Highland Sheriff updates Board of Supervisors
Monterey, Va. – Since taking office in January, Highland County Sheriff Tim Duff and his staff have been very busy with training and dealing with a variety of calls for their services. That was the message Sheriff Duff had for the Board of Supervisors at their meeting last Tuesday in Monterey. Sandy Botkin is now the lead dispatcher and has graduated from the Supervisors School. Communications officer Davina Warner has just completed the Operations Certification training class put on by the Virginia Crime Information Network and the National Crime Information Center and Deputies Botkin and Wright have completed the street gang identification school. Sheriff Duff continues with additional training activities.
“Deputies Wagner, Neal, Wright and myself – I was the fourth – we went to the FBI school on domestic terrorism down in Covington,” he said. “Courthouse security – that was myself – given by the U.S. Marshall’s Service. Basically, it’s a seminar on how to protect everybody from the Commonwealth Attorney. But, it was extremely enlightening. Even though we are Highland County. Even though we got the ideal situation here – we all realize that – we’ve also had some threats, which you’ll hear about in just a few minutes. So, that training will come in handy this summer – I can absolutely absolutely guarantee that.”
Sheriff Duff goes on to talk about some more developments regarding courthouse communications and department vehicles.
“Deputy Wright is in charge of having all the new telephones installed in the courthouse,” he said. “We had three or four different systems in the courthouse. They all worked. They did not work office-to-office. They did not work to my office, directly. We now have what I call a state-of-the-art phone system n your courthouse and with more enhancements coming. And Lee – it didn’t cost the county a penny. I found the money.”
Supervisor Lee Blagg said, “You’re doing good.”
“Thank you. Deputy Neal is in charge of my vehicles. He has placed an order for one new SUV. All eight of us now have the new body armor, at no cost to the county.”
New side arms have been ordered and will arrive by August. They were purchased at no cost to the county. Sheriff Duff talks about the high number of domestic calls his office has received.
“We continue working closely with the Department of Social Services, doing home visits,” he said. “Weekly, we are going to homes, offering her protection, as well as advice and protocols. We have dealt with a higher than normal number of domestic situations since January. Two and three a week has become our norm. These repeated calls have resulted in a lot of arrests. Alcohol and pills continue to be the common denominator. Every house we go into, where there’s an argument, we’ve got pills, we’ve got alcohol, we’ve got firearms. I’ve issued 20 concealed carry permits since January 1.”
The Sheriff closed his report with his concerns about duties that are at times close to exceeding the limits of his department.
“Prisoner transports continue to stress my manpower limits,” he said. “We’re making another prisoner transport tomorrow. Last Thursday, we did nine in one day. On paper, that’s not possible. We did nine in one day. These deputies came in on their off-time to make the transfers.”
Sheriff Duff plans to make monthly reports to the Board of Supervisors in the future.