Making sure that those who do the crime do the time

100413jailFloyd County’s Board of Supervisors, faced with increasing crime in the area, gave Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Murray Shortt Tuesday her often-requested funds to hire a part-time assistant prosecuting attorney for her office.

The money to pay for a part-time assistant for the rest of the fiscal year came six months after the board cut off funding she requested for the position and forced Shortt to end the part-time employment of former Franklin County Commonwealth’s attorney Cliff Hapgood in the position.

Shortt told the Supervisors that crime continues to climb and heroin is now finding its way into the county’s drug culture — one currently dominated by hyper-addictive crystal methamphetamine.

Drug cases dominate the docket in Circuit Court week after week and dependence on the drug drives up criminal activity — particularly break-ins and thefts from homes and businesses.

Shortt drove home the point by telling Supervisors that most of the prisoners serving in the New River Valley Jail aren’t there for petty offenses but major crimes.

“We’re not talking about writing bad checks,” she said.

For those who get caught committing crimes in Floyd County, the consequences are often swift and severe.  Circuit Judge Marc Long sees jail and prison as a deterrent to crime and sends those found guilty to sentences that run into years, not months.  As one 23-year-old man found out in Circuit Court last week, violating probation brought down a sentence of 20 years in prison with another 20 years still hanging over his head.

Long believes those who do the crime should do the time and Supervisors this week gave the Commonwealth’s Attorney money to help bring more who do the crime to justice.

 

9 thoughts on “Making sure that those who do the crime do the time”

    • Yes, she lost some state funds but she asked the board to supplement and cover the loss. The board turned her down. Do I need to look up the minutes to see how you voted on that or do you want to tell us?

      • There wouldn’t be a vote to look up. During budget time last year Stephanie asked for a large increase in funding. At that time we increased funding by approximately $5,500, now we have added an additional $15,600. Sure she has not received everything she requested but to say our local board has cut funding is false, we have done small increases. All the shortfall in funding is due to the state cutting funds.

  1. After looking back through the minutes you are correct in that we denied a request for $10,560 at one point separate from the budget request. But lets be clear, at no time has our local board cut funding to the CA. It has always been a discussion of how large the increase will be. Bottom line this is a position that the state should be filling and instead is attempting to push off onto local government. There are many examples of this in other areas.

    • I’m afraid your talent for political rationalization exceeds even my skeptical expectations. When you vote to eliminate a position that the board, at one time, approved — even if the original funding came from the compensation board and which the board provided some of the funding, you cut the position — pure and simple. I stand by my reporting of it.

      Please stop acting like a typical politician. 🙂

  2. The public deserves to know where the funds are coming from and who is actually cutting spending. The county simply can’t afford to replace all the state funding that has been cut over the past years. Unfortunately we are put in the position of which departments can receive additional funds and which get level local funding. The sheriffs dept, the CA and the school system are 3 that I am glad we have been able to provide modest local increases to during my term.

  3. Sorry, Lauren, but in my opinion, you are avoiding the issue. I wonder, for example, if a request from a Republican Commonwealth’s Attorney would have been handled differently. It is a question that is asked often by those I talk with in the county — both Republican and Democrat. The board will be faced with an even bigger question come budget time in a few months and that will be the Commonwealth Attorney’s request for a full-time assistant prosecutor. There are many agendas at play on the Board of Supervisors and some of the ones that drive final decisions are based on partisanship and personal biases. That’s the reality of a government — local, state or national — that is under one-party control.

    • Its insulting to accuse me of treating law enforcement differently depending on politics. Stephanie has done a good job and I hope she sticks around a long time. If the Republicans in this county wanted her gone we would have actively recruited someone to run against her. But just the opposite actually happened, some of us actually discouraged anyone from running against her. If you want to accuse me of a bias based on politics have some evidence please. Its the nature of the budget process to say no to a lot of requests, I can promise you we have done so to every dept in this county at some point even the ones run by Republicans.
      The issue of a full time assistant prosecutor is a tough one, it is a state funded position. I have set up meetings with our representatives attempting to get the funding for it, Stephanie has attended at least one of those. However I don’t expect our board position to change during budget time. We struggle to fund our own positions much less the state positions that the state refuses to fund. Another example of this is the 30+ teacher jobs that were eliminated from the school system because of state cuts ( while local funding was on the rise). Anyway I just wanted to clarify the situation so I will leave well enough alone after this post.

      • I did not accuse you of making a decision on law enforcement from partisanship. I simply asked a question: ” I wonder, for example, if a request from a Republican Commonwealth’s Attorney would have been handled differently?” Did such a question hit too close to home? I have not yet offered an opinion on whether or not the decision in question was a result of partisanship on your part or part of the action of any other board member. I simply wondered if the question should be asked of the board as a whole and noted that it has been a topic of discussion at gatherings in Floyd County. Are you absolutely sure that partisanship never plays a role in any decision you make as a Floyd County Supervisor? Does partisanship come into play when you urge voters to support one candidate over another? Do you trot out your party affiliation in discussions? If one were to go back and look at each and every decision of the board (or any board for that matter), it would not be that difficult to find decisions where partisanship came into play. It happens and it is “insulting,” as you say, to suggest that partisanship does not affect some decisions. Did it happen in this case? I simply asked.

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