Police, media come together for annual PIO Luncheon in North Augusta

September 27, 2018

Representatives from several Aiken County law enforcement agencies had lunch with members from local media organizations Wednesday to make relationships and discuss collaboration.

The Public Information Officer and Media luncheon, organized this year by the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, was held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Hut, 501 East Buena Vista Ave. in North Augusta.

The public information officers with the different agencies spoke to members of print, broadcast and internet media in the Aiken-Augusta area, who in turn got the chance to ask questions and discuss ways of providing and obtaining information to help establish a more effective relationship between law enforcement and the media.

Lt. Tim Thornton, with North Augusta Public Safety, led the luncheon by explaining what PIO’s do and why it’s important. Thornton said it’s important for police and media to find a common ground together to get important information out to the community.

“I am the main PIO with North Augusta Public Safety, which means I’m the person to call with questions or needs,” Thornton said.

PIO’s with the Aiken Department of Public Safety and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office also spoke at the event.

Lt. Jake Mahoney, a PIO with Aiken Public Safety, offered up an updated policy for members of the media.

“If there’s something in that policy we’re not doing – you need to let us know,” Mahoney said. “We view the media as our partners. The opportunity for law enforcement and all these other agencies to engage with local media is important. It’s all about working together with a goal of ultimately improving our community.”

Mahoney is just one of six other officers at Aiken Public Safety who switch around the title of PIO.

Capt. Eric Abdullah, with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, is the only PIO with his agency, unless he is off.

“I have a great respect for what (the media) does and I know you all are counting on me to get you information when something happens in the county,” Abduallah said. “Just know I’ll do my best to get the information you need as quickly as possible.”

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