Articles from October 2007



Survives war, dies on duty at home

From The Free Lance-Star: Survives war, dies on duty at home:

Jason Edward Mooney spent much of his young life serving the public.

He died doing the same thing.

Mooney, 24, a Stafford County sheriff’s deputy, was killed late Friday in a single-vehicle accident that occurred as he was responding to another serious accident on Interstate 95 in Stafford.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy, Mooney was following an ambulance when he lost control of his cruiser about 9:25 p.m. and veered off the road. A police escort rushed Mooney to Mary Washington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that night.

“The Stafford Sheriff’s Office has suffered a great loss,” Sheriff Charles Jett said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his fiance and his many friends. His passing will leave a void in our hearts and his absence will be felt by the entire community.”

The accident occurred in the southbound lanes about a mile north of the Stafford Courthouse exit. Rescue workers performed CPR after freeing Mooney from the wreckage, and deputies blocked intersections to allow unimpeded travel to the hospital, but it was not enough to save Mooney. It was not clear yesterday what caused the deputy to lose control; the accident remains under investigation.

A native of Binghamton, N.Y., Mooney was a 2002 graduate of Colonial Forge High School, where he played football and baseball and was in the band.

Mooney was a member of the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department’s Company 2, and he had also volunteered as a firefighter in Prince William County.

Mooney served six months in Al-asad, Iraq, with the Marine Corps and worked as a supply administration and operations clerk for the 4th Marine Division. He received a number of honors, and also served as a Marine reservist. He joined the Sheriff’s Office in March 2006.

Deputies, rescue service personnel and the general public gathered at various locations yesterday to mourn Mooney’s passing.

“He will be greatly missed by a lot of people,” said Lt. Kimberly Harper, spokeswoman for the Stafford Fire and Rescue Department.

Mooney is the first Stafford deputy to die in the line of duty since Oct. 9, 1980, when Deputy Ford T. “Toby” Humphrey was shot to death by a former classmate while responding to a domestic dispute. Before Humphrey, the last death involving an on-duty Stafford deputy occurred in 1921.

The first deputy on the scene in the 1980 incident involving Humphrey was Jett, who at the time was a 21-year-old rookie deputy. Humphrey had responded to back up Jett.

Mooney is survived by his parents, Ed and Mary Mooney, two sisters and a brother.

A Mass of celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Fredericksburg. Burial will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery in Fredericksburg.

Members of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard will be pallbearers. Members of the Stafford Fire Department will be honorary pallbearers.

Covenant Funeral Service is handling the arrangements.

Update: Stafford deputy dies after crash

From The Free Lance-Star: Update: Stafford deputy dies after crash:

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office released the following statement early this morning:

“With great sadness and a profound sense of loss the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office announces the death of Deputy Jason Edward Mooney. Deputy Mooney died as a result of single car accident while responding to an accident on I-95 at 10:25 tonight.

“Deputy Mooney was following a Stafford County Rescue Emergency Vehicle when he lost control of his vehicle.

“Deputy Mooney was transported to Mary Washington Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Deputy Jason Mooney was 24 years old, born in Binghamton, New York on August 5, 1983.

“Deputy Mooney had been with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office for 1 year and 6 months and began his employment on March 27, 2006 as a Deputy Sheriff I – Field Operations.

“Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, Jason served in the Marine Corps as a Supply Administration and Operations Clerk for the 4th Marine Division. Deputy Mooney served 6 months in Al-asad, Iraq. During his time in the military he received the National Defense Operation Iraq Freedom Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with the “M” device, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Certificate of Appreciation.

“The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office has suffered a great loss” states Sheriff Charles Jett. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his fiancé and his many friends. Jason was committed to public service and dedicated to helping the citizens of Stafford County. Jason was not only a Sheriff’s Deputy but was also a volunteer fireman with Compnay 2. He will be greatly missed.”

“His passing will leave a void in our hearts and his absence will be felt by the entire Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and the entire Stafford County community.” States Sheriff Jett.

“Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. More information will follow.”

More defense attorneys love Harvey Latney…

I wonder why…no, wait, I don’t.

