By Debbie Adams
Vinton’s Deputy Chief of Police Captain Tim Lawless presented the department’s quarterly report for October through December 2022 to Vinton Town Council at their meeting on Jan. 17.
During the quarter, the police department received 3,420 calls for service for a variety of reasons with an officer responding by phone or in person.
There were 737 traffic stops with 464 summonses issued and 94 traffic accidents.
A total of six drug cases were reported and six DUI arrests. Overall criminal arrests totaled 93.
Captain Lawless reported there were 721 security checks during the quarter—a service most important to and appreciated by area businesses.
During the quarter, the Criminal Investigations Division received 12 felony criminal cases. Four are under investigation; three are pending results from the forensic lab and indictments from the Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney’s office; three cases have been cleared; two have been inactivated. Two search warrants were obtained.
Lawless noted that the department has re-established its relationship with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and their highly effective Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) team.
He also commented that the Animal Control officer stays busy with 33 animal ordinance violations in the past quarter, 14 Code Enforcement violations, 14 cases of cruelty, 21 cases of a “dog at large” and two bears reported in the area.
The captain described records management as the “brains of the police department” and reported 216 warrants entered into the Records Management System, along with 464 summonses, 22 weapons permit checks, 100 FOIA requests, 18 criminal histories checked, and 75 officer subpoenas processed.
Two new officers joined the police department in the last quarter—Officer Stephanie Walsh and Officer Daniel Valladarez. Both graduated from the police academy in November.
Community Services Officer William Holland was appointed by the Office of the Attorney General to serve as the Program Coordinator for the Roanoke County TRIAD, which brings together senior citizens, their organizations, and law enforcement to work on issues that senior citizens often encounter, such as scams and fraud.
The quarterly report included a list of community events which the police attended or initiated from October through December—Downtown Trick or Treating, Shop with a Cop, the Vinton Christmas Parade, the Christmas Hot Chocolate event prior to the parade, the Santa Crawl, Breakfast with Santa for special needs children held at the Moose Lodge, along with DMV traffic enforcement.
Police trainings continued in RADAR/LIDAR, Advanced Deception, Night Range Qualifications, Firearms Instructor, Street Cops, Evidence Technician, Glock Armorer, SWAT school, Advanced Vehicle Contraband Concealment, CIT School, the Command Leadership Institute, DT Instructor, Forensic Retraining, and VA Against Trafficking.
Lawless detailed several grants the Vinton Police Department has received recently which enabled them to pay for Traffic Enforcement and COVID-related overtime. They were also awarded another LOLE Block Grant which will allow the purchase of needed equipment for the Criminal Investigations and Training Divisions.
The police have implemented the new Body Worn Cameras and In-Car Cameras during the past quarter. They received a new patrol vehicle, and a new range trailer.
The captain closed by thanking town council, town staff, and especially Public Works and Tobbie Russeau for their support of the police department.