PCHS students get firsthand look at Polk County government

Students from Polk County High School recently toured Polk County government offices. They were addressed by several speakers who explained their various job functions in government operations.

Students from Jenny Wolfe’s Civics and Government Economics Class and Tim Wright’s Criminology and Juvenile Justice Class visited the Polk County Courthouse. They spoke with Judge Emily Cowan and District Attorney Greg Newman. who explained court procedures and constitutional amendments. The students were able to ask questions and observe the district court proceedings.

After the court proceedings, the tour continued in the Bryant H. Womack Building, where students were greeted by Polk County Manager, Marche Pittman. Pittman spoke about his job as the county manager and the budgeting process. He explained the responsibility of being the manager of many different departments within the county and closely working with each municipality.

Tryon Communications Supervisor Blake Arledge spoke to the students about his role in telecommunications and all the stressors included in being a dispatcher. Arledge explained how being the “Voice of the Department” was important because when someone calls for help, needing an immediate response or just simple information, the dispatcher’s voice and attitude is what the caller hears. He also explained the importance of getting vital information during a crisis situation and told of instances that helped him gain experience over the years.

Finally, officers Walt Brand and Jamie Shelton explained the duties and responsibilities of being a probation and parole officer. Officer Brand stated that their duties include transporting people once they have been released from prison back to their home in Polk County. They are responsible for administering drug screenings and overseeing home visits. This includes counseling and treatment services to drug or alcohol addicted offenders, and ensuring monies are paid for fines and fees that have incurred for court convictions.