Farmville police launch new position, focus on communication

Published 1:51 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

FARMVILLE – Communication between local government agencies and the public is usually a top priority. Now, the Farmville Police Department has added a new position to help keep communication open and consistent. 

Sam Bowles is in the new position of special projects for the Farmville Police Department. He has worked with the police department for over 10 years formerly working as the dispatch supervisor. Having a masters degree in public relations, this new position created a perfect transition. 

“Ultimately this was something where I was at the right place at the right time,” said Bowles. “I think it’s neat that we are able to have a  public information officer now.”

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The job of special projects comes with many hats that Bowles is happy to wear. Part of the job is acting as the public information officer (PIO) that many police departments have to help communicate with the public about what incidents are taking place and what they need to know for their safety. According to Bowles, one of the officers was acting as the PIO while also doing their other responsibilities making it tough to juggle both. Now, Bowles can be on the scene of major incidences working alongside the police and fire departments allowing the other officers to focus on their responsibilities at the scene. 

Farmville police go social

Along with acting as the PIO, Bowles is in charge of the department’s social media. The main four social media accounts the department is using are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Nextdoor. According to Bowles, he is encouraging everyone to get on Nextdoor. This app connects verified residents of the same neighborhoods. Many people use this to sell or buy items, seek information or get information out quickly in case of an emergency.

“We’re really trying to push residents to use Nextdoor and to utilize it because it’s an easy way for us to get information out quickly,” said Bowles. “It helps everyone be a little more informed about what’s happening around them.”

Lastly, another large part of his job is searching for grants and keeping up with the department’s accreditation requirements. At the November 2021 Farmville Town Council meeting, Chief Andy Ellington reported that the department received its third accreditation recognizing it as a Virginia Law Enforcement professional standards commission accredited agency for the next four years. In preparation for the next and future accreditations, Bowles will keep track of requirements and paperwork to make sure the department keeps its accreditation.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Bowles.