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ECSO talks business safety

ECSO Chief Deputy Mike Lambert talks business safety Thursday morning at The Coffee House. photo by Blake Bell/Atmore Advance

ECSO Chief Deputy Mike Lambert talks business safety Thursday morning at The Coffee House. photo by Blake Bell/Atmore Advance

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Lambert had more than just coffee on his mind Thursday morning at the Atmore Chamber of Commerce’s regular Business and Breakfast event.

Lambert took the floor at The Coffee House on Ridgeley Street to share some pointers on how local businesses can better protect themselves and their employees.

“Just be aware of your surroundings; where you’re going and what you’re doing,” Lambert said, adding an efficient way to stay safe is to keep cell phones ready to call for emergency help. “Keep your cell phone with you. If you are going and coming to your car or work at night, dial 911 and put your thumb over the send button. It doesn’t cost you a thing and you won’t be in trouble if you dial it. If you do bump it, (you just say), ‘I’m sorry, it was an accident.’”

Lambert said now is a pertinent time to share safety information, as many locals remain on edge after several high-profile arrests in the area – including the end of the manhunt of alleged killers William Boyette and Mary Rice.

“You just don’t know, Lambert said. “Even in this community here, everyone was in a scare because of the Boyette situation.”

Lambert said the search for the couple produced massive amounts of tips flooding the sheriff’s office, adding businesses with surveillance equipment are helpful in nailing down which leads are credible.

“We had just tremendous sightings of (Boyette) and we have to go to those,” he said. “If some of those people would have had video cameras in some of these places, that maybe would have made a difference on solving things quicker.”

For businesses considering upgrading security equipment, or simply looking for safety tips, Lambert said the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office can help.

“We work very closely with the respective police jurisdictions, but we will be glad to come in and do what we call an assessment,” he said. “Blind spots and places you need to be aware of; lighting and other things like that, to make sure you are in a safer environment for you to go in and out. And in the event that you did have a crime occur, we would maybe be set up so there would be more evidence there for us to solve it in a faster manner.”

Lambert also said reporting any suspicious behavior or incidents is crucial to his department’s ability to both solve and deter criminal activity.

“We have an anonymous tip line. Nobody will ever know it was you. I get emails and text messages all the time. I never know who you are, but (if you call) you may be the very one who broke the case.”

Lambert said calls can be placed to (251) 809-2154, while emails can be sent to escambiacountysheriffal.org.