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Volunteer police force approved

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Carroll County can have up to four volunteer deputies helping out on the force.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Adoption of a state statute on volunteer police officers allows Carroll County to proceed with its auxiliary deputy program.
Carroll supervisors at their Nov. 15 meeting held a public hearing on adopting a section of state code in order to proceed with the volunteer force, a topic that has been discussed since September.
“Localities, for the further preservation of the public peace, safety, and good order of the community, may establish, equip, and maintain auxiliary police forces that have all the powers and authority and all the immunities of full-time law-enforcement officers, if all such forces have met the training requirements established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services ....” the Virginia law states.
County officials have already approved the idea for using volunteers, Carroll Sheriff J.B. Gardner explained. They have to additionally adopt this language to comply with state requirements.
“That just gives them powers of arrest and it actually lets them do what they’re trained to do already,” the sheriff told the county board.
The sheriff’s office can have up to four volunteers on the force, based on the county’s insurance policy, Gardner said.
The volunteers are already helping out, he added. One of them responded to a call at 4 a.m. the day of the meeting. It was a report of a drunk driver hitting his father’s house.
All the volunteers have their certifications from the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the sheriff said.
Do they have to go through the police academy? Supervisor Josh Hendrick asked.
“There’s no way around it,” Gardner answered. “To be part of it they already have to be certified — we’re not putting them through the academy.”
The program is also affordable for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, he added. “They volunteer — it doesn’t cost a thing.”
Supervisor Tom Littrell made a motion to adopt the state code.
All supervisors voted for the motion after a second from Supervisor David Hutchins.
No citizen spoke at the public hearing.