Here’s the list, with a link to the complete PDF at the bottom:

Name: Law Firm Amount of Contribution Certified Court-Appointed Attorney for Caroline County?
Russell Eubank Booker Unknown $500 Yes.
Bowen, Champlin, Corr, Foreman and Rockecharlie Bowen, Champlin, Carr, Foreman and Rockecharlie $500 Yes.
Ramon Chalkley Law Office of R. E. Chalkley, III (formerly of Murphy & Strickland) $100 Yes.
Brian Grossman Crowgey & Grossman $250 No.
Harrison Hubard Hubard, Samuels, & Lewane $100 No.
George Hettrich Unknown $100 No.
Murray Janus Bremner, Janus, Cook, Marcus & Stone $100 No.
Kristie Kane Kristie L. Kane, PLC $100 Yes.
Jean Marie McKeen Tomlin & McKeen $500 Yes.
John Leo Mahoney John L Mahoney, Att-at-Law $500 Yes.
ParisBlank, LLP ParisBlank, LLP $250 No.
James F. Sumpter James F. Sumpter, PC $100 Yes.

$3,100 more from defense attorneys! You’re in fine company there Maxie!

Listen to this gem from Crowgey & [Brian] Grossman’s site:

We believe it is wrong to punish conduct which injures no one and poses no threat to society.

Unfortunately, until the law changes there will continue to be situations where otherwise innocent people find themselves ensnared in the clutches of the legal system facing potentially serious consequences. If you have fallen into such a predicament then you may need the services of an experienced lawyer to help you out of a bad situation

Apparently, this includes drug offenses, drunk driving, traffic accidents, reckless driving, and habitual offender violations according to his own website!

Some information on Murray Janus, from Virginia Business: Top Criminal Defense Lawyer:

When Janus recounts his most significant cases, he points to losses more than wins. It’s all about guts and good lawyering, even though those aren’t always enough to acquit a defendant. In the mid-70s, when the toxic chemical Kepone was dumped in the James River and virtually destroyed the Virginia seafood industry, Allied Chemical hired Janus. In the cases he tried, Allied was acquitted. Janus was champing at the bit to maintain the defense. But awash in a tsunami of bad publicity and facing a growing number of indictments, the client insisted on a plea of no contest to two charges of criminal pollution. The admission led to a $13 million fine, the highest ever awarded in an environmental case in America at the time. In the mid-80s, when the great-grandson of Reynolds Metals’ founder was charged with the violent rapes of three Richmond women, Janus was at the defense table. His client went to jail. But the case epitomized Janus’ reputation for not shying away from a reviled defendant.

Every defense attorney knows that some losses are as good as a win. In 1978, when a half-dozen elected officials were convicted of bribery-related charges and ejected from U.S. Congress in the history-making ABSCAM trials, Janus got the bagman in the case a minimal sentence of a year and a day. Not a win, but not the loss it could’ve been.

Tomlin & [Jean Marie] McKeen refers to themselves as a “DWI Law Firm”.

Oh, and by the way, Ramon Chalkley was also an attorney for Donna Blanton during her first trial and subsequent appeal.

pdficon_small PDF of the complete report.

Stafford deputy hurt in I-95 crash

From The Free Lance-Star: Stafford deputy hurt in I-95 crash:

A Stafford County deputy was seriously injured last night in an accident on Interstate 95.

According to sources, the deputy was in the southbound lanes, a mile or two north of the Courthouse exit about 9 p.m. when he lost control of his cruiser and went off the road. He may have been on the way to another serious accident that had just occurred in the northbound lanes not far away.

Rescue workers performed CPR on the deputy after getting him out of the vehicle and rushed him to Mary Washington Hospital. Police blocked off intersections on the way to the hospital to aid in the transport of the victim. There was apparently some trouble getting helicopters to the scene, possibly because of the weather, sources said.

Sheriff’s officials contacted last night said they had no details about the accident and were unable to immediately release any information. However, they confirmed that the deputy’s injuries appeared to be severe.

More fraud from Homer Johnson

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary [emphasis mine]:

Main Entry: fraud

Function: noun

1 a: deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick

2 a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor; also : one who defrauds : cheat b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be

Check out the lies in a letter sent to residents of gated communities in Caroline County.

The letter goes to show you how little Homer Johnson knows about the law. To become a Special Conservator of the Peace, one must first complete Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) mandated training and then be sworn in by the locale’s circuit court. Whoever the sheriff is has nothing to do it!

