The Vinton Police Department presented the annual Police Department Awards for 2017 at the Vinton Town Council meeting on June 5, 2018.
The Traffic Safety Award was presented to Officer Jeremy Shrewsbury, who in 2017 issued 423 total traffic summonses, 151 speeding and reckless driving, 29 occupant protection, and 16 DUIs.
Officer Matthew Stafford from the DUI Task Force won the award for Traffic Safety-DUI with 45 DUIs, 337 traffic summonses, 93 for speeding and reckless driving, and 45 unlicensed and suspended drivers.
Officer Adam Hoover was presented the Traffic Safety Award-Drugs with 45 drug cases of note. In September 2017 he was named Officer of the Month for a traffic stop resulting in the seizure of 34.4 grams of cocaine, 48.4 grams of crystal meth, 16.5 ounces of marijuana, 56 oxycodone pills, a 2014 Toyota Corolla, and $4,039 in cash.
Officer Danny Cox received the 2017 Traffic Award-Drugs with 45 drug cases of note; he was named Officer of the Month multiple times for his actions in drug cases, including an October 2017 traffic stop of a known wanted offender resulting in the seizure of marijuana and a stolen firearm possessed by a felon.
In presenting these awards, Lt. Glenn Austin described the actions of these officers as examples of “pro-active enforcement, self-generated and self-initiated.”
Deputy Chief of Police Fabricio Drumond presented the Leadership Award for 2017 to Sgt. Michael Caldwell, voted by his peers on the police force.
“I am a firm believer that that leadership is a choice,” said Drumond. “Leadership is hard, sometimes lonely and requires sacrifice. Leaders choose to sacrifice so that their people may be safe, protected, and so that others may gain. Because of how they approach their work, their attitude, and their lives—by that virtue they are leaders. The paradox of a leader is that they become leaders because they make others better than themselves.”
Sgt. Caldwell had been voted by his peers as Officer of the Year for the previous year and so presented the Officer of the Year Award this year to Officer Jeremy Shrewsbury.
“The law enforcement officer goes to work in unpredictable conditions, unpredictable weather, and unpredictable circumstances,” said Caldwell. “The possibility of not returning home, a mere thought, but it still exists. It takes an individual six-tenths of a second to raise a gun and fire it. It takes even the best-trained officer eight-tenths of a second to mentally process what is occurring. The odds are heavily against the officer. No matter the element of danger, it will always be outweighed by the greater good.
“A law enforcement officer will run toward what most of us will run away from,” Caldwell said. “Today, we are here to recognize one officer, recognized by his peers, for his devotion to the town, the agency, and the profession. This officer has exhibited exemplary skills, a can-do attitude, and a want to succeed. This officer serves this community with excellence, compassion, and fairness. For someone so young in his law enforcement career to exhibit such strong character and skill in being a well-rounded officer is a blessing for our team. We look forward to watching him grow and become an even better person than he is now.”
Capt. Drumond thanked the families of the police officers in the Vinton Police Department for their all-important support and sacrifice.
Police Chief Tom Foster introduced their summer intern, Anna Jones, a college Criminal Justice major, who will be researching and writing the history of the Vinton Police Department.
Council adopted an ordinance approving the Town of Vinton budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2018. The budget of $12,358,429 includes $8,194,562 in the General Fund, $33,903 in the Grant Fund, $3,720,200 in the Utility Fund, and $409,764 in the Stormwater Fund.
CIP funding projects in the General Fund include the lease purchase of police vehicles, replacement of the Knuckle-boom bulk refuse truck, and $30,000 for maintenance on Garthright Bridge.
Utility Fund CIP projects include radio read meters, a utility full-size pick-up 4×4, computer replacement, generator connections at the Mountain View Pump Station, the Stonebridge well, and the Toddsbury Pump Station, and installation of doors on the heated bay at Public Works.
Extensive discussions on the budget and a public hearing were held in past months. Changes to the budget initially proposed include a re-appropriated fund balance of $190,000 for purchase of trash cans for residents, an increase in contributions to RVTV, bridge maintenance funding, re-allocation of funds to a non-department transfer account to fund an employee bonus mid-year, and elimination of three unfunded positions—one in Fire/EMS, one in Public Works, and one in the Police Department.
Finance Director Anne Cantrell said that the budget allows the town to provide “the same level of services to our citizens with minimal impact to town employees.”
The Town of Vinton has 85 budgeted full-time employees: three in administration, five in Finance, 11 in Fire/EMS, one in Human Resources, three in Planning and Zoning, 26 in the Police Department, 33 in Public Works, one in Special Programs, and two at the Vinton War Memorial.
The budget in its entirety is available online at www.vintonva.gov.
Council also adopted an ordinance amending the “rates of license taxes” in the Town Code to align with surrounding jurisdictions. A public hearing was previously held on the increase. No communications have been received in opposition to increasing business license tax rates and the minimum gross receipts eligible for taxes (from $100,000 to $125,000).
Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of the American Anti-Corruption Act that had been brought to council several weeks ago by William Byrd High School students in the Democracy Matters Club. Senior Tessa Yarbrough led the group asking council to pass the resolution advocating for free and fair elections and campaign finance reform— a non-binding, non-partisan statement of support.
The resolution encourages Congress and the General Assembly to enact legislation dealing with campaign finance, transparency and fairness in the election process, limitations on the time period when government officials can become lobbyists, the funding of political campaigns, and redistricting reform.
Public Works Director Joey Hiner gave a report from the Public Works Committee. Some issues that the committee is working through include a stormwater feasibility study which will get under way in July and take on the subject of possible stormwater fees. Citizens will be included on the committee.
He detailed improvements to the intersection at Hardy and Vinyard Roads where the signal timing has been adjusted with many positive comments from citizens on the change made in the interests of safety, and also the intersection at Walnut Avenue and 8th Street near Southern States, where new pavement markings have been applied. Signage will be added soon. There is a possibility of using vinyl markings on the pavement in the future as paint tends to deteriorate over time.
Hiner told council that the new refuse truck now on order is expected to be delivered in late October. There was discussion of when the new trash cans will be distributed to citizens for use. Town ordinances will need to be updated and a public education campaign conducted.
He also informed council on changes by RDS, the company that accepts the town’s recycled items. The company is raising rates, tightening up requirements on contaminants, and making changes to the list of items that will be accepted.