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Sheriff deputies arm themselves with blankets

Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Courtney Taylor puts bags with blankets in them into the back of a deputy’s SUV Thursday. The blankets were collected late last year during a drive and will be loaded into each patrol car to be distributed at the scenes of fires, crimes, and to those in need. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Courtney Taylor puts bags with blankets in them into the back of a deputy’s SUV Thursday. The blankets were collected late last year during a drive and will be loaded into each patrol car to be distributed at the scenes of fires, crimes, and to those in need. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Sometimes a warm blanket can make a big difference when you’ve had a difficult night — or maybe year.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office had a drive to collect blankets late last year, and now deputies will be loading several blankets into each patrol vehicle to give out at the scenes of fires, crimes and any other way needed, ACSO Spokeswoman Courtney Taylor said.

“Every once in a while they will happen upon someone who is transient, and especially at this time of year those blankets can be really needed,” she said.

Grand Hotel Manager Walter Tipton shakes hands with Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield while office spokesperson Courtney Taylor stands between them. Tipton and the Grand Hotel donated blankets to a sheriff’s office drive late last year. The blankets will be loaded into each patrol car to be distributed at the scenes of fires, crimes, and to those in need. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Grand Hotel Manager Walter Tipton shakes hands with Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield while office spokesperson Courtney Taylor stands between them. Tipton and the Grand Hotel donated blankets to a sheriff’s office drive late last year. The blankets will be loaded into each patrol car to be distributed at the scenes of fires, crimes, and to those in need. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

“But you’d also be amazed at how many times a blanket can be needed at the scene of a (crime or accident) response.”

Because deputies are out in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they often see more opportunities to help those in need, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

“We see things out there that nobody else sees, and we want to be able to help these people,” he said. “A lot of times, the deputies know where someone is out there living in the woods, at these little tent camps that will spring up from time-to-time, and they see these guys when we go out there to check on them.

“A lot of times a deputy will come in and feel bad because they wanted to help but couldn’t. I know there have been times that deputies have given money out of their pockets — and I have, too — because the folks we met didn’t have the resources they needed.”

Two significant donors to the blanket drive were the Natchez Key Club and the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Grand Hotel Manager Walter Tipton said the hotel periodically changes out the spare blankets in all of its rooms, and when it did so most recently, the hotel decided to give them to the sheriff’s office.

“One of the key measures of a community is how it treats its people, so this was an easy cause for us to support,” Tipton said. “It was time for us to change out the blankets at the hotel, so it was a perfect fit for us.”

In addition to having deputies distribute blankets as needed, Taylor said the ACSO has been able to give away two sleeping bags that were donated, give bedding to a woman who had recently been made homeless but had found housing and provide bedding to someone who was living in a habitable structure but sleeping on the floor.