BLACKSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Department History
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History of the Blackstone Police Department

 

            The history of the Blackstone Police Department has been compiled from the Town of Blackstone Council Minute books and from personal recollections of various persons.

 

            The first book of February 24, 1898, reveals entries from the Mayor’s Court showing various criminal offenses with the most predominant being “riding on the sidewalk “which resulted in a fine of 50 cents This was thought to be on horses. There were several recordings of fighting which was frequent among citizens of all classes. A major offense of carrying a concealed weapon resulted in a $5.00 fine. There was frequent mention of “Sergeant” who was the policeman and also Chief. He was the only appointed officer of the Town and served as treasurer, tax collector, foreman of all labor activity. It was recorded that Mr. A. B. Jones was elected Sergeant on July 1, 1898 to replace Mr. C. D. Davis. On July 3, 1899, the Town Council approved the purchase of two bunks and beds for the station house. This station house was located adjacent to the present Municipal Building and was a small frame building which had one open room cell and a handmade steel lattice cell for the more aggressive prisoners.

 

            On November 21, 1899, Sergeant Powell resigned his position and a Mr. Dewitt Maxey succeeded him with his salary being $40.00 per month. A Mr. L. Hardy was appointed a “winter time” night policeman whose main duty was to watch for fires.

 

            On November 7, 1902, Mr. R. L. Sullivan was appointed as a regular policeman with a salary of $30.00 per month. This was the beginning of a long and successful career for “Captain Bob” with the Town and later as Sheriff of Nottoway County. He secured some bloodhounds and his training of these dogs established a widely known reputation throughout the country. He was loved and respected by all and for those who would like to have seen him may look upon his grandson Mr. Robert A. Westmoreland of Blackstone as an exact image in looks and mannerisms.

 

            Sergeant Sullivan resigned in 1915, and Mr. D. C. Jones was appointed as Sergeant. Mr. Jones was placed on night duty and newly hired superintendent of water works a Lee Bland was appointed a special policeman to assist Sergeant Jones when needed. Mr. Bland held these dual duties for many years and in spite of a small size was an excellent policeman.

 

            Mr. Jones retired in 1920 and on June 6, 1921, Mr. C. D. Weisiger was appointed Sergeant. Mr. Weisiger was a man of height and strong physique. Soon after arriving in Blackstone from Amelia County, where he had been in the lumber business, someone looked at his pants and remarked “look at them high pockets”. That nickname was bestowed on him. In spite of his appearance he was a quite mannered person and of deep religious convictions who performed excellent services until ill health forced his retirement in 1941.

 

            During Sergeant Weisiger’s tenure several night policeman were employed but most were unsatisfactory or resigned after short periods.

 

            Some time in the early years of 1930’s, Mr. E. C. “Cousin Alex” Hudgins was employed as a night policeman. He was a loud speaking person and would unconsciously utter minor profanity at times but if heard another do so it was a serious crime. He was remembered for the constant companion of his little dog “Pepper”. Pepper was trained to proceed ahead of Mr. Hudgins and would give a warning if something was observed and he deemed Mr. Hudgins should be aware.

 

            Mr. B. R. Rogers was employed as an extra policeman on January 4, 1932, and was made a regular policeman November 11, 1933. He served in an excellent manner until his death in May 1951.

 

            Mr. Thomas A. Moore was employed as an extra policeman and caretaker for the Fire Department in 1934 and later became a full time policeman and was recognized as one of the most loyal and dedicated employees the Town ever hired. He was retired due to ill health in May of 1956. He died soon thereafter.

 

            During all these years the Town had no police office or telephone and if needed the telephone operator was called and she would sound a horn. The policeman would find a telephone and call her for the message. It was later decided to give Mr. Rogers and Mr. Moore a key to the Town Office for this purpose. In inclement weather they could slip into the vestibule of the Citizens Bank to dry off or warm up. The town owned no police cars and none of the police could drive one. If transportation was needed a passing motorist was ordered to drive them. Some objected and if refused to assist the officer they were cited to court and fined.

 

            The present Municipal Building was constructed in 1934 and included a modern jail which could take care of 7 males and a female area for 2 women.

 

            Upon the opening of the jail a race began among some of the colorful characters as to who would be the first guest; who won in 1 hour and 15 minutes for drunkenness. By nightfall it was nearly full.

 

            In 1936 the Council requested the Division of Motor Vehicles to assign a trooper here due to the dangerous driving of motorists within this area. In 1937, Mr. W. H. Read, Jr., was assigned to this post and remained for several years until his promotion and transfer. He was well respected and in spite of being strict he had a host of friends.

