By Ben Orcutt -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County Sheriff's Office experienced a good year in 2010, according to Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron, who is looking for more of the same in 2011.
"I think we always rate as far as our office goes a major accomplishment is ensuring the safety of the community," McEathron said. "I think that's always [at] the top of our minds and we think we've done a good job of that over the last year and look forward to doing that again next year."
A major accomplishment in 2010 was beginning construction on a new public safety building that will house the agency, McEathron said.
"We're able to see that start to happen now and look forward into next year of that being completed and us moving into a new facility," McEathron said. "The original timeline, which we expect to be the same as it was then, is December -- this time next year we should be in our new facility if everything holds to the original timeline."
The new public safety building, which will be located near Skyline High School, will give the Sheriff's Office a number of advantages, McEathron said.
"We'll have a lot of different things that are at our disposal right there with a forensic-type lab and processing bays and all those different things," he said. "What it'll do is it'll help the situation to where you have areas of expertise, such as our computer crimes unit and those kind of things will have an office and equipment and everything designated specifically for that instead of working out of a closet."
McEathron also was pleased to announce that most serious crime was held in check again in 2010.
"We like to think it's because of good law enforcement services and being out there and being proactive," McEathron said. "We have a lot in our community, but nothing has seriously gone up in any type of crime statistics or anything like that. We seem to have remained pretty consistent over the several years of what we have experienced and what goes on in Warren County."
McEathron, who became sheriff in 2004 and who overseers roughly 78 sworn officers, said the community plays a big role in helping to curb crime.
"We always have had [a] good relationship with the community," he said. "People let us know if there's a concern in certain areas or what may be going on. ... Obviously they've taken ownership in their own community and their subdivisions and making sure that they notify us if they see something that may be of [a] criminal nature or something that may be of concern."
Much of the 216 square miles in Warren County is mountainous, which can make for difficult navigating during inclement weather. However, McEathron said the department fared well during the major snowstorms in 2010.
"Last year with the enormous snow that we had and accumulation, we never had a bit [of] a problem with getting out in the sense of nobody being stuck at the office because they couldn't get out with a vehicle," he said.
"We have the four-wheel drives that we've been working for for years, and it definitely paid off last year because every deputy could [get] out there and respond to situations if they needed to."
In addition to keeping criminals at bay and catching the bad guys, McEathron also is proud of the community work that his officers perform.
"We have our operation telephone that we check on anywhere from 38 to 50 residents a year depending on how many's on the list and then we do have assistance that we give to other organizations out there in their time of need or transportation or delivery of [different] things," he said.
"A citizen knows that it may not fall within a certain job description of what a deputy may do but anytime they need something, it may be something very, very simple or not necessarily a law-enforcement type complaint or issue, but they know the deputy is going to respond and take care of their problem."