the Sheriff's Office include transitioning to black, unmarked vehicles to improve surveillance and changing to 12-hour shifts to improve communication and give more consecutive time off for deputies.
There are also some other interesting changes, like deputies no longer have to wear hats and they are getting new uniforms. Another change, officials can now grow a goatee for a $5 donation to a charity of their choice.