 

            On December 1, 1942, L. B. Farley, Jr., a Nottoway County Deputy Sheriff, was appointed a special policeman to assist during the coming Christmas season. With the anticipation of building Camp Pickett and Sergeant Weisiger realizing his failing health prevented him from continuing, a search was made for his successor. Farley agreed to continue until an appointment was made and he became a full time officer. With the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, this area made vast changes in population and business. Work began immediately on Camp Pickett.

 

            The Town Council selected Mr. W. S. Terry, a former South Boston policeman as Chief of Police and Town Sergeant on January 19, 1942. Additional policemen were employed but few stayed due to poor salary and being drafted. It was a constant turnover in employees. Both Terry and Farley were granted an allowance of $20.00 and gasoline each month for their car usage.

 

            Chief Terry sought improvements within the police department which improved conditions. The police had previously been required to furnish their own uniforms and equipment which Council decided to furnish uniforms but no equipment such as pistols, belts, handcuffs, etc. The daily work schedule was 12 hours plus court time and any needed overtime without compensation. It was decided to allow the night policeman to report in at midnight once each 2 weeks. Their salary was $100.00 per month.

 

            This period of time was the beginning of full construction of nearby Camp Pickett with workers coming from many states and all over Virginia. With previous high unemployment nationwide these jobs were much sought. Many problems were created for the entire Town including the police department. Living facilities were very short and some slept where they could lie down. It was not unusual to see several hundred using church lawns, school grounds and automobiles. The floor to the railroad station was usually filled and at times the police were called to move them so passengers could enter. There were several all night restaurants which were usually filled. These transient workers were well behaved but along with them came problems of followers for illegal activities. The State Police assisted by promoting Bill Read to Sergeant and stationed five additional troopers in this area. As work progressed on Camp Pickett the soldiers began arriving with some bringing their wives. The local citizens opened up their homes to accommodate all possible. Mayor Hardy stated to Council that the population had increased from 2,700 residents to over 9,000. He stated that 8 of the last employed policeman had resigned or been drafted and that he was appointing several residents as special policeman. The Army began stationing a detail of Military Police to police the soldiers which was of major importance. These soldiers knew what was ahead for them and came into Town as often as possible. With the vast numbers, very few caused any trouble and appreciated the interest shown in them by our citizens.

 

            L. B.Farley, Jr., resigned on September 1, 1942, to enter the service leaving at a time that only Chief Terry, B. R. Rogers and Thomas A. Moore as policemen. Occasionally an additional man would be hired but few stayed any period of time. Those three policemen should always be remembered for having given faithful service to the Town during these hectic days.

 

            On June 12, 1945, Mr. William I. Moncure was elected as Mayor of Blackstone and as such the Police Department was under his direct control.

  

            With the winding down of World War II, Chief Terry submitted his resignation in September. This position was unfilled until January 7, 1946, when L. B. Farley, Jr., returned from military service and was appointed Chief of Police to begin January 15, 1946. In addition to Rogers and Moore, a Floyd Bain was serving as policeman. The working shift was reduced to 10 hours per day and each officer was allowed one day off per week.

 

            Additional policemen were sought and as usual the turnover rate was high. The Town began furnishing more equipment including pistols to the police and February 5, 1951, a rental agreement was approved with the C & P Telephone Company and the Virginia State Police for the services of a teletype machine. This was a major improvement as it was the first communications system other than telephone. The police department now has an updated and computerized system which can transmit and receive messages within a matter of seconds to all states and areas of the State of Virginia.

 

            In May of 1951, Mr. B. R. Rogers died ending 18 years of excellent service to the Town.

 

            On August 6, 1951, the Town installed parking meters in an attempt to control parking. From the beginning they were controversial and remained as such until their removal on September 1986.

 

            The year of 1951 ended with activity report showing 591 arrests, 46 breaking and entering, 281 traffic violations and 2 murders. Also Council authorized the increase in taxicab permits from 100 to 125. There are none at this time.

 

            On March 2, 1953, the Council authorized the purchase of its first police car and April authorized another. A complete two-way radio system was installed in the cars and a base station in the small room which served as Police Headquarters. Dispatchers were employed to handle these duties and Blackstone was recognized as the first town in this area to modernize its police department.

 

            On December 1, 1953, Blackstone was shocked by the discovery of an overturned and burned taxicab in Lake View Cemetery with the bodies of two persons. These persons were Dayton McKnight, the driver, and Lillian Loftis, a passenger who was believed to have been picked up inside Camp Pickett. It was established that both had been shot. In spite of a long and intensive investigation by local, State Police, F.B.I., and the Army C.I.D., the case has never been solved.

 

            In May of 1956, the much beloved and admired Thomas A. Moore resigned as a policeman due to ill health having served 22 years. He passed away shortly thereafter.

 

            On March 7, 1956, Mr. James Calvin Parrish was employed as a patrolman and was later made a Police Sergeant until his retirement on June 3, 1992.