And as for the support of security officers and security companies: As a former security officer, I knew that when I needed a deputy one would be available thanks to Sheriff Lippa.

And if campaign contributions are any indication, I’m not alone in that belief. Wackenhut Corporation, a private security company, donated $1,400 to Lippa’s campaign. Where are your donations from security companies, Mr. Johnson?

The fraudulent claims of Homer Johnson

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary [emphasis mine]:

Main Entry: fraud·u·lent

Function: adjective : characterized by, based on, or done by fraud : deceitful

Main Entry: fraud

Function: noun

1 a: deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick

2 a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor; also : one who defrauds : cheat b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be

I was going to be nice to Mr. Johnson this campaign, but since he and his sycophant supporters want to go around and spread his lies, let’s go:

From his homepage:

ELECT The People’s Choice for Sheriff

“The People’s Choice”? Really, then why did you only receive 33% of the vote when running for re-election as a twelve year incumbent?

More like the convicted felon choice…

From his “Consider this page”:

Consider the Criminal Solve Rates for the 12 years I was Sheriff

  • 1992 – 65%
  • 1993 – 73%
  • 1994 – 75%
  • 1995 – 86%
  • 1996 – 83%
  • 1997 – 88%
  • 1998 – 91%
  • 1999 – 90%
  • 2000 – 93%
  • 2001 – 91%
  • 2002 – 94%
  • 2003 – 90%

That’s some nice fraud there, from your own Uniform Crime Report reports, the actual criminal solve rates that you reported:

Year: Claimed: As Reported to the FBI:
1992 65% 65%
1993 73% 72%
1994 75% 75%
1995 86% 86%
1996 83% 84%
1997 88% 87%
1998 91% 91%
1999 90% 72%
2000 93% 69%
2001 91% 61%
2002 94% 55%
2003 90% 59%

Why the decrease starting in 1999? Well, starting in 1999, the Commonwealth of Virginia required agencies to submit data in incident base format (with details about every crime) instead of monthly tally sheets as had been done before. As for his claimed 91% solve rate in 1998 and before, it’s completely bogus. For five years, he claimed he solved 100% of the rapes that were reported to the sheriff’s office. The national solve rate for rape is only 41.3%. He claims he solved 91.46% of the larcenies that occurred in 1998. How did he accomplish this when the national solve rate for larcenies is only 18.0%? Are we to believe that Homer Johnson is, in fact, the dark knight, the caped crusader, Batman?

If Homer was the master of criminal investigation, why isn’t he the police chief for the Richmond Police Department or the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, instead of working at the local Q-Mart?

The Criminal Solve Rate was 58% when I took office as Caroline County Sheriff.

No, It wasn’t. it was 65%. Do you just make up numbers off the top of your head?

Is the current administration effective? Consider this…..

  • The Sheriff’s Office budget has increased from 2.1 million in 2003 to 3.7 million in 2007.

Yeah, your point? A lot of that money is going to dispatching, which the sheriff’s office is wholly in charge of now. Not to mention, the over 10% pay raise for sworn personnel and the over 5% raise for civilian personnel. Now Caroline County can compete with neighboring jurisdictions for highly trained personnel instead of telling deputies, like you did, “that they better stop their schooling”!

  • The size of the Sheriff’s Office has almost doubled since January of 2004.

So, you plan to cut personnel?

  • Since January of 2004 there has been over 60 employees come and go from the Sheriff’s Office.

You mean like the deputies that didn’t have training or were giving people traffic tickets with uncalibrated radar units and were using three years outdated implied consent cards?

  • The Crime Rate in Caroline (the number of crimes being committed) is up 66%.

Uh, no it isn’t.

  • The Criminal Solve Rate (the number of crimes being solved) of the current administration is 58%. That’s where we were in !991!

Uh, again, no, it isn’t.

From his “Time for a change” page:

I know the workings of a county sheriff’s office. In my 33 years of experience with Caroline I have been a jailer/dispatcher, the Chief Court Bailiff, the Safety Officer, The Field Training Officer, a Road Deputy, an Investigator, the Field Lieutenant and for 12 years, the Caroline Sheriff.

You only receive 33% of the vote as a twelve year incumbent! Why can’t you take a hint?

