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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Sheriff’s office gets new digs at Westlake

Friday, July 19, 2013

By BRANDON OSGOOD - Special to the News-Post

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors has approved the lease of new office space at Westlake for the sheriff's office and the lease of a new garage for the public safety substation at Westlake.

The board unanimously approved Sheriff Bill Overton's request Tuesday to rent office space at 13245 Booker T. Washington Highway, which is on the front side of the building the sheriff's office currently shares with public safety.

The supervisors also approved a request to lease a garage that will be built on site at the public safety substation at Westlake to house fire and emergency vehicles and equipment.

The two projects will increase the county's expenditure for the substation facility by $19,968 a year, from $44,340 to $64,308.

The new office space for the sheriff's office will cost $21,728 per year, according to Overton. That's an increase of $6,406 per year from its share of the rent in the current facility.

Overton told the supervisors the new office space was needed because the current office is not visible from the roadway (Route 122) and it is not easily accessible by the public.

"It is very important for us to have people know where we are located," he said.

Overton told supervisors that the sheriff's office is evaluating the possibility of implementing a video magistrate system and a live scan computer to make the new Westlake facility more operationally functional.

Overton said he plans to move current resources from Rocky Mount to the new Westlake office, possibly including a patrol lieutenant and an investigator. Overton said he may work at the new facility once a week if possible.

Boone District Supervisor Ronnie Thompson questioned the proposed move, saying Overton's strategy for the new office could be accomplished at the current facility at a cheaper rate.

But when it came to a vote, all the supervisors were on board and voted to approve the move.

As for the current substation, public safety's lease will increase by $13,562, from $29,018 to $42,580, mainly due to an additional garage space that The Willard Companies has proposed to build adjacent to the current substation, according to Public Safety Director Daryl Hatcher.

The lease on the garage space will be $1,200 per month. The garage will be large enough to house a fire engine and an advanced life support ambulance, and to store and maintain equipment.

The Westlake substation was created in 2009 to determine if there was a need for a 24-hour fire and EMS station in the area, Hatcher said. Since it opened, the call volume has increased each year.

In 2012, the substation responded to 1,147 calls for service, making it the second busiest station in the county.

The building of a county-owned facility at Westlake is included in the county's capital plan, according to county Administrator Rick Huff. However, a suitable build site has not been determined.

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