 

            Around 1970, it was recognized by the citizens and legislative bodies of the United States that to cope with increasing crime and liberal courts, the police must be better trained. Federal funds were allotted to States and municipal bodies on a matching fund basis. A mandated and approved training of all policemen was established with specific guidelines. All newly employed officers must attend a basic school within one year after employment. All others were required to attend a one week retraining or in-service school every two years. This is still required and all officers are now well qualified. In addition, numerous schools of specialized training are held for those desiring to attend. This has been the greatest advancement in police functions in this century. Prior to this it was handed down knowledge from others which at times was incorrect. This has brought about better working conditions and incentives for employees.

             On September 1, 1972 Police Officer Larry T. Chumney begins employment with the department as a full time Police Officer. Officer Chumney currently serves as our Field Training Officer and our firearms instructor for the pistol and shotgun. On March 1, 1976 Clyde C. Rothgeb was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. In addition to his normal duties, Officer Rothgeb dedicates considerable time to enforce Commercial Motor Vehicle laws. On September 1, 1979 Barbara B. Rothgeb began employment as a part time Communications Officer. Shortly thereafter, she became full time. She resigned from her position in 1988 and later re-joined our department on October 1, 1996. 

            On September 8, 1980, Chief L. B. Farley, Jr., retired after having served 34 years. He was succeeded by Mr. Wayne S. Shields of nearby Dinwiddie County who was an experienced police officer and former acting Chief of Police for the City of Petersburg, Virginia.

 

            Chief Wayne S. Shields, upon starting to work on September 9, 1980, attended a scheduled meeting with all Police Personnel, the Mayor, and Chief L. B. Farley, Jr., for the purpose of Introduction.

 

            Chief Shields spent the next several weeks familiarizing himself with the internal procedures of the Police Department, the geographical areas of the Town Limits, and meeting the citizens and businesses.

 

            Chief Shields was pleasantly surprised with the overall operations of the Police Department, and with the personnel’s ability, knowledge, and dedication to Law Enforcement. Chief Shields was also pleased with warm and friendly reception and acceptance received from the citizens, businesses, Town officials, and members of the Police Department.

 

            Chief Shields established personnel attendance/leave procedures and records were set up. A Standard Operational Procedure Manual was started and all Police Officers were “Sworn In”.

 

            The Chief’s office was located across the street in the old police station. The balance of the police operations had moved into the fire station prior to Chief Shields arrival. Authorization was given by the Town Council to construct an office for the Chief in the fire station so that he would be located with the rest of the Police Operations.

 

            Chief Shields met with members of the Police Committee and plans were established for short and long range goals of the Police Department to include assignments of personnel, training requirements, uniforms, and equipment needs.

  

            The uniforms, equipment as outlined in this meeting were obtained during the next five years to include:

 

1.                  Standard uniforms for all sworn personnel, crowd control equipment, riot helmets, gas masks, new service weapons for everyone, soft body armor, an anti-sniper rifle and an additional shotgun for one of the vehicles that did not have one.

2.                  A new base radio station with private radio channels with the capability of cross-communications with the Fire Department and additional walkie talkies for Police Officers.

3.                  New electric sirens.

4.                  New emergency bar lights for the police vehicles.

5.                  A mug shot camera.

6.                  New badges and shields.

7.                  Addition of another sworn police officer’s position.

8.                  Increase in the starting salaries and additional fringe benefits, life insurance, vacation, and sick leave were approved in an effort to keep personnel.

9.                  A range for firearms training located at the site of the old Town landfill just out of the Town Limits off Courthouse Road.

10.              The need for additional space of two more officers and a temporary lockup were still being considered.

 

            During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there was a lot of public interest and demands for stronger enforcement on driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). As a result there were several changes made in the laws with stiffer penalties for persons convicted of DUI.

 

            The Police Department submitted an application for a grant through the Department of Transportation which was approved. The grant provided money to pay off-duty officers to work extra duty to specifically enforce DUI’s.

 

            In conjunction with this grant, the Blackstone Police Department received two Alco-Sensors and a Breathalyzer Machine for testing suspected DUI drivers. Also, selected officers were sent to a special 48 hour school and were certified by the State Lab to run and operate the Breathalyzer Machine. All of the officers were given a special 8 hour training class in the enforcement of DUI. This grant ran through 1981 and a new grant was applied and approved which ran through 1983.

 

            Dispatcher F. B. Atkins retired on January 1, 1981 after having served for nine years. Ms. W. J. Harper was hired as Dispatcher on December 21, 1980.

 

            Patrolman A. R. Lyles resigned on March 9, 1981 and F. M. Beisler, who was the Juvenile Probation Officer for Nottoway County was hired to replace Lyles on April 21, 1981.

 

            Dispatcher W. J. Harper resigned on June 15, 1981 and part-time Dispatcher B. B.  Rothgeb was promoted to full time Dispatcher to fill this position on June 15, 1981.