Criminal investigation is now and has always been a pressing concern of mine. “If somebody takes your property, breaks into your house or assaults or robs you . . . that’s my top priority”. Keeping you and your homes safe is the most important thing that the Caroline Sheriff’s Office can do.

Really? I’m still waiting on you to find the persons responsible for smashing my mail box up or burglarizing my dad’s house. Oh wait, we had to catch the delinquents ourselves.

Combating the drug problem will continue to be a major concern of mine. Drugs threaten us every day, in our communities, jobs, schools, families and homes. I will seek to use all resources available and will seek grants to help us fight the battle against illegal drugs.

Then why didn’t you accomplish a damn thing as sheriff? Why is that drug distribution arrests have more than doubled since Lippa took over?

I believe that Caroline deputies must be hired from the county so that they will know the county and the citizens will know them. A deputy who makes his home in Caroline will have more of a vested interest to see that Caroline is kept safe. He will care about where his children go to school, he will know his neighbors, he will know when something in his neighborhood is not right. Another plus to having deputies who live in Caroline would be having a shorter response time in case of an emergency whether it be a natural disaster or other threats. Deputies that do not live in Caroline just come to work to get a pay check and then go home.

Emergencies? Why is that my dead neighbor had to lay in a garden for four hours while his widow waited because all your deputies were on I-95? Another neighbor contacted you at home and you wouldn’t come! It’s only a eighteen (18) minute drive according to MapQuest and you still wouldn’t come!

Traffic enforcement has its place and is an effective tool in fighting crime. A Selective Enforcement Program in our county does enable deputies to capture wanted felons, seize contraband, weapons, drugs, stolen cars and remove drunk drivers from our roads. But, the Sheriff’s Office needs to be more than just a “traffic division”.

Are you not aware of the investigators in the sheriff’s office? They were lead by Sergeant (now Lieutenant) Chatman.

Why is that all I used to see was deputies on Route 301 doing radar? They used to be at every cut-through. Hell, the truck drivers are still spooked and still hit the brakes at every cut-through.

Now, I actually see deputies doing this thing called “patrolling”. Why is it, in 2003, in your platform summary, you included the following: “to expand traffic control programs”?

The Caroline Sheriff’s Office needs to get back to protecting you the citizens of Caroline and concentrating on solving crimes against you, crimes that invade your home and threaten you and your families. The Sheriff’s Office can only be effective in this endeavor through the help of citizens who help point officers to clues. For citizens to help they must have faith and trust in their elected officials and the deputies that are hired. A good rapport with citizens is one of the most important tools a sheriff or deputy can have. It has been my experience that people are willing to help when they know criminal investigation is high on the priority list. It saddens me to see that the faith in the Caroline Sheriff’s Office has slipped. We need to repair the trust. That is what I will do if elected your sheriff on November 6, 2007.

Let’s see, since Lippa has taken over, I can be sure if I have a problem that a deputy will respond; unlike what happened when a riot call was put out in 1993 at Horne’s Restaurant because none of your personnel would respond.

From his “The Beginning” page:

  • The criminal solve rate of the Caroline Sheriff in 1991 was 58%. Over the next 12 years that I was sheriff the solve rate grew to 90% in 2003, giving Caroline County the highest criminal solve rate in the state. Caroline County carried first place in crime solving the last 7 years I was sheriff.

Let’s see, your crime solve rates are frauds and you never had the highest criminal solve rate in the state (even when you were lying about your rates). Can you please stop your pathological lying?

  • Beginning in 1992 and for the next 12 years, deputies began receiving specialized training to include homicide investigation, child abuse, drug interdiction, burglary seminars, counterfeit money detection, composite drawings of criminal suspects, DUI enforcement as well as state mandated basic retraining classes.

Really? Then why didn’t you have a crime scene forensics vehicle back then?

How many of your deputies were teaching Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) classes? I know at least one of Lippa’s deputies does currently (an Alzheimer’s awareness class). Heck, Lippa used to teach at the police academies!

  • I believe in hiring the most qualified applicants, regardless of race or sex. In 1992 the first employee I hired was an African American man, Lester M. Johnson, Jr. and soon after I accepted the application of Regina Howard to be transferred to road duty from communications. Ms. Howard was the second female road deputy in Caroline history.

