Sutherly fills recent vacancies for Strasburg police

STRASBURG – Police Chief Tim Sutherly has turned to two veterans of his department to fill investigator positions left vacant by a pair of resignations in December.

Sutherly said Wednesday that Wayne Sager and John Magdinic have replaced investigators Larry Crum and Amy Atkison.

Crum and Atkison’s departures followed the retirement of Deputy Chief Jerome Robinson a few weeks earlier. Sutherly has not commented on the reasons why the three left in quick succession.

Sutherly said he is promoting from within the department, as the chain reaction started by the departures of Crum and Atkison creates other vacancies and subsequent promotions. Sutherly said he is in the process of hiring certified police officers to replace those who are moving upward in the ranks.

Sutherly said he is uncertain whether he will hire a new deputy chief or leave the job vacant.

“Right now, we’re keeping it vacant,” Sutherly said of the deputy chief position. “Right now, we’re evaluating the department, and we’ll see what the department needs are and see if we need an extra officer on the street rather than a deputy chief.”

Sutherly said the 17-member department has responded well to the sudden vacancies in three of its top positions.

“Of course we lost a lot of experience,” Sutherly said. “There’s a void there, but other people are stepping up and filling the positions as best they can. We’re moving forward, and I feel good about it.”

On another matter, Sutherly said he is holding off on making a formal declaration of his candidacy for Shenandoah County sheriff, despite forming an exploratory committee in March to begin preparing for a campaign.

State law prohibits candidates from collecting petitions needed to declare their candidacy until Jan. 1. Sheriff Timothy C. Carter formally announced Monday he is a candidate for re-election.

“I’m still laying out our options and moving forward,” Sutherly said. “I have not turned in any petitions or anything like that. I’m not prepared to make an announcement or anything like that.”

Asked whether the need to solidify personnel changes in the department might keep him from running for sheriff, Sutherly replied: “I wouldn’t say so. I’m still keeping all my options open at this point. I wouldn’t necessarily say that would deter me.

“I would want to make sure the department is in capable hands. My priority right now is taking care of the department and keeping us on the right track.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com