HCSO Community Outreach
810 S. Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, Texas 78666
The Community Outreach Division is responsible for special programs and events for the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.
The Community Outreach Division is responsible for the following programs and is available to speak or give a presentation for any event for your group:
National Night Out
National Night Out (NNO) is a community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of October in Texas. (In other parts of the country NNO is held in August). The event has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.
The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch/Neighborhood Watch, and other anti-crime efforts. Initially communities held lights-on vigils. Now, many communities hold block parties, festivals, and other events to help bring neighbors together.
National Night Out, ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime,’ was introduced by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984. The program was the brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt A. Peskin. In an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts, Peskin felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally. At that time, he noted that in a typical ‘crime watch community’, only 5 to 7% of the residents were participating actively.
Due to the growth and success of these programs, he felt this percentage was too low. Subsequently, he proposed a national program which would be coordinated by local crime prevention agencies and organizations – but that would involve entire communities at one time.
The first National Night Out was introduced early in 1984 – with the event culminating on the first Tuesday in August. That first year, 400 communities in 23 states participated in National Night Out. Nationwide, 2.5 million Americans took part in 1984. The seed had been planted, and in subsequent years, participation has grown steadily. National Night Out in Texas is conducted every October. Contact us at 512-393-7373 for more information.
The communities of Hays County participate in the Neighborhood Watch program to communicate vital law enforcement information to each other and the Sheriff’s Office. The program is held by the Sheriff’s Office but every individual subdivision coordinates their own meetings and email distribution. Information that can be shared includes crime statistics, suspicious people or vehicles in the area, and while on vacation advising neighbors to keep an eye on your property. Communication is the key. Neighbors who know each other and participate in this program are not only making good friends they are actively creating safer communities.
Any individual or neighborhood who would like to participate can obtain information about the program 512-393-7373.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office is working with all the Hays County Law Enforcement agencies and Chambers of Commerce to create a Business Watch Program. We expect to have it up and running in the very near future. Check back soon to find updated information on what will be a vital tool to keep you as a business owner or manager informed and safe.
Brown Santa is an annual event used by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office to collect toys, food, and funds for families of Hays County that are in need. The assistance of deputies, correction officers, dispatchers, and the community typically reach out to touch the lives of hundreds of families. The program is similar to the city police department Blue Santa programs. The brown color is the historical uniform color of most Texas sheriff’s offices. Brown Santa operations begin in late October or early November, and culminate in the delivery of Christmas presents and food just prior to Christmas. If you wish to volunteer or for more information, call 512-393-7373.
Sheriff’s Citizens Academy
The Hays County Citizen Sheriff’s Academy is a 40 hour program designed to give the citizens of Hays County a working knowledge of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and the criminal justice system as it works in our county.
The primary objective of the academy is to build a better understanding between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office through education. It is further hoped that the academy will increase public awareness, dispel suspicions, misconceptions, and increase Sheriff’s Office and community rapport. At the same time, the Sheriff’s Office becomes aware of the feelings and concerns of the community from the participants interaction and input. The instructors of this academy are supervisors, deputies, and correction officers who work in the areas being taught. Their presentations will give participants insight into the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office. In return, class instructors receive direct feedback from the class participants on the effects the Sheriff’s Office has on their lives.
Class hours are from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, and meet on Thursdays. There are some extracurricular activities that you will be involved in during the academy. One Saturday during the academy, you will participate in a police driving exercise. One Saturday during the academy, you will observe a demonstration by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Team. Afterwards, you will attend a shooting demonstration by the firearms instructors and then participate in a live fire exercise. Students will also have the opportunity to ride along with a deputy as an observer during their regular shift.
In order to attend the Academy, you must fill out an application and consent to a background check. Those persons with felony convictions, or who are currently on probation, and anyone who has been convicted for any offense involving moral turpitude are not eligible. Applicants must be at least eighteen (18) years of age and either reside or work in Hays County.
Upon graduation, you are encouraged to become a member of the Hays County Citizens Sheriff’s Academy Alumni Association. Alumni members become our volunteer base and are often called upon to assist the Sheriff’s Office with special events and projects.
Your successful completion can also lead to other opportunities of service through the Sheriff’s Office such as the Community Emergency Response Team, Volunteers In Policing Service, Victims Assistance, and Junior Deputy Academy. Class size is limited to 20 people per class so it is important to get your application in early to avoid being placed on a waiting list. Applications can be picked up at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office or fill out the application and mail it in.
Citizens Academy Alumni
The Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association is available to all graduates of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff’s Citizens Academy. Alumni Association members have access to become members of groups such Community Emergency Response Team (CERT-part of Hays County Office of Emergency Management), VIPS, and COPS. Alumni Association members are an extended part of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office family. Meetings are on the third Wednesday of every month.
Volunteer in Police Services (VIPS)
The Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) Program offers a no-cost resource to enhance the capacity of law enforcement to utilize volunteers throughout the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. Our volunteers are graduates from the Hays County Citizens Academy and are current Alumni members. The volunteers work with employees within the Sheriff’s Office, duty details range from making phone calls, filing and computer data entry, as well as a number of other assignments.
For more information regarding the VIPS program, call 512-393-7373. You can also visit http://policevolunteers.org/ to learn more.