Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper told the Clarke County Supervisors on Monday that he had fewer deputies available than required by his department’s minimum staffing requirements on five occasions in June.
“Last month we had two scheduled times when we knew that we were going to go below the minimum number of personnel,” Roper said. “There were three additional instances that were not scheduled.”
Although Roper provided McKay with the requested manpower staffing level targets, the Clarke Daily News editorial policy precludes publication of specific operational information or details that could be used to the detriment of first responders. However, Roper has stated publicly during previous meetings with the Supervisors that there have been multiple occasions in 2012 when no deputies from his department were on duty due to budget limitations.
In other news from the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department:
Locke’s Landing Shooting
Roper updated the Supervisors on the recent shooting at Locke’s Landing along the Shenandoah River in eastern Clarke County. Roper said that further investigation into the incident indicated that the 19-year-old victim, Gustavo Edenlison Munoz-Argumedo had made a false report to authorities when he presented himself with gunshot wounds to the leg at Winchester Medical Center.
Although Munoz-Argumedo initially said that he had been shot in a drive by attack at the popular boat launch site along the river, authorities say that they now believe Munoz-Argumedo was handling a pistol while traveling in a vehicle on Senseny Road in the early morning hours of June 10, 2012.
Apparently the pistol discharged and Munoz-Argumedo was shot in the lower leg.
Roper said that prosecution of Munoz-Argumedo will occur in Frederick County because the false report was first made to authorities there.
Emergency Notification System Test
225 Clarke County citizens have now signed up to participate in the County’s new emergency information notification system, “Code Red” Roper told the Supervisors. Roper also said that his staff intends to conduct a County-wide test of the system, possibly as early as Wednesday.
“The test will allow us to make sure that we are reaching everyone in the County,” Roper said. “We’ll also use the opportunity to provide everyone with information about how to register for the service.”
Citizens wishing to register for Code Red alerts, which include hazardous weather warnings, may do so at: http://cne.coderedweb.com/Default.aspx?groupid=L7sXbM9%2fu6D1Qi8T1jXG7g%3d%3d or by visiting the Clarke County website, ClarkeCounty.gov
Arrests Down in 2011
Roper told the Supervisors that his department has begun reviewing its operational performance based on last fiscal year’s budget analysis. But although the analysis has just commenced, Roper said that operational statistics indicate fewer arrests last year over the previous year.
“Arrests are down because we had fewer deputies on the street,” Roper said. “There is nearly always a direct correlation between the number of deputies on the street and the number of bad guys that we are able to catch.”
General Assembly Strikes Fingerprint Requirement for Concealed Weapon Permit
Now that the Virginia General Assembly has struck down the requirement for applicants to submit fingerprints along with concealed weapon permit applications, the Clarke County Supervisors have begun the process of modifying the Clarke County Code to reflect the new rule.
Supervisor Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) instructed County Administrator David Ash on Monday to schedule a public hearing to strike the requirement from County Code section 106-7.
Sheriff Roper said that while his department had already stopped taking fingerprints of concealed weapon permit applicants as of July 1, he personally was not if favor of the change.
“This change caught us by surprise and there wasn’t much discussion with law enforcement about the change,” Roper said. “With a fingerprint we knew exactly who the person that we were dealing with was. Now we have to rely on other forms of identification. But that’s the law of the land now and that’s what we will enforce.”