AIKEN --- Members of the community offered praise and support Monday for the Aiken Public Safety Department as it underwent an on-site assessment to achieve re-accreditation.
"We work together hand-in-hand on death investigations in the city of Aiken," Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton told the team of assessors. "I have nothing but great respect for all the investigators."
Several Aiken residents, in addition to those who work with the department, described a department of proactive and community-involved police officers.
"They're not only professional firefighters and law enforcements, but they're folks who care about their community," Mr. Carlton said.
Ed Giobbe said Aiken's "unique equestrian character" -- with a horse district in the middle of a metropolitan area -- requires a unique approach and relationship between the city and public safety.
Chief Pete Frommer "does an outstanding job of getting to know the people in the community," said Mr. Giobbe, who lives in the horse district.
But public safety's commitment extends beyond the residents to the pets of Aiken.
Barbara Nelson, the president of the Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said most cities and towns ignore the issue of animal control, but that hasn't been the case in Aiken.
In the past four years, the city has implemented an animal control ordinance and a citywide spay and neuter program that includes pet vaccinations and microchipping.
"This is the only city around here that has a spay and neuter program for low-income families," Ms. Nelson said.
The city also has had several pet fairs, held by the Aiken SPCA and public safety, offering free lifetime registration for pets and vaccination and microchipping at a reduced price.
"Public safety is not just looking to pick up dogs off the street and get rid of them," Ms. Nelson said. "They're looking at proactive measures. They deserve an A for everything they do."
Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or firstname.lastname@example.org.