Pulaski Police Department gains accreditation again

The Town of Pulaski Police Department has received its fourth award of accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.

Derrick Mays, Accreditation Program Manager for the VLEPSC, and Chief Rick Arnold of the Wytheville Police Department – a member of the VLEPSC Board – appeared at Tuesday’s work session of Pulaski Town Council to present Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche with his department’s latest accreditation certificate.

Mays spoke briefly to council, noting that when he is out speaking to law enforcement agencies about accreditation he is often asked why they should want to be accredited.

“I often answer with a question,” Mays said. “Do you want your schools accredited? But of course, they reply. Do you want your hospital accredited? But of course, they again reply. Well then, why wouldn’t you want the people protecting and serving you 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year to be accredited?”

Mays said those law enforcement agencies that have achieved accreditation are “premiere law enforcement agencies.”

Chief Arnold had praise for Roche and the members of his department – many of whom he said he had helped to train in the academy.

“He has an excellent department,” Arnold stated.

Arnold noted that currently about 100 law enforcement agencies out of just over 400 in Virginia have achieved accreditation.

Arnold explained that to be accredited, a law enforcement agency must meet 190 different standards during an assessment of the agency by the commission each year for four years. This year, he noted, the Pulaski department had achieved a perfect assessment.

In receiving the certificate, Roche said he was proud of his department’s achievement and gave credit to the “sworn and non-sworn members of the department.”

Also during Tuesday’s work session, council approved a Special Exception request to allow for an indoor baseball facility in the town and heard a report on the town’s most recent audit.

Todd Davis, coach of the NRV Tigers – a youth travel baseball team – had requested a Special Exception to develop an indoor baseball facility in a portion of property located at 1040 E. Main Street. The property is in what is commonly referred to as Pulaski Mall, and is owned by Bob Strenz’s RAS Properties LLC.

Tuesday’s work session also served as the setting for a joint public hearing by the town’s Planning Commission and Council on Davis’ request.

After hearing a report by Deputy Town Manager Nichole Hair and comments by Davis, the Planning Commission moved to a conference room to consider the request so it could make a recommendation to Council on the matter.

In his remarks to Council and the planners, Davis said he started the Tigers team in 2012, and since then 28 kids “from Lynchburg to Tazewell” who played for the team had gone on to play baseball in college.

Davis said he hopes to continue to build up the Tigers program and attract participation from more youths ages 8 to 18 from all over Southwest Virginia who can hone their baseball skills in the facility.

Davis added that for kids in the area who want to play baseball in college, “we’re going to make it happen.”

In the end, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Special Exception with four conditions – all related to parking, lighting and keeping the area around the baseball facility clean.

Council took the planners’ recommendation and unanimously approved the Special Exception.

Emily Viers with Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates reported on the town’s most recent audit.

Viers said the town had received a “clean unmodified opinion” – which she said is the result the town should hope to receive.

During her report, Viers noted the town’s unassigned fund balance had grown to $1.4 million from $985,000 the year before – and is at a level of 17 percent in relation to expenditures.

Viers said auditors would like to see a municipality at the 20 percent and preferably 25 percent levels.

However, she said Pulaski’s 17 percent is good and “stronger than some other localities” she had made similar presentations for recently.

She noted 10 percent is the minimum level.



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