Vinton Town Council accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time at the meeting on May 3. A new police officer was sworn in, proclamations were issued for National Police Week, GBS/CIDP Awareness Month, and Professional Municipal Clerks Week; and two resolutions were adopted.
Police Chief Fabricio Drumond introduced Vinton’s newest law enforcement officer– Officer Jesse Dibble, who was then sworn in by Town Clerk Susan Johnson.
Deputy Police Chief Tim Lawless shared Dibble’s background. He is a military veteran having served in the United States Navy from 1994-1996. He has been a sworn officer since 2000 and started his law enforcement career with the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office in an auxiliary position in court security. In 2002 he accepted a job with the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office as Patrol Supervisor, Narcotics K9 Handler, SWAT team leader, and Field Training Officer.
Officer Dibble joined the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in 2013 when he moved to Roanoke, where he served in an auxiliary capacity, but stayed very active in patrol and also in the Marine Patrol on Smith Mountain Lake.
He has a long history of public service, joining the Orange County Rescue Squad at age 14 as a junior squad member and ran calls until he joined the Navy. Ironically, the truck number he was normally assigned to was truck 232– his badge number with Vinton.
Dibble is the founder and director of the (Master Sergeant) George A. Bannar, Jr. Scholarship. Bannar was a high school friend and Special Forces medic killed in action in 2013. To date the scholarship has been able to award six $1,000 scholarships to graduating JROTC cadets at Orange County High School. A seventh will be awarded on May 10.
Dibble is also the co-founder and vice president of “Queen City Rucking for 22,” a veteran- and first responder-based non-profit designed to align veterans and first responders with outreach programs to reduce veteran and first responder suicides. To date the fund has raised over $15,000.
Officer Dibble’s daughter, Harper, was also introduced to council. She is an avid dancer and has her own charity with Ronald McDonald House, raising over $3,000 over a two-year period.
Council issued a proclamation declaring May 15-21 as National Police Week. Mayor Brad Grose commended Chief Drumond for the high quality of officers being recruited and hired by the town.
Chief Drumond thanked Town Council and town staff for the “tremendous support” shown to the police department.
“Any American who gives his life in the defense of our communities deserves everlasting memories in our hearts,” Drumond said. “National Police Week gives recognition to those in our profession that have lost their lives in the line of duty. Day in and day out, law enforcement officers throughout the nation fulfill their oath of office. In 2021, 616 law enforcement professionals gave their lives to the communities they serve.
“Any officer who loses his or her life, strikes the core of our beloved profession,” Drumond said. “During National Police Week, we recognize the thousands of police officers who have left us far too early, but left making an impact in our communities. May we find comfort in knowing that those officers have been promoted and are now graduated to serve with the Lord.
“A law enforcement officer wears the badge for the single principle of love of service and the preservation of the rule of law. It is our profession, the law enforcement profession, that preserves the sanctity of life in our nation. It is the selfless sacrifice and the final actions of those who pay the ultimate sacrifice that solidify that there is no greater calling than to serve others in time of need. We are a profession built on the premise of safeguarding our beloved community.
“During National Police Week, we honor the fallen and we reflect on the path of the law enforcement officer and the oath that we take. Our profession will always remain united by a common goal—to protect our communities and hold the fine line that separates order from disorder.
“Thank you all for the recognition and believing in the service we provide for our community,” said Drumond. “We are blessed to serve our community alongside each of you.”
Council next issued a proclamation in recognition of the month of May as “Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) Awareness Month.” Rick Forney, GBS/CIDP Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Southwest Virginia Liaison, spoke about these catastrophic disorders and the attempts to provide a support network for patients, physicians, nurses, and families, as well as funding continued research.
Town Manager Pete Peters read a heartfelt proclamation in honor and recognition of Town Clerk Susan Johnson, which declares May 1-7 as Professional Municipal Clerks Week in the Town of Vinton. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan established Professional Municipal Clerks Week recognizing the essential role municipal clerks play in local government. When Peters read the proclamation—a surprise to Johnson—he attested to the all-important role Johnson plays in local government in Vinton and her exemplary dedication to the community she serves. Other town staff present, along with council members, echoed his sentiments.
Town Council adopted a resolution awarding a Construction Engineering, Management, and Inspection Services contract and authorizing the town manager to execute the contract with Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA) for the Walnut Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations Project from 5th Street to the town’s west limits.
This project, long in the works, is financed through the Roanoke Valley Transportation Policy Organization (RVTPO) Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP)/Set-Aside Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program.
Four proposals were received when the RFP was issued in October 2021 and four firms were interviewed before WRA was selected.
Council also adopted a resolution authorizing the town manager to execute a Parking Lot Lease and a Right of First Refusal for Purchase between David McClung II and the Town of Vinton for approximately 1.5 acres located at 7 Walnut Avenue, near the Vinton Farmers’ Market.
The 10-year parking lot lease will provide the town with additional public parking of about 100 spaces for its farmers’ market, downtown businesses, and special events. The cost of rental will be $1,200 in the first year. The Purchase Right of First Refusal will provide the town the opportunity to purchase the property during the term of lease to protect the town’s investment in making improvements to the parking lot on the property. The base purchase price is $400,000. This project will be under the supervision of Vinton’s new Capital Projects Manager Jamie Hurt.