 

            The first major case to occur since Chief Shields started was a murder which took place on East Street near Irvin Street on September 18, 1981. A female had been beaten to death by her boyfriend who was arrested the following day.

 

            Dispatcher B. M. Vaughan resigned on May 28, 1982 and M. J. Moan was hired on June 22, 1982 in a new position created as a part time Dispatcher and part time Patrolman. This new duel position would serve two purposes; 1- to work as a dispatcher and 2- to work as a part time Patrolman and would be on-the-job training program. When a vacancy became available, this person could be promoted to the full time position and could start right away in either position. The Department would not have to go for a long period of time waiting for a replacement.

 

            The Department of Criminal Justice Services had also placed certain requirements on employment of Police Officers as well as establishing training standards. To meet these requirements in addition to guidelines set fourth by State and Federal Laws dealing with equal employment, the time it takes to process and go through a selection process generally takes 60 days.

 

            As you note from the following dates of resignations, the amount of time spent in the selection and training of replacements occupied a great amount of time and expense to the Town to keep the department at authorized strength.

 

            Patrolman F. M. Beisler resigned on August 21, 1982 and part time Patrolman M. J. Moan was promoted to full time Patrolman to fill this position on August 21, 1982.

 

            During this time there were several changes in the resignation and replacement of the Dispatchers, some of whom switched from part time to full time and then back to part time due to family sickness and personal reasons.

 

            Dispatcher G. J. Gray was employed and R. E. Stallings was also employed on October 18, 1982.

 

            The next major case involved a murder, where a male was stabbed to death following an argument over a card game on October 16, 1982. Police Officers were able to identify the suspect and learned he had left town and was in Petersburg, Virginia. The police in Petersburg were notified and he was arrested and returned to Nottoway for trial.

 

            Patrolman S. F. French, III resigned on April 29, 1983 to accept a position as Deputy Sheriff with the Nottoway County Sheriff’s Department. Patrolman J. H. Warren, a former officer with Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department was employed on June 13, 1983 to fill this position.

  

            Part time Patrolman/Dispatcher C. C. Castle was hired on June 8, 1983 to fill the vacancy of the part time Patrolman/Dispatcher which had been open since August 21, 1982.

 

            Patrolman C. E. Hammer resigned on August 19, 1983 and part time Patrolman/Dispatcher C. C. Castle was promoted to full time patrolman to fill this position.

 

            On September 27, 1983 police were notified by N & W Railway that a body had been seen on the side of the railway behind Southside Transportation Company. It was first thought that he had been struck by a train as the person lived across the tracks and frequently crossed there walking back and forth to town. The body was sent to Richmond to the State Medical Examiners for an autopsy. On the third day police were advised that the person had not been killed by the train and that it was murder. Police Officers immediately started an investigation and on the same evening, two persons had been arrested and charged with murder and robbery. It was learned that the two had hid beside the tracks waiting for the victim to come home, knowing where he would cross the tracks. The two surprised the victim and each struck him about the head. One of the suspects used a pair of “Nun Chucks” which is two pieces of hard wood connected with a chain and commonly used in connection with Martial Arts Combat. The other suspect had used a large wrench that he had taken from one of the milk trucks parked behind Southside Transportation. The large wrench was used to connect/disconnect the lines from the milk holding tank.

 

            Patrolman J. H. Warren resigned on October 1, 1983 and Patrolman J. O. Abernathy was employed on December 27, 1983 to fill this vacancy.

 

            Part time Patrolman/Dispatcher T. C. Gregory was hired on December 6, 1983 to fill this position. Mr. Gregory was the first black Police Officer to have been hired.

 

            Dispatcher J. L. (Koziol) Garret resigned on February 6, 1984 and M. R. Yeatts was employed on February 13, 1984. Mr. Yeatts resigned on April 2, 1984.

 

            In 1985, the Department of Criminal Justice Services started requiring that part time employees receive the same training as full time employees. As such, part time Patrolman T. C. Gregory was required to attend the Basic Entrance Level School which had increased to 12 weeks. Upon completing the Basic School, Gregory resigned on July 1, 1985 to accept employment with Henrico County Police Department as a full time Patrolman.

 

            In as much that the part time Patrolman had to complete the full 12 weeks Basic School, it was decided that this position would not be continued and authorization was given by the Town Council to make this a full time position.

 

            Patrolman J. B. Rutledge resigned on June 30, 1985 to accept a Deputy Sheriff’s position with Nottoway County. Patrolman R. K. Hudgins, who had prior experience with Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Wakefield, Virginia, was employed on July 1, 1985 for this opening.

 

            Patrolman M. K. Hall resigned on June 27, 1986 for a position with the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Department. Patrolman J. S. Howard was employed to fill this vacancy.

