Law enforcement officials say a new program in Catawba County will help them patrol the lake and could save a life.
The Catawba County Sheriff's Office is offering free dock signs as part of its dock watch program. Those signs can then be taken to the Sign Shop, a local signmaking company in Denver, where a resident's home address is displayed on reflective vinyl.
The cost to put the address on at the shop is $5 to $10, depending on the length of the address. But officials said those signs can make a big difference.
“Two years ago, we responded to a call about someone having a heart attack and we had trouble finding the house,” said Alan Minton, a deputy with the Catawba County Sheriff's Office lake patrol. “When you are dealing with something like that, time is of the essence.”
When 911 calls are made from a lakefront home, lake patrol officers are dispatched. Those officers said they know how to locate streets, but finding individual houses can be much harder because they are difficult to identify from the back, especially at night. It also helps them patrol docks better, because they know which ones are part of the dock watch system.
Jennifer Selevitch, the office manager at the Sign Shop, said she had only done a few signs so far but expected to do more once the word got out.
“People can just come here and fill out the paperwork,” she said. “We forward all that to the sheriff's office. It is a really beneficial thing.”
Terry Davis, an officer with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Lake Patrol, said he would like to see those kinds of signs become a requirement for lake homes.
“Everyone is supposed to have their house number on their home or mailbox, but you don't think about the back of the house,” he said. “You don't want to waste two or three minutes looking around. It would be really nice to have them everywhere.”