Whenever we have positive news from any of our town departments we usually post on social media. I understand that not everyone relies on social media for their news, so I want to also write about these items in my weekly article.

Recruit Jonathan Ciarrone received the Top Shot Award for his class at the Police Academy. This is awarded to the recruit who demonstrated the highest level of marksmanship proficiency and firearms safety throughout a series of firearms training and qualification courses.

Sgt. Jason Rodriguez was voted First Responder of the Year in the Best of Bluffton 2021. Sgt. Rodriguez joined the Bluffton Police Department in 2015. He’s a canine handler and is partnered with K9 Hunden.

Sgt. Rodriguez is in charge of all K9 units at the department, as well as D-Team, which is a shift unit consisting of a sergeant, corporal and three officers.

Our police department is implementing several of its strategic goal initiatives, including mental health crisis intervention training. This   training will assist our command staff with understanding the necessity of reducing arrests of people with mental illness, while increasing the likelihood that the individuals will receive mental health services.

Our town council budgeted for a mental health coordinator and we are advertising for this position currently. If you know of someone or if you have an interest, please check our career tab on townofbluffton.sc.gov .

A second initiative is a Spanish language class for our officers and staff. With the increase in our Hispanic community, this is something that is a must and I am so proud that the first class had a large number of participants.

Finally, we continue to meet with any community, neighborhood, church or group that wants to discus public safety, any traffic laws, active shooter, etc. If you would like to have our department meet with your group, please reach out to the police department and schedule this.

Many thanks to Ridgeland-based Quality Hardscapes & Porch Masters for donating a travel grill to the Bluffton Police Department. The grill will be used for community events and for meal preparation for officers and staff during critical incidents.

And finally, a reminder that school is back in session. Please drive the posted speed limits in designated school zones. Also, please remember to move over, if safely possible, for first responders to include police, fire and EMS.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton. lsulka@townofbluffton.com