 

            Patrolman C. C. Castle resigned on June 30, 1986 to accept the position of Chief of Police in Crewe, Virginia. Patrolman K. Lloyd, the second black officer, was employed by the Department on August 25, 1986.

 

            Patrolman T. C. Carter was employed on August 18, 1986 to fill the additional position authorized by the Town Council which had formally been a part time position.

 

            Dispatcher L. S. Worsham resigned on February 28, 1987 and Dispatcher L. G. Mottley was employed on March 1, 1987 for this vacancy.

 

            Patrolman J. S. Howard resigned on December 12, 1986 to accept a position with the State Police. Patrolman J. B. Landry was employed on January 21, 1987.

 

            Captain L. M. Eads retired on March 1, 1987 after having served since April 20, 1977. Patrolman D. L. Powers, a former Police Officer with Petersburg and Central State Hospital, was employed on August 7, 1987 to fill this sworn position held by Captain Eads.

 

            Patrolman D. L. Powers was employed and worked with the Town Street Department until October 14, 1987 to work in an undercover assignment in an attempt to catch persons suspected of “dealing drugs”. He was pulled out of this undercover status early because someone had discovered him as being a police officer before he was able to make any cases.

 

            The next two major cases occurred during the weekend of April 25, and April 27, 1987. A local Supermarket and Jewelry Store were broken into and the safe in both businesses were entered. The supermarket occurred on a Friday night and the jewelry store was entered on the following Sunday night. The total value of merchandise stolen from the jewelry store was the largest of any case on file with the Blackstone Police Department. Police suspected that both B & E’s were committed by the same persons because of the similar way both the buildings were entered and the way both safes were opened. At least three sets of clothing, to include shoes, were found discarded just off Route 46 approximately 4 miles west of the Town limits the day after the B & E’s were discovered. Investigation led police to believe that their two B & E’s were done by a group of “professional” thieves working in a large area from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Chesterfield, and South Boston and into North Carolina. Police have had no “real” leads and the case has not been solved as of today.

 

           

            Patrolman M. J. Moan resigned on July 10, 1987 to accept a position with the Amelia County Sheriff’s Department. Patrolman M. D. Slaughter was employed for this position.

 

            Dispatcher L. G. Mottley resigned on August 15, 1987 to accept a similar position with the Chesterfield County Police Department. Dispatcher H. M. Kreider was promoted from part time Dispatcher to full time on August 15, 1987. Dispatcher S. G. Walker was employed on September 8, 1987 as a part time Dispatcher.

 

            Patrolman M. B. Landry was employed on August 28, 1987 to replace J. B. Landry (no relation) who resigned on August 28, 1987 to accept a position with the Virginia State Police.

 

            Patrolman T. C. Carter resigned on September 14, 1987 to accept a position of Police Officer with James Madison University where he would return to school to work on his Masters Degree.

 

            Because of shortages caused by the resignations during the summer of 1987, Captain L. M. Eads was asked to return in a part time status to help out. Captain Eads agreed and worked part time from July 11, through November, 1987 until new officers could be hired and they had gained enough experience to be able to work on a limited basis. The Police Department and citizens were very much appreciative of Captain Eads help.

 

             On April 8, 1988 Earnest "Chris" Klocke Jr. was appointed to the position of full time Communications Officer.

 

             On April 7, 1997 Lee F. Scott Jr. was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Scott is the department's First Aid Instructor and is responsible to oversee the Project Lifesaver program. In addition, Officer Scott serves as our Community Police Officer and organizes many of our community events and programs to include the "Soap Box Derby", "Shop with a Cop", "National Night Out" and our annual trip to see the Richmond Braves with our youth baseball team that we sponsor. 

 

             On October 20, 1997 Barbara J. Strunk began her employment as a Clerk / Communications Officer. In February 2003, Barbara changed duties and became the Secretary to the Chief where she served until her retirement on January 6, 2006. Barbara's retirement dinner was held during our annual Christmas dinner on December 2, 2005 and was well attended.

 

             On November 16, 1998 Arthur Allen Booth, II was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Booth resigned from his position on July 1, 2005 to accept a position with the Nottoway County Sheriff's Office. Officer Booth returned to the Blackstone Police Department on September 18, 2006. Officer Booth serves as the department's defensive driving instructor, participates in the "fatal vision" program and conducts background investigations for prospective employees. He later resigned from his position October 17, 2011.      

 

             On February 14, 2000 Christopher B. Mathias was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Mathias began his law enforcement career with the Virginia Department of Corrections.

 

             On October 1, 2000 Dwayne A. Sneade was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Sneade was instrumental in maintaining our computer records management system. Officer Sneade resigned from his position on June 1, 2006.

 

             On January 7, 2002 Christine Bradley began employment with the department as a full time Communications Officer. Communications Officer Bradley later resigned from her position effective January 3, 2005. 

