Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

October 30, 2012

Cruise patrol —  Help for small town departments

Many small town police departments across our region often face a daily struggle when it comes to available manpower and resources.

When an emergency occurs — as we are seeing at this very moment with the arrival of the monster “Frankenstorm” in the region — we expect a quick a response from police, fire and rescue personnel. However, when small town departments are lacking in available resources and manpower, such a timely response can often be challenging.

That’s why a one-time only grant program through the Department of Criminal Justice Services should go a long way in helping at least three police agencies in our region.

The one-time grant program is providing a brand new 2013 Dodge Charger patrol car to the Bland County Sheriff’s Department, the Cedar Bluff Police Department and the Haysi Police Department. Bland County received not only a new police cruiser, but also grant funding.

“We were pleased that we were selected out of the 55 departments that applied for the grant,” Sonya Ramsey, director of administration for Bland County, said last week. “It was only available to departments with 10 or fewer law enforcement officers. It saves us $30,000, so it means a lot to the county.”

Cedar Bluff Police Chief Dave Mills traveled to Richmond last week to pick up the town’s new patrol car. Mills said the budgets of small town police departments like Cedar Bluff have been struggling in recent months thanks in part to the national economy. He says the new police cruiser will be a tremendous help to the police department.

Cedar Bluff currently has four, full-time police officers and a few auxiliary officers.

Bland County Sheriff Jerry Thompson says his department has only 10 deputies. Thompson expects to have the new police cruiser on the road within the next week. Bland County also didn’t have any money in its budget for a new patrol car, according to County Administrator Eric Workman.

The one-time federal funding assistance for the three Southwest Virginia police agencies is welcomed. The new police cruisers will be put to good work. We congratulate the Bland County Sheriff’s Department, the Haysi Police Department and the Cedar Bluff Police Department on being selected to receive the new police cruisers.

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