Sheriff asks for funds to buy vehicles, hire officer

Timothy C. Carter

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders plan to consider several funding requests for law enforcement.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter recently asked the Board of Supervisors if he could use federal money awarded to his agency to buy vehicles and equipment and to fund a school resource officer. The Sheriff’s Office would use asset forfeiture funds – money awarded to the agency for its participation in federal law enforcement investigations. The funds come from assets seized in such operations. The sheriff has to submit requests each time he wants to use funds from this source.

Carter asked for $281,777 in asset-forfeiture funds to buy four patrol vehicles with related equipment as well as a school resource officer for Strasburg High School and the necessary gear.

The four vehicles would cost $207,096. The price includes emergency equipment and installation costs. Carter pointed out at the board’s work session Thursday that he included the request for new vehicles in his proposed budget for fiscal 2017. However, the budget recently adopted by the board limited spending across all departments and did not include funding for new vehicles.

Carter states in his memorandum with the request that the county normally replaces his agency’s vehicles, and the asset-sharing funds supplement the locality. The county did not do this in each of the past three fiscal years nor include such provisions in the next budget cycle.

“The county has continually not provided this basic equipment for the protection of my staff and the public we serve,” Carter states.

At the meeting, Carter said his agency tries to reuse as much of the equipment from vehicles as possible. However, by the time they retire a vehicle, the equipment, such as the in-car cameras, has become obsolete, Carter explained.

The sheriff’s office also plans to use $57,120 for a school resource officer assigned to Strasburg High School and $17,561 to cover the deputy’s gear. Strasburg Police Department has considered no longer providing a resource officer at the high school beginning in July. The Sheriff’s Office assigns officers to all county school facilities.

Carter also has requested that the board appropriate $9,000 to his agency’s budget, specifically to the line item for travel and lodging expenses. The amount represents a reimbursement for an officer’s training.

Also at the meeting, Carter asked the board to consider approving an agreement his agency has with Edinburg to provide law enforcement to the town. Edinburg receives certain funds from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The state agency has informed the sheriff that the county must serve as a third party to the agreement to provide law enforcement for the town. Edinburg receives approximately $20,000 from the state agency that it uses to offset the $90,000 it pays the county for law enforcement services. The town is not obligated to provide law enforcement nor does it have to pay the county for the services, Carter said.

The board plans to consider Carter’s requests at a future meeting.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com