Bingham named TPD Civilian of the Year
Jack Bingham spent six years as Thomasville Police Department's lone animal control officer.
Officers during that time knew when Bingham didn't come to work, especially when animal calls came in.
"He is invaluable at his position," Capt. Darren Smith said. "He is definitely missed when he's not there. You know he's not there because the patrol guys have to pick up animal calls and they are never easy."
Bingham's importance came to the forefront on Dec. 7 as the department named him its 2013 Civilian of the Year.
"It's an honor and also a surprise," said Bingham. "It's nice being recognized for the time and effort you put into it."
Bingham, 49, came to TPD in 2008 after spending a nearly a decade in law enforcement, working at Kernersville Police Department and with the U.S. Marshals Service. Kernersville named Bingham its Officer of the Year for stopping a robbery in progress. Fellow officers at TPD mentioned the animal control officer position to Bingham, who was looking for a schedule change in order to spend more time with his family. He handles approximately 1,600 animal calls a year, and until the recent hire of a part-time animal control officer, had done it all by himself.
"It's very busy a lot of days," Bingham said. "There are some days that are very emotional dealing with the animals and their needs. There are some people who love their animals but don't know the proper way to take care of them, and that's what is heartbreaking.
"I like being able to help the animals, whether it's just relocating lost ones or helping someone with health care or food. I like being able to help the ones who can't help themselves."
Thomasville has a large population of stray animals. Rescued strays are taken to the Davidson County Animal Shelter, where they have a chance for adoption. Bingham feels citizens can help control the pet population by having their pets spayed or neutered. If a owner finds they are unable to properly care for an animal, Bingham hopes they would surrender it to the animal shelter rather than simply abandoning it.
"People should just use good common sense," said Bingham. "At least when an animal is at the shelter, it's out of the elements and being taken care. We're always hopeful for adoption."
Bingham lives in Thomasville with his wife, and is expecting his second grandchild in January.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.