Curry reflects on time as sheriff at Kiwanis meeting

Helena Kiwanis Club President Dan Dearing, (left) with guest speaker Sheriff Chris Curry and wife, Pam are pictured here with vice president Luther Jarmon and Gerald Waldrop.

Helena Kiwanis Club President Dan Dearing, (left) with guest speaker Sheriff Chris Curry and wife, Pam are pictured here with vice president Luther Jarmon and Gerald Waldrop.

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Sheriff Chris Curry and his wife, Pam, joined members of Helena Kiwanis Club for the December meeting.

Guest speaker Curry, recently honored as Citizen of the Year by South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, noted that he has loved serving his three terms and welcomed the opportunity to make a difference.

“I am, however,” he added, “looking forward to retirement in January 2015.”

At that time Deputy Chief John Samaniego, winner of the November election, will take over.

Curry noted his belief that we can change the world one person at a time and has sought to make a difference in the lives of those he encountered.

“Our monthly meetings with the police chiefs and district attorneys have been successful in seeking input and solutions within law enforcement community,” he said.

After asking for questions from those in attendance, he noted, “We live in a very safe county, but it is not perfectly safe. Three main issues that create problems today are drugs, identity theft and property theft.”

He gave the example of an inmate in the Alabama state prison who filled false tax returns and collected $33,000.

“The amount lost to false tax returns is astonishing,” he said. “There are many kinds of scams; fake lotteries, promoted by smooth-talking telemarketers and often it’s the elderly who are the victims.”

Stolen Social Security numbers and information are sold to individuals who then proceed to use it illegally.

Bootleggers (once prolific in the county) are now a thing of the past in Shelby County, Curry observed.

Dogfighting is on the wane, Curry said, then shared an amusing story about cockfighting.

Counterfeiters have been deterred by the new ways in which money is printed.

Curry spoke at length about current drugs issues including the reintroduction of heroin, prescription pill use and marijuana as well as potentially lethal manufactured brain-altering drugs.

“Drugs rob every young person who uses them of their personal potential,” he said.

During his last term, Curry took charge of placing police officers in each county school after the Sandy Hook incident, believing a safety envelope was “a necessary psychological protection for administration, teachers and students.”