 

             On September 4, 2002 Jerry "Jay" W. Schnepf began his employment with the Town as a full time Police Officer. Officer Schnepf was involved in the creation of the first ever "Shop with a Cop" program and the"Guns and Hoses" softball game. Officer Schnepf later resigned his position on January 17, 2006 to accept a position with the Fort Pickett Police Department.

 

This part of the history of the Blackstone Police Department was prepared by then Chief W. S. Shields and was found in a file cabinet after he retired.

                             CONTINUATION OF BLACKSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT HISTORY_____________ 

            On December 31, 2002 Chief W. S. Shields retires from the Department after 23 years of service. The Blackstone Police Department and the citizens of Blackstone would like to thank Chief Shields for his long service not only as Chief but his total years as a Law Enforcement Officer.

 

            In February 2003 the Blackstone Fire Department relocates to new fire station on Church Street. Prior to this date, the Police Department and Fire Department shared the same facility.

 

            On February 7, 2003 Chief Nicholas C. Kuzmiak is appointed to the position of Chief of Police.

 

            On February 24, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department begins the renovation process to the police station. The beginning phase of the renovations reveals a new office for the Sergeant, the Chief of Police, and the Secretary to the Chief. In addition, and a new training/conference room was created.

 

            In March 2003 the Blackstone Police Department introduces the Project Lifesaver Program to assist those residents who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

            On March 9, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department introduces the Fatal Vision program which is designated to teach drivers the affects of drinking and driving by the use of simulation goggles.

 

            On April 30, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department selects a new style uniform badge.

 

            On May 2, 2003 Dispatcher Donny H. Orange retires after 30 years of service to the Blackstone Police Department. Dispatcher Orange was is credited with establishing our first record management system, arrest card system, which is still used today, and with producing professional accident reports. Dispatcher Orange is credited with establishing a professional communication center while he was here.

 

            On May 12, 2003 Blackstone Police Department adopts the Citizen Ride-A-Long program which allows community members to ride with a police officer to take a more in-depth look at the job of a police officer.

 

            On May 26, 2003 Louise I. Johnson is hired as a full time Dispatcher to fill the vacancy of D. H. Orange. Dispatcher Johnson had previously worked for the Blackstone Police Department for 12 years from March 23, 1988 through January 16, 2001.

 

            On May 31. 2003 Officer C. D. Pratt resigns to take a position as deputy with the Nottoway County Sheriff’s Department.

 

            On June 3, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department after months of consideration and preparation, designed a new shoulder patch to be worn on the uniform.

 

            On June 30, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department selects the Dodge Intrepid as the new police car and orders 5 cars. The new logo design was created by Destiny Design Werks, operated by Fred and Ellen Bradley.

 

            On July 17, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department reviewed several options for a new uniform appearance. The officers selected to wear charcoal grey pants and grey shirt which would replace the navy blue uniform currently in use.

 

            On July 21, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department created the position of Lieutenant and promoted Sergeant Donald R. Ostrander to the new position. He began his career with the Town of Crewe Police Department and joined our department on March 1, 1997. On November 10, 2005 he resigned his position of Lieutenant and returned to the rank of Police Officer.

 

            On July 23, 2003 Tony S. Mayton is hired as a full time Police Officer to fill one of the vacancies. Officer Mayton assists with the "fatal vision" program, designs and builds our police department float for the annual Christmas parade. Tony S. Mayton was promoted to sergeant in 2010.  

            On August 19, 2003 installation and training begins on a new Computer Records Management System. This system is designed to improve the efficiency, professionalism of police services and records documentation and retention.

 

            On September 12, 2003 Officer J. M. McNabb resigns after 10 years of service. Officer McNabb began his employement as a full time Police Officer on May 1, 1993.

 

             In October 2003 phase #2 of the construction begins to the remainder of the Police Department. Members of the department are displaced during this construction phase and will be housed in a large office trailer located in the rear parking lot of the police station. The construction is expected to last 4-6 months.

           

             On October 6, 2003 we purchase "Dan", a German Shepard to be used as a narcotics detection police canine.  Officer Schnepf was assigned as the canine handler. 

            

            On December 1, 2003 the Blackstone Police Department implements the Take Home Car Policy where the officers can take cars home in order that they may respond faster to calls when needed to be called in on emergencies.

 

            On January 15, 2004 Michael L. Harmon is hired as a full time Police Officer to fill one of the vacancies. Officer Harmon resigned from his position on August 7, 2006.

 

            On March 29, 2004 the Blackstone Police Department moved back into the new ronovated police station.

 

            On July 14, 2004 Rodney K. Brisentine was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Brisentine resigned from his position and accepted a position as a Deputy with the Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office.  

