Safety is the priority for the law enforcement agencies around Smith Mountain Lake. And while the lake is generally a peaceful place, the area residents appreciate and count on the presence of the law there to help keep things that way. So the news of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Substation at Westlake soon-to-be staffed is welcome indeed.
The Westlake Substation of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will soon be staffed, according to newly elected Sheriff Ewell A. Hunt. Hunt made the announcement last week with the plans to have the substation open as soon as possible.
“It’s going to be shortly,” Major Josh Carter of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said.
Currently, the substation computer system is being updated to allow staff and officers at the station to work from Westlake without having to commute from the main station in Rocky Mount several times a day. An announcement of an opening date is expected as soon as the substation’s computer system is updated.
According to Carter, the plans are to have the substation open mainly during daylight hours Monday through Friday and for a short time on Saturday. The hours will most likely be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week. Carter also stated that plans are for the substation to eventually be open 24 hours just like the main office in Rocky Mount.
“That will require additional manpower,” Carter said.
Plans are to staff the substation with two officers and an administrative assistant at first. The substation would be the officer’s base of operations where they would be able to do all the core management necessary for the officers without the need to travel to the main office. As more manpower becomes available, the number of officers at the substation will likely increase.
Staffing the substation should make the sheriff’s office more accessible as well as greatly improve the response time of officers to the lake area, something Hunt has lobbied for since he was a lieutenant with the sheriff’s office. Adding staff to the substation was one of the major platforms for Hunt during his campaign for sheriff last year.