On January 1, 2012 I took office as your Sheriff for the County of Franklin. The past few years have been a whirlwind of activity as we have continually identified and developed partnerships and built bridges in order to restore the trust and credibility of the Office of the Sheriff. I remain humbled by the response of the citizens of the community as we open our doors to show the integrity, accountability and productiveness that has been established over the course of the last three years.
I am exceedingly appreciative to the men and women that have dedicated their lives to public service and continue to work tirelessly to move forward the mission and vision that I have for this exceptional organization. I am also extremely grateful to the citizens of the community that have expressed their insights and conceptions for this organization. Their ideas and dedication to their values have helped us achieve a great number of accomplishments in such a short period of time. Without their support and trust we could not have accomplished the many initiatives that have helped develop our community into a much safer place to raise our families.
Since my time in office we have been able to train and implement a number of participants in the Citizens on Patrol Service (C.O.P.S.) and continue to expand this cooperation beyond its initial implementation. In 2012 we fully implemented Bullying Awareness Programs in all elementary schools throughout the County. That same year we established the Professional Standards Unit which consists of a number of other subsets, including: Public Information, Crime Analysis, Youth Services, Property and Evidence, Domestic Violence Victim Advocate, and Internal Training. In 2013 the Sheriff's Office underwent a total re-organization that allocated additional resources to the community allowing for a greater reduction in officer response times. We then went on to meet all accreditation standards and became state accredited through the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission in Fall of 2014.
Officer safety was also a huge priority for the Sheriff's Office. Patrol deputies now possess less-than-lethal equipment to help them negotiate the most difficult of situations. The addition and grand opening of the West Lake Substation occurred in 2014. This allowed for additional assets to be allocated to the highest population centers of the County while preserving resources for all other districts. All these accomplishments and more have occurred while remaining significantly under budget each and every year.
As we move forward, it is my sincere desire and commitment to work with the citizens of the County to identify and implement initiatives that will advance "our" vision of creating a safe environment for all our citizens to work, relax and raise their families. It is my belief that we can continue to make even more progress and tackle new initiatives in future years, as we partner together to build a safer Franklin County.