Then why didn’t you have any female sworn personnel for five years when you were sheriff according to your own statistics submitted to the Virginia State Police?

They’re currently five female sworn personnel now (including a sergeant and an investigator [who happens to be a forensic tech]).

  • I reinstated the DARE program to 5th graders in our schools in Fall of 1992. DARE was expanded to cover primary, elementary and middle school in the following years. The Dare officer also conducted crime prevention programs, including Neighborhood Watch Programs in several areas.

There was never a neighborhood watch program in my neighborhood until Lippa took over…

  • I placed the first School Resource Officers in Caroline High School in 1995 and in Caroline Middle School in 1999.

Funny, the school resource officer at the middle school was gone half the time when I was there…

  • In October 1995 I received a grant and hired the Sheriff’s Office first full-time narcotics officer who worked with the regional drug task force of which Caroline was a member. We immediately began collecting evidence through a covert operation on suspected drug dealers, working with undercover officers, doing controlled buys to combat the drug problem in Caroline.

But you didn’t accomplish a damn thing…

Why is that the state police in Caroline had more drug arrests than the sheriff’s office did during your tenure?

  • I formed an auxiliary deputy force in 1996 to help free up road deputies. Auxiliary deputies are volunteers who are fully trained, insured and uniformed just like regular deputies. They attend the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy and upon completion of their training can perform any and all law enforcement duties. The only distinction being that they are not paid, they “volunteer” their time to Caroline and its citizens. My auxilary force ranged from 6 to 10 deputies. The Auxilary Volunteers also provide a pool of trained persons to hire from. This program has stopped with the present administration and I would like to see it reinstated.

And who pays for the training and equipment for these deputies? (You need to learn how to spell “auxiliary” as well.)

  • In October 1997, the Caroline Sheriff’s Office launched the biggest drug bust in the county’s history to date with 50 persons being convicted on 120 charges of cocaine possession and/or distribution.

Really? Then why did you only report forty (40) arrests for drug abuse violations to the FBI in 1997? And thirty (30) (75%) of those arrests were for possession of marijuana!

Meanwhile, the state police in Caroline in 1997 had sixty-two (62) arrests with nine (9) of those arrests for the sale or manufacture of drugs. Wait, wasn’t Lippa the first sergeant of this area then?

  • On April 15, 1999, I continued the pressure on suspected drug dealers with a large-scale drug bust that netted 38 people arrested on 62 drug charges. We shut down 2 drug houses on Macedonia Road and seized $6,400 in drugs.

Really? You only had seven (7) arrests for drug abuse violations the whole year! And only one of those arrests was for the sale or manufacture of drugs (and that was listed as the sale or manufacture of “other dangerous non-narcotic drugs”). Not to mention that I don’t see any drug seizures occurring on that date in your National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reports!

Meanwhile, the state police had thirty (30) arrests for drug abuse violations in 1999! Wait, wasn’t Lippa the first sergeant of this area then?

  • On October 19, 1999, the Caroline Sheriff’s Office seized 231 marijuana plants with a street value of $462,000 in the area of Burke’s Bridge near Milford. To date that harvest was the largest marijuana bust in county history. I received a tip from a county resident who had stumbled upon the plants. The citizens of Caroline were always the biggest help to me and my administration as we fought the drug problem together.

It’s funny how you have had three drug arrest/seizures that were “the biggest”. You obviously haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in the county, considering that the sheriff’s office seized 944 plants in 2005! Not to mention that I don’t see any drug seizures occurring on that date in your NIBRS reports!

  • In early October 2001, Caroline deputies seized 80 marijuana plants valued at $80,000 in the Sparta area.
  • In October 2001, the Caroline Sheriff’s Office had the biggest drug seizure in Caroline history to date when $500,000 in pot was seized in the Chilesburg area. According to Corinne Gellar of the Virginia State Police it was one of the largest in central Virginia that year. Over 500 female plants (some over 20 feet tall) were seized.

It’s funny how you have had three drug arrest/seizures that were “the biggest”. You obviously haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in the county, considering that the sheriff’s office seized 944 plants in 2005! Why is it that you had no arrests for the sale or manufacture of marijuana in 2001?

