Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office brings back Community Awareness Night in Stewartville

OCSO raises awareness of at-risk youth

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(ABC 6 News) – People in the community are getting the chance to meet face-to-face with members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office has done this event before, but they are hoping to bring awareness to issues of drugs, vaping and social media abuse become more relevant in these communities.

Their Community Awareness Nights are an extension of D.A.R.E., bringing in law enforcement to work with parents on having difficult conversations with kids.

“We wanted to do something that gave the parents a little more information and awareness,” said Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson. “So, specifically the D.A.R.E. kids and their parents, but then also the community because we know there are a lot more folks in the community that care kids.”

One of those people is pastor Cecil Bellephant, who is one of the many youth mentors in the new Truth 2 Da Youth program founded by Charles Jackson.

“We want to be able to see, to go and hear what’s plaguing that small pocket of our community so that we can be able to say that, ‘Hey look, we want to come alongside of you guys and assist you,'” said Bellephant.

And Bellephant is no stranger to these issues, as he was once an at-risk youth while growing up in Chicago.

“The person that doesn’t have a direction in life, they’re headed for trouble, that was me. And so now I can tell these kids, ‘hey, let’s put together a plan, let’s put together a map of where you’re going to go,'” he said.

And being alone is the last thing Torgerson and the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office want any parent or guardian to feel when helping the kids in their lives remain on the right path.

“There will be resources and ability there on how to talk and how to approach those kids and then seek the help and find the right people to get the help with because you’re not going to do this alone. Nobody can get through an addiction or some other kind of difficult situation alone,” said Torgerson.

Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office will host two more community awareness months during in March. One in Byron on March 6, and the other in Eyota on March 27.