Bryan Maines’ roots run deep into the mountains of Alleghany – his family has been here for generations. A 20+ year veteran of the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office, he worked his way through a variety of roles within the department. He recently completed his first year as sheriff. I recently sat down with him to review the accomplishments of his first year in office. Specifically, we talked about new programs that he has initiated or expanded.
Are You Ok?
During his years as a deputy, Sheriff Maines had numerous experiences in which someone called the sheriff’s office and asked them to check on a family member who was responding to a telephone call. These were often older adults, many of whom lived alone. Deputies often arrived to find the person had fell and many times laid in the floor for hours before help arrived. In the Are You Ok? program, anyone who is homebound or mobility impaired can register and receive a computer generated call each day at a prearranged time. If the person fails to answer, a series of checks take place ultimately resulting with a deputy responding to conduct a welfare check. The program is designed to improve response time in the event someone has an unreported emergency. The initial cost of the equipment for this program was $1000.
Drug and Violence Prevention Program
Sheriff Maines recognizes that having a true impact on crime and ensuring a sense of public safety requires a multifaceted approach. While his department works assertively to attack crime head on through making arrests, Sheriff Maines also recognizes the role of crime prevention strategies. Through the Drug and Violence Prevention Program, 5th graders in Alleghany County Schools are taught the negative consequences of tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse. The program also communicates a strong anti-bullying message. Most important, the students are taught strategies on how to avoid these activities.
Domestic Violence Grant
The sheriff office applied for and received a $100,000 grant that funds two full-time deputies whose duties are focused on domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. These officers ensure that all sexual offenders are properly entered into the sexual offender registry (this allows anyone to determine if there are sexual offenders in their neighborhood). The deputies also follow-up on instances of domestic violence and help the families receive assistance in order to prevent future acts of violence. This is a one year grant that must be renewed each year to continue the funding.
Every school in the county has a deputy visit the school each day. Sheriff Maines points out that this is not just a quick pass through the parking lot. The deputies actually go into the schools and spend time getting to know the students. The visits are equal parts school safety and building relationships in the community.
Deputies currently patrol 150-200 miles per 12-hour shift. These patrols have crime detection and crime prevention elements that are intended to keep the community safe. Sheriff Maines encourages the deputies to get out of their patrol vehicles and to spend time getting to know the people in these communities.
Five pickup trucks have been rotated out of service and replaced with all-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are more fuel efficient and will result in lower operational costs. Three more vehicles are in transit and will replace three additional trucks in the near future. The cost of these new vehicles is covered in part by monies seized as the result of drug arrests.
- Reduce Recidivism – The rate of people returning to jail or prison after their release is high. Sheriff Maines wants to address the causative issues and reduce the instances of people falling back into criminal behavior.
- Community Outreach – Sheriff Maines wants to expand his outreach programs to keep the public better informed. He currently uses social media, speaking to civic groups, the local newspaper and other sources to make the public aware of scams and other potential criminal activity.
- Church Security Program – Unfortunately, churches are easy targets for criminals. Sheriff Maines wants to offer consulting to churches so they can work to keep their congregations safe.
- Internet Safety – The recent murder of a young girl in neighboring Virginia reinforces the fact that the Internet can be a dangerous place. Sheriff Maines plans to offer awareness training for families so that all family members can use the Internet safely.
Two words surface frequently when Sheriff Maines discusses the mindset and focus of the sheriff’s office – proactivity and prevention. High visibility patrol, a strong visual presence in the courthouse, early intervention and prevention programs, relationship building with citizens of all ages are just a few of the methods used to keep the citizens of Alleghany County safe. Sheriff Maines is quick to point out that it is a dedicated staff of deputies, detention officers, telecommunicators, and administrative staff that provide this public service. It may all be summed up as simply neighbors looking out for neighbors. It is a practice found throughout our county and a trait that is Absolutely Alleghany.
For more information visit www.alleghanysheriff.org
The photos used were retrieved for the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.