MILTON, Ga. — If you’ve got a problem, Community Outreach Officer Ara Baronian is your Milton Police Department go-to man.
“On a daily basis, I’m tasked with responding to citizen complaints and concerns, and assisting the uniform patrol and criminal investigation divisions with current issues,” Baronian said.
When Baronian isn’t problem solving, you’ll find him around town at local businesses or schools, holding seminars in safety, crime prevention or whatever topic he’s asked to discuss.
But that’s not all the community outreach officer does for the city.
Since starting with the department in 2010, he has worked to strengthen the relationship between the community and the department through various community relations programs.
Each year, Baronian hosts two Drug Enforcement Agency Drug Take-Back programs and one 10-week Citizens’ Police Academy.
He’s also the lead for MPACT, the neighborhood watch program used by 27 communities in Milton.
“MPACT is a huge program that involves three to six months of time with each subdivision,” he said. “I host three mandatory seminars for each community at City Council chambers.”
Baronian then assigns the neighborhood an officer but continues to stay involved with each community to a lesser degree.
He is a certified R.A.D. (rape, aggression and defense) systems instructor and runs about six programs yearly.
Jason Wright, the city’s communications manager, said Baronian is an asset to Milton’s outreach efforts because he’s a personable and professional face for the city’s top-notch police department.
“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Officer Baronian a number of times, and I always come away impressed by how well he’s able to grab an audience, build their trust and explain the intricacies of police work to them in a simple, enjoyable way,” said Wright. “He’s the perfect officer to give our residents a view into their police department.”
Baronian also runs an internship program for law enforcement college students.
“I host interns who need to complete anywhere from 150 to 200 hours for college credit,” he said.
This year, he organized the department’s first K-9 golf tournament to raise funds to purchase a new K-9 officer and train his handler.
With the help of the new K-9 handler, Officer Christopher Ward, the tournament raised about $30,000 for the program.
“We were really pleased with the success of the tournament and the way the community came together to help,” Baronian said.
He uses his knowledge and experience outside of his regular duties too, teaching in both Cambridge and Milton high schools’ law and justice programs.
He volunteers for several committees including Crime Prevention of North Fulton County and the Milton Community Alliance for Mental Health.
In his spare time, he continues his personal law enforcement education by attending about 100 hours of annual training.
Originally from the Canadian east coast, Baronian spent the last 20 years in the U.S. and Switzerland before moving to Georgia in 2009.
He graduated with a degree in business from Virginia Commonwealth University, spent some time in the pharmaceuticals field and then in sports training before entering law enforcement.
“I joined the Milton Police Department because of a lifelong interest in law enforcement and to help understand how to better protect and keep our children safe,” he said.
Milton resident Claudine Wilkins has participated in both the Citizens’ Police Academy and the R.A.D. self defense training. She said she’s happy to have a community outreach officer so dedicated to the city.
“Officer Baronian takes his job seriously,” she said. “He truly wants to educate the community and keep Milton a safe place to live.”