Police department receives grant
The Town of Farmville Police Department has been awarded the Commonwealth of Virginia Byrne/Justice Assistance Grant to help in the recovery of stolen firearms, according to Chief A.Q. “Andy” Ellington.
Ellington said that a $6,759 grant would be used for directed patrols/interdiction enforcement targeting. “ We will use it for the recovery of stolen firearms. We also are going to be visiting local gun dealers to inspect current security measures and to make any recommendations that we see needed,” he said.
Ellington says that the grant will allow the police department to offer overtime to officers, to focus specifically on interdiction efforts, without those officers being pulled away for routine calls for police service,
“We believe this could have a significant impact on the safety of our neighborhoods and the overall community,” said Ellington.
The chief further stated that firearm-related crime is on the rise in the Town of Farmville and over the last 18 months the department has seen a 200% increase in firearms seized due to illegal firearm activity (i.e., possession by convicted felons, possession of a firearm while in possession a schedule I or II drug, concealed weapons violations, etc.).
“Calls for service involving ‘shots fired’ have risen 62%, while ‘shooting’, and, brandishing, calls for service have both doubled in that same timeframe,” added Ellington.
Additionally, there are two firearms dealers in the area, and both have been broken into in recent years, with 17 firearms stolen.
Not all those firearms were recovered, according to Ellington.
Ellington says that in May one local pawnshop/firearms dealer had two different firearm thefts, and only one firearm was recovered.
“Historically, while conducting joint narcotic and gang interdiction operations with the VSP (Virginia State Police) Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Bureau of Field operations we have had success in locating firearms,” said Ellington. “We would like to duplicate those efforts with operations that focus more on targeting illegal firearms activity.”