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Reed says photo was investigated

Prince Edward Sheriff Wesley W. Reed said Wednesday that he’s investigated the situation surrounding a photo of what appears to be a person reclining under a blanket in the office’s dispatch center.

“After my initial comment regarding the photograph, I felt the need to advise the citizens of Prince Edward County that this matter was investigated and the employee was dealt with according to our personnel policy,” Reed said in a press release.

Reed, who is seeking re-election in November, previously told The Herald that climate control was not good in the sheriff’s office, adding “if somebody being covered up with a blanket to stay warm, there’s nothing there to say that they were asleep or whether they were praying.”

The photo was posted on Facebook by Brandon Whitehead on Aug. 16 and praised by one of Reed’s opponents, former Deputy Sheriff Brandon Cummings, whom Reed fired last week.

“I received information from The Farmville Herald requesting a statement less than a day prior to the story being released in the newspaper. I was not aware of this photo until the same day The Farmville Herald called me about it. I did not have an opportunity to review the issue prior to the request for a statement at press,” Reed said.

This photo, which was posted on Facebook on Aug. 16 by Brandon Whitehead, has resulted in numerous comments on social media.

This photo, which was posted on Facebook on Aug. 16 by Brandon Whitehead, has resulted in numerous comments on social media.

Reed said that all matters involving employees of the sheriff’s office are handled in accordance to set policies and procedures.

“We are proud to say that we are a state-accredited agency with processes that allow the governance of this agency in a professional manner. I believe the release of the photograph to be politically motivated with an attempt to bring discredit upon the Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.

Reed said that as the county’s sheriff, he will “continue to maintain an open-door policy for all citizens of the county. I openly encourage dialogue with anyone having a concern or issue that they wish to bring to my attention or discuss.”

In the release, Reed identified numerous accomplishments of the department since he was elected sheriff.

“The Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office exists to protect and serve the citizens of Prince Edward County. As Sheriff, I will continue to use my experience and available resources to fulfill these responsibilities entrusted to me by the citizens of the county,” Reed said.