Letters to the editor – April 27th, 2016

Published 8:05 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2016

These are county ‘needs’

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    This is the first time I can remember being in favor of a big expenditure by our financially troubled and overtaxed county. While many on the former Boards of Supervisors obviously did not know the difference between the words “need” and “want,” hopefully this new Board does.

    There are two “needs” that even I must support. I have spoken with the sheriff’s deputies and some of the fire and rescue first responders about the $14 million 911 radio system they say is needed. When these first responders who are risking their lives for us are in any area of the county and cannot receive or transmit clear radio calls, then without any doubt a new system is sorely needed.

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    The current radio system is as outdated as the telegraph and is not compatible with the systems of any of the surrounding localities, all who have modern systems. This means that when our first responders go on an event that moves from the county they are out of immediate contact. In their business, seconds mean lives. One radio call not clearly heard or transmitted can mean the death or serious injury of them or a citizen.

    This system is expensive and may require a tax increase, but since the current system is at the end if its life and must be replaced very soon and replacing it certainly will not be cheaper in the future. Replacing it now will actually save money in the long run.

    The second thing is deputies. The county is creating a big law enforcement coverage problem in the southern end of the county with the constant building of businesses and homes in the northern end. Naturally, the densely populated areas require more law enforcement resources because they generate far more calls. When something significant occurs in the northern end of the county that requires more than one or two deputies, this leaves us in the southern end without anyone. Either the county must slow development in the northern end of the county or hire additional deputies to cover the southern end.

    These two problems must be addressed now. Waiting for a tragedy to occur and then making excuses is not something I want to see happen.

    Volpe M. Boykin


Thanks to all who helped

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    On behalf of the entire membership of Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department, I would like to heartily thank everyone in the community who came out last Saturday to support us with donations during our Spring BBQ fundraiser. We have been conducting these benefit BBQ events for almost 50 years now and we are always grateful for the exceptional generosity of the citizens whom we serve as volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. We will use your donations wisely and always for the improvement of our service to you the public.

    We very much appreciate all the individual citizens and their families who were our guests on Saturday so please accept this letter as an expression of our sincere gratitude. Our local business sponsors were also especially generous this time. Please see our “thank you” ad in today’s paper. And, please mark your calendars for Saturday May 21 for our 50th anniversary public “open house” at Station-10 to show our appreciation to you for your support during our first half-century of responding to your emergency needs. Thanks again!

    Fred Mitchell
    Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department


SROs for all schools

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    In 2007, the Board of Supervisors initiated placing student resource officers in all nine schools as a safeguard against an extremely violent act in Isle of Wight, as occurred in a Pennsylvania school.

    Sheriff Phelps placed an SRO in each school each year thereafter through 2011. To provide funding, the Supervisors put $340,000 initially and annually thereafter in Sheriff’s budget.

    Sheriff Marshall in 2012 removed SROs from all schools except the high and middle schools, leaving the elementary schools of Carrollton, Carrsville, Hardy and Windsor largely unprotected. These four schools are somewhat remotely located in sparsely populated areas, thus more vulnerable to anyone/group bent on mayhem as has occurred at schools elsewhere in our USA since 2007, costing the lives of students and teachers/administrators. To his credit, Mark has had “road deputies” passing thru check in periodically during the school day, but his is totally unsatisfactory by any standard. Sheriff Marshall made the decision in 2012 that “road deputies” were more important than having SROs at “soft targets of opportunity,” as is presented by these somewhat remote schools. Westside is in a very populated area of Smithfield, and SPD is closer, but 100 percent presence is really needed here, too, I think.

    From a cost standpoint the Sheriff has a $4 million annual budget. This averages $122 per citizen. The $340,000 is a very economical cost for SRO’s in keeping with providing a “safe learning environment” in all IWCS learning centers. The SRO cost would be 7.7 percent of the sheriff’s budget.

    Having worked successfully with Mark on numerous law enforcement issues over the years in SPD Chief and IWCS Sheriff positions, I have found him to be a real asset. He truly is a professional  Where I have supported him in past endeavors, this is an area I totally disagree with. SRO’s are more important than department paper-pushers he gave importance to in the 4-13 Smithfield Times article Now is the time for the Board of Supervisors to add $340,000 to be used annually henceforth in providing SRO’s in all IWCS learning centers starting right now.

Herb De Groft