Originally elected into the position in 2016 and taking office in 2017, Helms has made the most of his time as Sheriff. Though he is excited to see what’s to come over the next four years, he is still proud to recall the number of promises fulfilled in his tenure so far.

With a dominant 56.6% of the Camden County vote, Sheriff Tony Helms reclaimed his position last week and is already making big plans for the years to come.

Originally elected into the position in 2016 and taking office in 2017, Helms has made the most of his time as Sheriff. Though he is excited to see what’s to come over the next four years, he is still proud to recall the number of promises fulfilled in his tenure so far.

At the front of this list, Helms immediately noted the success he and the department have seen with the county’s first school resource officers. With a fourth officer coming to Climax Springs soon, the three officers already in place have been successful in Helms’ eyes. He says his goal from the start was to focus on community-oriented policing. By having these officers in schools, he believes the students have learned to respect and appreciate the presence of law-enforcement.

“They need to know that, when they grow up, that uniform isn’t something evil,” Helms said. “They need to know and understand that if you’re a good citizen, you live right and don’t break the law, we’re your best friend.”

On the other hand, Helms is also proud of the work that has been done by his community resource officers. The idea stems from a policing course Helms took back in 1997. He says the idea was to place deputies on the outer edges of the county in small communities to grow a relationship with the residents and to help them feel safe and like they know the deputies who are watching over them.

With success in this idea, Helms has gone on to allowing the deputies taking part in this CRO program to flex their own schedules. Helms assumed at first that this might lead to deputies taking easy, standard work schedules such as 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but the opposite end up being true. He says these deputies have grown to truly care about their communities and are taking shifts during high-crime windows, such as weekend night shifts.

One of the final main point that Helms was proud of was the increase in department pay that he has been able to achieve so far. However, this also blends into what he hopes to achieve looking forward.

Currently, Helms says he was able to work with the commissioners and with state grant funds to raise his departments salaries to an acceptable level, but he says he will be strongly working towards getting these salaries raised over the next four years. With Commissioner Bev Thomas being replaced by James Gohagan in the 1st district seat, Helms is confident that he will be able to work into a relationship with Gohagan and the other commissioners to budget these raises. If not, Helms guaranteed that he wouldn’t stop until he got the money needed.

The other future goal Helms says he will achieve is a new county animal holding facility. He says the county has too many animals, dogs in specific, that are in their control after being rescued that are being forced to either live at a department workers house temporarily or being sent to a local, already crowded shelter. Helms guaranteed that he would get a brand new facility build over the next four years to house these animals.

“We’re gonna get a holding facility. It’s gonna happen, you can write that down. It may not be the Taj-Mahal, but it’s gonna happen,” Helms said.

On a personal level, Helms’ closing note was that he hopes he can find a way to restore interest in becoming a deputy for the county. With national police agreeance at a low, Helms says that their applicant turnout has dropped harshly. He says that he wants new deputies to know that, in Camden County, the respect for officers has not changed. The county still has a deep appreciation for law enforcement and will continue to. While that might not be the same in big cities, Helms believes that his officers are truly appreciated and is excited to continue working for the county.

“Right now, it’s tough to be a cop, but not in Camden Country. People appreciate my deputies, and that’s awesome and we appreciate that,” Helms said.