The Community Engagement Team

One of the Many Ways Leland Police Keep Us Safe

Jan Morgan-Swegle, Editor

A few weeks ago, I was coming home from work—a distance of about a mile and a half. I pulled onto I-74 and in less than a minute, there were blue flashing lights behind me. I pulled off of the highway and rolled down my window, when a young police officer said to me, “Hello there, where are you going in such a hurry?”

“I’m going home,” I answered. “And where are you coming from?” was the next question. “I work at a Senior Living facility  just a little past from where we are now,” I confessed.

He had a kind face—the face of a new father or someone who takes care of people. He smiled as he asked for my drivers license and told me he would be right  back.  True to his word, he was back in a few minutes, still smiling.

He handed me a piece of paper and I expected him to explain my ticket and ask for my signature—but he didn’t. He handed me my license and said, “you need to slow down a little and be safe out here.” And then he said. “This is just a warning, not a ticket. Drive carefully and have a nice evening.”  He gave me a quick salute and he was gone. I looked at my warning from “Trooper R. McDermott,” and thought, “What a nice man.”

A few days ago, I met Police Officers Justin Holland (pictured left) and Benjamin Majors (right) at an event in Leland. They are members of the Leland Police Community Engagement Team which is dedicated to offering services and programs that enrich the community and give us an opportunity to meet the men and women behind the badges. These officers have been on the force for 3 years—with Officer Majors being a lifelong North Carolinian and Officer Holland coming from Maryland.

The Community Engagement Team is the liaison with our community and the Leland Police Department. Part of their duties involve going into local schools and giving our children safety information so they know how to react in potentially harmful situations. Their goal is to ensure our children see police officers as friends and people who can keep them and their families safe.

They participate in the “While You’re Away” program and will monitor your home for up to 14 days if you are away (see their website for instructions on how to participate in all of the programs offered.)

Also listed on the Leland Police website is a free service offered by the Brunswick County Sherriff’s office, called “Project Lifesaver.” This is a wonderful service for residents who are taking care of parents or loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or other medical conditions that can affect their judgement or ability to communicate and who often wander away.

Participants in this program receive a bracelet that holds a radio transmitter equipped with a unique radio frequency that identifies the person and geographical area. If a person enrolled in “Project Lifesaver” goes missing, the caregiver calls 911. The Sheriff’s office will respond with a team who start searching for the missing person. For more information on the parameters of the program, go to the Leland Police webpage and look for the “Project Lifesaver” tab.

The Community Engagement Team also coordinates events in the area such as “Coffee With a Cop, Christmas With a Cop, National Night Out,” and presents at community meetings regarding safety and other topics requested by members of that community.

I shared my driving story with Officers Holland and Majors and they said that my particular traffic stop was how every stop should be handled–professionally, politely, efficiently and in the best interest of the resident involved. Both officers stressed that our police personnel are here to protect us and our community and while they might wear uniforms, they are people with families, just like us.

We are lucky to have the kind of officers that we do and a program like the Community Engagement Team here in Leland. If  you are interested in partnering with the Community Engagement Team on a project or event, or would like additional information, call Officer Benjamin Majors at 910-800-1654 or email him at [email protected].

To all of the Leland Police and Sherriff’s Officers, be careful out there. Stay safe. We need you.