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Halifax County sheriff visits Richmond to oppose cuts

Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin, along with Maj. Thomas Logan and several deputies joined over 200 sheriffs and deputies from throughout the state in traveling to Richmond earlier this month in opposition to proposed reductions of $13.4 million to public safety budgets for sheriffs.

In addition to the $13.4 million reduction in public safety budget for sheriffs, The Virginia Sheriff’s Association also opposes a budget proposal offered by Gov. Bob McDonnell that calls for sheriffs and their staffs to pay 5 percent on their retirements, provided that the locality grants a 3 percent salary increase.

Noblin said he and his deputies had a meeting with other Sheriffs’ Association members before they met with their respective delegates and senators, in this case Delegate James Edmunds and Sen. Frank Ruff.

“James was very receptive and understands the pain the sheriff’s office is going through with a proposed $13.4 million cut,” said Noblin, adding both Edmunds and Ruff told him they would try and help them in any way possible.

“And, on top of that if we have to pay 5 percent on the retirement, that will reduce the take home pay of deputies who are already underpaid,” he added.

Halifax County Sheriffs Department deputies are paid monthly, and paying 5 percent on retirement would “pretty much equal one paycheck,” Noblin estimated.
Equally troubling to Noblin and the Sheriffs’ Association is the $13.4 million cut in sheriffs’ operating budgets.

If the $13.4 million budget cut goes through, Halifax County’s part of that would be $49,301, or roughly equivalent to the salary for two deputies, Noblin noted.

He added his department is already five deputies short due to military commitments and budget constraints from last year, in a county with 830 square miles to patrol.

“We lost two last year due to the budget which weren’t replaced, and three are on leave in the military currently, so we’re five short,” noted Noblin.

“I’m being optimistic and hoping things will get better, and it’s very possible we may go back again before the session’s over, but I’m not exactly sure.

“We’re (Sheriffs’ Association) going to play it by ear and see how things are going, and if we need to take more action, we’ll definitely try to.”

“Public safety and education should be at the absolute top of the (budget) list in my opinion.”