I am Dakota R. Goins, born and raised in Scotland County, North Carolina. I am 22 years old and the oldest of five children. I attended Scotland Early College High School where I earned my associate degree in arts and graduated with my high school diploma. During high school, I joined a volunteer fire department and currently have been on the department for six years. I, then, attended UNCP and received my Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in 2019. Right after I received my bachelor’s degree, I enrolled in Basic Law Enforcement Training and completed the state-mandated courses to become a certified law enforcement officer in December of 2019. I applied for the City of Laurinburg's Police Department and officially got hired in February of 2020 and have been serving ever since.
COVID-19, informally known as the Coronavirus, is a pandemic that has impacted the whole world and our front-line workers are facing the disease more frequently than anyone possibly could. COVID-19 has impacted my job, my social life and the things I enjoyed doing and never thought to have those liberties impacted. As a firefighter, North Carolina requires a department member to have 36 hours of training a year and since Governor Roy Cooper issued the Stay at Home Order that restricts gatherings, the time where training meetings were the norm has been ceased. Trying to adapt to the changes this virus has brought is devastating and incoherent. On the law enforcement side, it has impacted my field training phase and has prolonged the process of me learning the necessary information to be released out of my field training. Our department has issued guidelines on how to respond to and take calls for service. I have been issued hand sanitizer canisters, liquid spray disinfectant, homemade and commercial-made face shields/masks, and even alcohol spray bottles. Trying to ensure we do not become victims of COVID-19 is a tough job, especially as front-line workers when we have no choice but to come in contact with people daily.
One thing I have learned from this pandemic is that no matter what life throws at you, always trust in the higher deity, always trust in your own instincts and always follow precautionary measures to stay safe and healthy.