Cumberland sheriff’s office gets upgrades thanks to federal grant

Published 8:17 am Friday, July 21, 2023

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CUMBERLAND – Last week, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office received a Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) grant. Now they’re going to use it to help pay off their bills. Currently the grant funding totals $487,112 to help with some needed upgrades. 

This grant will be used in a couple of different ways to keep the residents of Cumberland County safe. With the recent release of the county’s crime numbers from 2022 being one of the lowest in the region, Cumberland hopes to keep that momentum. 

With the grant, the Sheriff’s Office plans to purchase two new deputy vehicles. Along with the new vehicles, all vehicles will receive new car cameras as the current ones are 20 years old and in need of an upgrade. The funds will also go towards the County’s Victim Witness Program and for two School Resource Officers to add another level of safety for Cumberland students. 

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“This is a huge step forward for our public safety efforts and will help us in our goal in providing the best public safety services for our residents,” said Sheriff Darrel Hodges.

Even though it won’t come from this specific grant, the Sheriff’s Office also has more coming its way that was recently approved by the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors. Along with the two from the DCJS grant, the board approved the purchase of three additional vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office. The board also approved more for the Animal Control Office including a new vehicle for the officers and the approval of an additional part-time Animal Control officer to help carry the heavy workload the current officers have faced lately. 

“The capital and service level investments for public safety by the Cumberland Board of Supervisors will serve the residents of the County for many years to come and clearly shows the Board’s commitment to public safety,” said Board Chairman Brian Stanley.

Cumberland sheriff’s office still holding up

The County’s public safety investments in the past 12 months have totaled approximately $1,832,000 in total. This consists of mostly The American Rescue Plan Act funding, but has also come from grants and general funding. This total doesn’t include the $2.1 million identified through the county’s debt restructure which is allocated for the future radio system project. 

And here’s been the result. Overall in Cumberland, there were 84 reported crimes against property in 2022. That means things like robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft and forgery, among others. Compare that to 270 property crimes reported in Buckingham County and 514 reported during the same period in Prince Edward County. 

Looking closer at the property crimes, there were only three reports of ID theft, one of credit card fraud, seven burglaries, five cases of counterfeit material and 24 reports of vandalism. The same crimes are much higher in other counties. Cumberland only saw three reports of motor vehicle theft, for example, in 2022. Neighboring Prince Edward reported 14, while Buckingham saw 34. 

The comparisons were similar for “crimes against people”, such as assaults, murder, rape and intimidation. Cumberland only reported 41 total incidents, compared to 70 in Buckingham and 212 in Prince Edward. The majority of those in Cumberland were assault cases, with 26 simple assault and 10 reports of aggravated assault.