Consider the Richmond Times-Dispatch article: Police Can Tell Tall Tales About Bust (October 19, 2001) [emphasis mine]:

The drug bust, which yielded plants with an estimated street value of $500,000, is the largest in the county’s history and one of the biggest ever in the region, state police said.

[…]

Investigators searching a residence in Chilesburg in western Caroline seized the marijuana plants on Wednesday afternoon, state police said. They also confiscated 30 pounds of marijuana, three firearms, a van, equipment used to grow marijuana and several hundred dollars in cash, authorities said.

“It was a very complex, sophisticated growing operation,” said Corinne Geller, a state police spokeswoman.

And what grown man, a former sheriff no less, uses the word “pot”?

  • I worked over the years to secure over 1.2 million in state and federal grants. A few of the programs started with these grants were
    • ….Community Policing, the hiring of 3 additional deputies to be assigned to working more closely with the citizens.

I never saw these mythical community policing deputies…

    • ….Obtaining new equipment to better help deputies and Investigators.

Uh, why were the deputies being forced to use thirty year old restraints on prisoners and batons that barely worked?

My experience with Caroline County Sheriff’s Office

  • From October 1981 to January 1992 I was the Field Lieutenant. I supervised all road deputies, served as the Field Training Officer and the Department Safety Officer. I was also in charge of all courts and outside activities.

Then why didn’t you reinstate DARE when your were a field lieutenant if you were in charge of “outside activities”?

  • From January 1992 to January 2004 I was Caroline County Sheriff. I was the chief law enforcement officer in the county. I was totally in charge of all department operations, personnel and police vehicles.

Totally, dude. Ever find the person that stole the wheels off of that police cruiser?

Dammit, maybe next time…

From the AP via WTOP: Court Stops Va. Execution:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday halted Virginia’s planned execution of a man who murdered a co-worker.

Virginia had prepared to execute Christopher Scott Emmett, 36, even as several other states stopped executions after the high court agreed to review claims that the method of death is unconstitutionally cruel.

Emmett had been scheduled to be put to death Wednesday night at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va., for the 2001 bludgeoning murder of a co-worker, John Fenton Langley.

The stay granted by the court will last until a Richmond, Va.-based federal appeals court takes another look at the case. The justices did not comment further on their order.

The usual stupidity…

From The Free Lance-Star: What’s the cost to help fire and rescue?:

A citizens’ panel in Caroline County has been working to improve fire and rescue services, but it’s still unclear how much that will cost.

The county’s emergency services commission recently presented the Board of Supervisors with a 13-item list on how to strengthen and expand paid and volunteer rescue efforts.

Supervisors had no qualms with the ideas, which include hiring new administrative personnel and coordinating paid and volunteer rescue efforts under one chief.

State fire and rescue agencies developed the study last year. The citizens’ commission is charged with figuring out specific costs and procedures for implementing the suggestions.

Bill Wick, chairman of the commission, said yesterday that estimating costs is a challenge.

New positions listed in the report include a volunteer recruiter, fire marshal and training coordinator. Other items lacking estimates include fully funding volunteer services, installing new fire hydrants and purchasing equipment for paid and volunteer staff.

Fire marshal? Weren’t we supposed to get one years ago?

The report also includes low- or no-cost ideas. For example, it suggests combining the fire and EMS departments under one chief and enforcing address markings to help rescue personnel identify county homes.

Why haven’t we been enforcing that for years?

Earlier this year, officials tossed around the idea of paying volunteers. That idea has since been scratched.

Of course it has; after all, canneries, summer employment programs, a $3,700,000 county administration building (for twenty full-time personnel), a $3,200,000 community recreation center, a $1,100,000 visitor center, and trips to Hawaii are more important.

“There are such things the county might be able to give them: a county sticker for vehicles or provide more sophisticated equipment,” Wick said. “There are a lot of things we could provide, making their life better, without giving them money. We’re looking at ways that we can reward folks for being a part of the team.”

Ed Fuzy, the county’s director of fire and rescue services, said 24 full-time emergency workers support 230 to 250 volunteers. He’s working to fill five of the full-time positions.

Earlier this year, the commission urged support for a high-school training program. The latest report recommends changes in that program to help generate volunteers and career emergency personnel.

