Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

December 27, 2013

Mutual aid: Agreement will help Tazewell, Russell

— — When localities are willing to work together, and share both ideas and resources for a common cause, it benefits the region as a whole. That’s why we welcome a new mutual aid agreement planned between law enforcement officials in the neighboring counties of Tazewell and Russell.

Since many parts of Tazewell and Russell counties are intertwined, the proposed agreement would allow the two counties to provide emergency police aid across jurisdictional boundaries. The agreement aims to increase the ability of local law enforcement agencies in the two counties to promote public safety and protect the general welfare of citizens in the two counties, according to Charlie Stacy, the Eastern District member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

The draft agreement is currently in its final stages, and should be effective within the next couple of weeks, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said last week.

“Russell County already has similar agreements with other bordering counties,” Hieatt said. “For example, if a fight breaks out in Russell County and a Tazewell County deputy is closer, they will have the power to proceed responding. Since the county lines can be very difficult to judge, such as when the borderline runs through a house where the front porch is in Tazewell and the other half of the house is in Russell.”

That’s why this mutual aid agreement is such a logical proposal. In a perfect world, all neighboring counties would consider such agreements. Hieatt says the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office already has a good working relationship with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office. He hopes the mutual aid agreement will help to further enhance the working relationship of the neighboring counties.

We believe it will. And we would encourage other neighboring localities across our region to consider similar agreements. Regional cooperation, after all, is the key to future growth. A good example is the great potential of linking or connecting the Hatfield-McCoy Trail in southern West Virginia with the new Spearhead Trail in Southwest Virginia near the neighboring towns of Bramwell in Mercer County and Pocahontas in Tazewell County.

Regional cooperation is a simple concept — area towns, cities and counties working together toward common goals and shared objectives. We are much stronger as a region when we work together in a unified voice. And the same goes for local law enforcement agencies.

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