WILLIAMSON - Although Mingo County Sheriff James Smith has only been in his position for close to one month, he and the members of his department have accomplished quite a few tasks but are far from calling it done.
Smith and his Chief Field Deputy, Joe Smith, have been hard at work ordering supplies that will assure that each and every deputy have their own forensic crime kit that will include materials to test for cocaine, gun residue and much more. These materials had not been readily available to all the oficers in the past, and the Sheriff was adamant that fact needed to change.
“It is vital to any investigation that all our officers have a ready supply of materials to contain a crime scene and conduct an in-depth investigation in a timely and efficient manner,” remarked the sheriff. “Mingo County is wide spread and a lot of the time, a single officer may be be first to arrive on scene and since we received the material necessary to complete the forensic kits, the investigation can begin immediately instead of waiting for another member of law enforcement to bring what you need.”
Smith stated that he feels his department will be able to gather more information and evidence while investigating a crime than could have been in the past, thanks to the addition of the forensic kits.
Since being appointed as sheriff on September 18, Smith and his officers have completed 10 felony arrests, 25 misdemeanor arrests, issued 20 citations, responded to 87 calls, investigated 11 vehicle accidents and served 17 emergency protection orders.
Smith told the Williamson Daily News that he can tell a difference in the moral and camaraderie of the men who make up his department since taking office, and stated that he is very pleased with their performance and their continued dedication to serve the needs of the public. The officers under the sheriff have completed their necessary training and are all on an even playing field. Smith feels that he has the support of his department and strives to always put the needs of his department as his top priority.
Plans are in the making to install recording devices and cameras in a room off of the sheriff department’s offices in the basement of the courthouse, creating an area where both victims and defendants may be interviewed and questioned. The sheriff and his chief deputy feel that this will be a definite asset.
“We have a lot of plans for the future; we have prioritized them and are working on one at a time,” said Smith. “I am thankful that I have been given the chance to serve the citizens of this county as their sheriff and I want them to know that each of these changes or additions are being made with their best interest in mind.”