 

             On September 20, 2004 the department hired Franklin D. Radcliff as a part time Animal Control Officer. Radcliff resigned from his position on May 14, 2012.  

 

             On January 10, 2005 Carl "Sam" Murphy was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer.

 

             On March 2, 2005 we replaced "Dan" our narcotics detection canine with "Abbe", a Labrador Retriever.  

 

             In May of 2005, our department sponsored our first ever youth baseball team. The name of the team was the "Blackstone Police Department K-9's". We continue to sponsor a team each year and conclude the season by chartering a bus and taking the team to Richmond to see the Richmond Braves baseball team.

 

             On August 1, 2005 Dina G. Drinkwater began her employment with our department as a full time Communications Officer. She later attended the police academy and became a full time Police Officer. Officer Drinkwater resigned from her position on February 9, 2007.

 

             On August 13, 2005 our department hosted the first annual "Guns and Hoses" softball tournament. The tournament was arranged by Officer Schnepf and was designed as a Police versus Fire tournament. Police forces in the Town of Crewe, Blackstone and the Nottoway Sheriff's Office teamed up to face members of the Blackstone, Crewe and Burkeville Fire Departments. Although the final score is unknown, and the umpiring was questionable, it is believed that the game was won by the Fire Department.

 

             On August 23, 2005, our department purchased a golf cart, through a grant, which we have used for our fatal vision program, national night out and the Christmas parade.

 

            On September 11, 2005 we presented our first annual "Soap Box Derby" which was held in conjunction with the Arts and Crafts Festival sponsored by the Blackstone Chambber of Commerce. The program began by soliciting donations from businesses to "sponsor" a car. A total of six businesses sponsored and purchased a kit to build a  car. Sergeant Chris Mathias spent approximately 24 hours to assemble each vehicle. When completed, the vehicle would be delivered to Burkeville Body Shop to be painted and lettered free of charge. The derby is open to all children, age 6-14, and participation is free. Trophies and shirts are awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each age category.

 

             On October 29, 2005 with the assistance of Town Manager Larry Palmore, the Blackstone Town Council, the Blackstone Moose Lodge and Bobby Daniels, we introduced the Blackstone Police Department Skatepark. A special thanks to Sergeant Chris Mathias who spent countless hours designing and constructing three of the ramps. Well over 200 youth have signed up to use the park. Membership to the park is free,  the youth must have health insurance and helmets are required at all times while skating.

 

             On December 5, 2005 Patricia L. Booth was appointed as a full time Communications Officer. On January 6, 2006 Trisha changed her duties and replaced Barbara Strunk as the Secretary to the Chief. Patricia Booth resigned from her position on July 14, 2008. 

 

                          

             On December 17, 2005 our department introduced the first annual "Shop with a Cop" program. This program is designed to enhance the holiday season for less fortunate children in our area. Each year, we solicit donations from the business and residential community. With these donations, we purchase gift cards to provide to each participating child. Police Officers picked up the children in a police vehicle and transported them to Wal-Mart for a shopping spree with their gift cards. After shopping, the children were treated to lunch with Santa and to bowling. Each year we try to collect more donations to help more children. We also try to offer them a different activity each year. In 2006, the children enjoyed a movie. In 2007, we made arrangements with Officer Rothgeb to have the children enjoy a day of horseback riding. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we went bowling instead. We truly appreciate all of those who donated and helped to make this program possible!

 

             In December of 2005, Officer Tony Mayton designed our first ever float to participate in the annual Blackstone Christmas Parade. Our float placed 2nd! Each year he continues this tradition by designing and building our floats for the parade. 

 

             On January 1, 2006 Police Officer Christopher B. Mathias was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Mathias coordinates the department's day to day activities and serves as our department's firearms instructor; to include the pistol, shotgun and patrol rifle. Sergeant Mathias also oversees our tactical response team.

 

             On January 17, 2006 Officer Tony Mayton was assigned the duties of canine handler.

 

             On January 23, 2006 our department elects to lease three Dodge Chargers as the Dodge Intrepid is no longer available.

 

             On March 13, 2006 Lucy I. Jones is appointed to the position of part time Communications Officer. She remained a short time and resigned from her position on June 6, 2006.

 

             On June 2, 2006 we replaced "Abbe" our narcotics detection canine with "Oakley". Oakley had prior experience with the United States Customs Department.

 

             In July of 2006, Blackstone experienced a severe thunder and lightning storm during the annual "Fireworks For Freedom" festival which was held at Fort Pickett. During the storm all of the festival attendees ran for shelter from the damaging storm which lasted nearly one hour. BABS buses were brought in to assist with evacuation. As a result of the heavy rain, the police department suffered flooding in most areas with several inches of water. Replacement of tile, carpeting, molding and some equipment was needed.

