|New unit will enforce laws and conduct safety checks|
Sgt. Riley Hodges with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office tries out the new boat for patrolling the waters of Smith Mountain Lake.
Friday, June 29, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office recently unveiled a new patrol boat at Smith Mountain Lake.
"The purpose of the patrol boat is to provide a safe environment for residents and people using Smith Mountain Lake for recreation," said Capt. Mark Torbert.
The 21-foot boat was donated by the W.E. Skelton 4-H Center, Torbert said. And Top Gun Kawasaki donated a personal watercraft (PWC) for use by the sheriff's office.
This partnership has enabled the sheriff's office to provide this new service, which was a priority of Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton, at no cost to the taxpayer, Torbert said.
The deputies in charge of the new lake patrol unit, Sgts. Riley Hodges and Brandt Gawor, will work with deputies from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office and conservation officers from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
The lake patrol unit will enforce laws, as well as conduct water safety checks, Torbert said.
For now, the boat and PWC are docked at Bay Side Marina, Torbert said. However, Turner's Building and the Willard Companies are planning to construct a covered boat dock with a lift at the 4-H center.
Also involved in the effort to provide a patrol boat on the lake is the Virginia Tech Foundation, Torbert said.