Community resource officer Shryock says he wants to help
Woodford County native Patrick Shryock started a new chapter in his law enforcement career when he began his duties as community resource officer for the Versailles Police Department April 4.
It’s a role this father of three describes as a good fit.
“It was just a way to reconnect and be there for the citizens,” said Shryock, 44. “Whatever they need, I try to help them out the best way that I can.”
With a growing number of civic organizations, schools and churches in the community wanting an officer to come speak about a variety of topics, Versailles Police Chief James Fugate said there’s a need for a community resource officer. Other police departments in Kentucky and elsewhere also have community resource officers, he added.
“Police departments have gone beyond just your basic protect and serve, and are working more closely than ever with the community,” said Fugate. “So you need a position (in your department) that can act sort of as a liaison between us and the community.”
He said unlike patrol officers, Shryock has opportunities to really get to know people in the community so they’re more comfortable talking to him about whatever’s on their mind.
“One thing about Patrick,” said Assistant Chief Mike Murray, who will succeed Fugate as chief in September, “he’s a people person. He’s very approachable. He still has children in the schools.”
Besides offering advice on ways to stay safer at school or church, Murray said Shryock can rely on 20-plus years of law enforcement experience when sharing practical information to homeowners about how they can prevent break-ins. He will also be a familiar face to those attending neighborhood meetings, added Fugate.
“A lot of people,” said Murray, “still think that when they see a police officer all we do is arrest people. That’s just a small part of what we really do.”
The Versailles Police Department will begin offering help to those struggling with substance abuse through its Angel Program within the next 30 days. “If they have drugs or drug paraphernalia,” said Shryock, “they can turn those into us. They will not be charged with a crime for that, and we will help facilitate finding them a treatment facility to go to for treatment.” The Versailles Police Department will become one of a handful of law enforcement agencies in Kentucky with an Angel Program.
“…As far as trying to help people – counseling people, local law enforcement has been doing that for a long time,” said Fugate. He described the Angel Program as an opportunity to formulize “what we’ve been doing for years.”
“Our priorities are one, to protect the community, and two, to serve it. And sometimes that service includes assisting people in getting help when they need help,” said Fugate, who approached Shryock about becoming his department’s community resource officer in February or March.
Shryock, who retired from the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office in November 2017, said the position interested him because he wanted to get more involved in his community again.
Over his last six years with the sheriff’s office, Shryock was assigned to the DEA “so a lot of the things that I was doing were kind of behind the scenes. And I think being the community resource officer … will allow me to reconnect with the community where I was born and raised. Get out and reconnect with the people. Do some crime prevention,” he explained.
Shryock began his law enforcement career with the Versailles Police Department in 1998, where he was a patrol officer for five years. He started working at the sheriff’s office (serving as a D.A.R.E. officer for many years) in 2003 and stayed there until last November.