“Any program that’s been in place for a while can be tweaked and made better,” Wick said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Caroline’s estimated population in 2006 was 26,731–an almost 21 percent increase since 2000. The number of housing units in the county rose 17 percent between 2000 and 2005.

Fuzy and Wick said that growth spurred the study. All the suggestions aim to coordinate and strengthen emergency services.

Wick said many of the new residents expect a fully paid emergency staff.

“Our tax base won’t allow 24-hour [fire/EMS] coverage”!

With demands such as full-time jobs and child care, dedicating time to volunteering can be hard. But Wick says the county wants to maintain that volunteer base.

Fuzy and County Administrator Percy Ashcraft expect the county to fully fund recommendations over the next three years.

Your county tax dollars at work…, Part 3

Paying for a “summer employment program”? Isn’t that the role of McDonald’s? (An ongoing series on the wasteful spending by the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator…)

According to the Fiscal Year 2007-2008 Adopted Budget for Caroline County:

The Summer Employment Program is a County program set up to employ high school and college age County young people in part time and seasonal full time jobs with the County. The Program is intended to offer youth an opportunity to constructively occupy their time and to earn money while doing it. In addition, the Program is structured to give the participants the experience of applying and interviewing for a job and is expected to teach them valuable work habits that they will be able to draw upon in the future.

Any County Department or Constitutional Officer with a need for unskilled or introductory level labor can make use of the program and participants have been and are employed in a wide variety of maintenance, office support and recreation program activities. The County Administrator’s Office provides central coordination for the Program, managing the budget, soliciting and collecting applications, and forwarding them on to interested departments or offices.

An internship component has also been added to the program to give college age youth an opportunity to gain work experience in a professional setting.

You know, the last time I looked there were plenty of jobs out there during the summer for teens. Meanwhile, we’re paying in the tune of $156,837 budgeted to this operation over the last four fiscal years.

“Our tax base won’t allow 24-hour [fire/EMS] coverage” or a public safety building, but it does allow for a “summer employment program”?

With that money wasted every year, we could have afforded an additional deputy or an additional firefighter or medic. Heck, that’s the second fire/EMS or sheriff’s deputy position I’ve found so far!

Hoping for perfect execution…

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Killer Emmett’s latest appeal denied:

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants a stay or Gov. Timothy M. Kaine steps in a second time, Christopher Scott Emmett will die by lethal injection tomorrow night.

Emmett won a reprieve in June two hours before he was to be executed when Kaine delayed it until Oct. 17 to give the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to consider hearing his appeal. The justices declined.

However, on Sept. 25, the high court agreed to hear challenges to the constitutionality of lethal-injection procedures in Kentucky, procedures similar to those used in Virginia and other states that use lethal injection.

There was an execution in Texas on Sept. 25 but none in the U.S. since.

Yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Emmett’s request for a stay. But another federal appeals court stayed an execution set for today in Arkansas. And an execution scheduled for last night in Nevada was halted by the Nevada Supreme Court 90 minutes before it was to take place, according to The Associated Press.

Emmett’s lawyers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court and Kaine to stop the execution until the high court rules on whether lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

In papers filed yesterday, the Virginia attorney general’s office urged the justices to reject the request for a stay, arguing it was foot-dragging. Emmett, the state says, never challenged his method of execution during his trial or in prior appeals.

Kevin Hall, a Kaine spokesman, said yesterday that “we’re closely monitoring court activity, and the governor is still weighing the updated clemency requests from Emmett’s attorneys.”

Emmett was sentenced to die for the April 2001 slaying of John F. Langley, 43, of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. The two men worked for a roofing company in Roanoke Rapids and were staying in a Danville motel during a project. Emmett beat Langley to death with a brass lamp for drug money.

In addition to asking Kaine for a reprieve, Emmett’s lawyers also asked him to order an administrative review of the state’s current lethal-injection protocol. Kaine opposes capital punishment but has said he believes lethal injection is constitutional.

Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said he believes condemned inmates seeking reprieves until the Supreme Court rules will be successful.

Uh, where’s a quote from people that support the death penalty since you want to get quotes from people that oppose the death penalty?

If executed, Emmett would be the 99th person put to death in Virginia — 70 by lethal injection — since capital punishment was allowed to resume in 1976.


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