Making a Difference: Giving law enforcement a friendlier face | CraigDailyPress.com

Making a Difference: Giving law enforcement a friendlier face

Lauren Blair

Corporal Dara Bond, a Moffat County Sheriff's deputy, is working to build trust and positive connections between law enforcement and the community by getting involved with local youth and nonprofit events. When not on patrol, she can be found getting involved with the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, organizing law enforcement participation in local events and helping start a new mounted patrol unit under the Moffat County Sheriff's Office.

— “To serve and protect" is the classic motto of law enforcement, but despite the undeniable service officers perform for Moffat County citizens, some still find them intimidating.

Cpl. Dara Bond, with Moffat County Sheriff's Office, wants to change that. While she works every day to preserve the peace, she's also working to give law enforcement a more positive persona in the public eye.

"Sometimes they see us in their worst times, but I don't want that to be all people see in us," Bond said.

Having started at the Routt County Sheriff's Office in 2000, Bond has only been with MCSO for two years, but she hasn't wasted any time finding ways to connect with the community outside her regular duties.

She serves on the advisory board of Moffat County's Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, where she acts as a representative from the Sheriff's Office and gets involved with local youth.

"I want to be out there. Hopefully I don't see these kids in a bad situation, but if I do, we've built up trust and they feel like they can talk to me," Bond said. "It's important to me to earn that trust with that generation."

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Grand Futures' Moffat County Program Director Karli Bockelman appreciates her mentorship every bit as much as the kids do.

"She'll come in her uniform, but you get to talking to her and she's not intimidating at all," Bockelman said. "She's a person I go to when I need help with something or when I'm really stressed out."

Bond's involvement with Grand Futures dovetails with her participation on an events committee formed between MCSO and Craig Police Department to help officers get out to local nonprofit and community events.

"We certainly encourage that from all of our team members," said Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume. "We are as much a part of the community in both our professional and personal endeavors, so I think it's imperative that we continue to engage."

The committee helps officers plug into events or organizations — like Grand Futures' Zombie 5k, toy drives or food drives — that they may already have an interest in, giving them a chance to build positive rapport with the people of Craig.

"I love to have the community understand that piece. We want to help," Bond said. "Every person in this office, we want to help the community and be a positive part of the community."

Within the Sheriff's Office, Bond has also helped bring in state grant money to fund extra drunken driving enforcement, and is currently in the midst of launching a mounted patrol unit.

"It's amazing how many people will approach you when you're on a horse," Bond said. "And it couldn't be a better place for it."

The mounted patrol could be used to build community rapport during parades or weekend festivals like Whittle the Wood. However, it would also serve a very functional purpose in helping law enforcement patrol more rugged parts of the county, assisting with search and rescue efforts or finding lost hunters.

Bond takes the work of protecting public safety quite seriously, but her genuine fondness for the people she serves is clear.

"If an individual has a rock solid character and they carry themselves and they lead with that, it translates well into everything they do," Hume said. "Dara certainly has the purpose, passion and pride for our community, for our chosen profession and the work that we engage in."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.