 

             On July 11, 2006 the Town appointed Phillip L. Watts to the position of full time Police Officer. Officer Watts remained a short time and resigned from his position on November 1, 2006.

 

             On August 8, 2006 David M. Conner was appointed to the position of full time Communications Officer. He remained a short time and resigned from his position effective August 20, 2006.

 

             On August 14, 2006 Investigator Dallas L. Powers resigned from his position after serving nineteen years with the Town.

 

             On November 6, 2006 the Town appointed Raymond R. Seccombe to the position of part-time Communications Officer. He later resigned from his position on November 27, 2006.

 

             On November 6, 2006 Christie D. Mouser began her employment with the Town as a full time Communications Officer. On July 10, 2007 Christie was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. She later resigned from her position on October 14, 2008.

 

             On December 13, 2006 made possible through a Department of Criminal Justice Records Management Grant, we equipped each patrol car, a total of 13, with dell laptop computers.

 

             In December of 2006, in recognition of his hard work and service above and beyond, we nominated Animal Control Officer Frank Radcliff as our "Officer of the Year." Frank was honored by the Southside Virginia Community College during their annual Officer of the Year banquet. A photograph of Frank is proudly on display in our conference room.

 

             On January 17, 2007 Jeffrey W. Radcliff was appointed as a full time Police Officer. Officer Radcliff resigned from his position after a brief period on August 9, 2007.

  

             On January 17, 2007 Brock T. Tomlin was appointed as a full time Police Officer. Officer Tomlin has prior law enforcement experience in the state of Wisconsin. He later resigned from his position on September 8, 2009.

 

             On June 8, 2007, Dawn R. Bishop was appointed to the position of full time Communications Officer. She is now a full time dispatcher at Nottoway County Sheriff's Office.

 

             On June 20, 2007 Danny L. Joyner joined the department as a full time Police Officer. Officer Joyner has prior law enforcement experience as he was a Deputy with the Nottoway County Sheriff's Office. He later resigned from his position on Aptil 28, 2009.

 

             On June 26, 2007 we were saddened by the unexpected death of "Oakley" our narcotics detection canine. A service to honor Oakley was held at our firearms range.

 

             On August 3, 2007 the department celebrates the 20th anniversary of Ms. Mattie Neal and her coordination of and contributions to the "National Night Out". At age 88, Ms. Neal continues to be the driving force behind the Night Out activities in Blackstone.            

 

             On October 1, 2007 the department introduces its first ever police motorcycle. The cost of the motorcycle and the necessary equipment was acquired through a grant. We are expecting the motorcycle to serve as a multi-purpose vehicle to include patrol duties, traffic enforcement, parade details and other special assignments.

 

             In December of 2007, in recognition of his 34 years of dedication and continued service to the Town of Blackstone, we nominated Police Officer Larry T. Chumney as our "Officer of the Year".  Larry was recognized by the Southside Virginia Community College during their annual Officer of the Year banquet. A photograph of Officer Chumney is proudly on display in our conference room.

 

             On January 1, 2008 Officer Carl "Sam" Murphy was promoted to the position of full time Investigator.

 

             On January 14, 2008 Douglas "Shay" Farley was appointed to the position of full time Police Officer. On April 02, 2012 Officer Farley resigned from his position and accepted a position as a Police Officer with the Farmville Police Department.  

 

             On Friday March 14th 2008, members of the Blackstone Police Department, Nottoway County Sheriff's Office, Crewe Police Department, Burkeville Police Department and the Virginia State Police, met at Marino's in Burkeville for the inagural meeting of the Nottoway County Law Enforcement Association. It was decided that a monthly meeting would be held on the second Friday of every month.

 

    On November 7, 2008 the department's first ever Breath Alcohol Testing instrument was installed.

 

     On January 5, 2009 Officer Brad Myers began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department. He later resigned from his position on August 20, 2009.

 

     On January 14, 2009 Officer Gordon Hallock began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department. On July 19, 2012 Officer Hallock resigned from his position as police officer.

     On January 12, 2009 Officer Dustin Shepherd began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department. On February 01, 2012 Officer Shepherd resigned from his position and accepted a position as a Deputy with the Nottoway County Sheriff's Office.  
     
     In the spring of 2009 the Blackstone Police Department changed their uniforms from gray to black and also changed the patch from yellow to red.

     On January 5, 2010 Officer Seth Myers began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department.

     On January 5, 2010 Officer Candice Stembridge began her career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department. On May 18, 2012 Officer Stembridge resigned from her position and accepted a position as a Police Officer with the Farmville Police Department.  

     On January 10, 2011 Officer Chris Wallace began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department.

     In 2011 the Blackstone Police Department introduced it's first traditional black and white police cruiser.

     On December 15, 2012 Officer Jason Robertson began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department.

     On January 14, 2013 Officer Kevin Webb began his career with the Town of Blackstone Police Department.