WYTHE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS BEEN PROVIDED FUNDING FOR SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

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Wytheville, Va. – In response to the Wythe County Sheriff’s request that the county’s Board of Supervisors provide additional funding to the sheriff’s office, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors presented the Sheriff with an agreement which detailed the additional local tax dollars of almost $600,000 that would be provided to the Sheriff’s office for the current fiscal year. The agreement placed into writing items the county would pay – offering a long-term solution to the county sheriff’s office’s funding requirements.

This action was taken following a request made by the Sheriff on May 24, 2016, in which he requested that additional local tax payer dollars be provided to his office in order to help offset financial woes that have arisen during his tenure as sheriff.

Recognizing the supreme importance of having uniformed school resource officers on duty everyday school is in session, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors voted to budget compensation for all positions on June 30, 2016 for School Year 2016 and 2017.

The Board of Supervisors’ actions were to ensure that the top priority in the sheriff’s budget was to employ three fulltime school resource officers and a DARE officer in the county’s public schools. The Board of Supervisors recognizes that the assignment of these officers outside of the school to other duties is at the sole discretion of the sheriff.

Section 2 of the Memorandum of Agreement presented to the Sheriff’s office explicitly states that the top funding priority is to be school resource officers.

Presently, the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office receives 80% of all revenues generated by fines generated by the local ordinance adopted by Wythe County Board of Supervisors in 1992. The revenues deposited in the Police Activity Fund were $1,065,696 which is $249,422 less than the previous year when the deposits were $1,315,188. In addition, to these funds the Sheriff’s office is provided all the revenue generated from other local ordinances. In Fiscal Year 2016, the revenues collected from these ordinances totaled more than $1,200,000 which were all dedicated to the Sheriff’s Department. These do not include the processing fee for inmates. In July 2016 the Sheriff raised the application fee for concealed weapons permit from $15 to $50 which is a 233% increase.

In May of this year, it was erroneously reported that the county’s board of supervisors were forcing the sheriff’s office to pay for its own janitorial supplies and maintenance services out of their portion of the police activity fund – this is 100% incorrect, as these items, among several other services rendered to the sheriff’s office are paid for out of the Board of Supervisors’ general fund.

At such a critical time in our nation’s history, the county board of supervisors wish to make it very clear that they appreciate and respect the many sacrifices the brave men and women of our local law enforcement agencies make each day – which is precisely why the Board authorized funding for the school resource officer positions and included in the prepared agreement that the school resource officers were the top priority for funding. The Board is disappointed that these critical positions may become the victim of political gamesmanship when the safety of our children is at stake.

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