Sheriff Hess

By identifying individual roles of command staff, relieving lieutenants of most administrative duties, and making some key promotions, Sheriff Eric Hess’s reorganization of the department will enable it to “become much more efficient,” he said.

With the creation of two captain positions, Hess centralized command staff into three officers: himself, Capt. Thomas Brennan, and Capt. Von Hill.

Brennan, who has become Hess’s new chief deputy and heads up field operations, brings to the position 36 years of law enforcement experience in the patrol, juvenile, detective, and administrative divisions of the agencies in which he has worked.  Since coming to Fluvanna County he has investigated all major county crimes and provided assistance to outside agencies.

Hill, who oversees all administrative and judicial operations, has 20 years of law enforcement experience – 11 of which have been spent in Fluvanna County, first overseeing the school resource officer program and then becoming commanding officer for the judicial affairs, animal control, civil process, and records divisions.

Under Brennan are two lieutenants: David Wells, who oversees investigations, and Aaron Hurd, who’s in charge of patrol.  Both officers used to have so many administrative responsibilities, Hess said, that they rarely got out of the office.  But now they are free to concentrate on the main focus of their jobs.

As a part of the reorganization, Hess created a new investigator position – with a twist.  After training, newly promoted Investigator Frankie Bishop will hold the spot for only three years.  Then he’ll go “back on the road, taking all that knowledge with him,” Hess said, and a new investigator will be hired.

Heading over to the middle and elementary schools is Sgt. Frank Lopez, a former Marine with 16 years of law enforcement experience.  Lopez is glad to be the new school resource officer.  “I feel it is my turn to…mentor and be a role model for others, including our students in Fluvanna,” he said.  “I [will] strive to be very visible and accessible to the students, teachers and parents in their time of need.”

Between the creation of two new sergeant positions and Lopez’s switch to school resource officer, the sheriff’s department needed three new sergeants.  So Sgts. Forrest Lawhorne, Craig Martin, and Sean Peterson joined existing Sgt. Stephen Profitt in overseeing the deputies.

“The two additional sergeant positions on the road give us coverage for every shift,” explained Hess.  “It used to be that in a 24-hour period there was only a sergeant on duty for 12 of those hours.  Now each shift has a supervisor.”

And all the changes didn’t cost the sheriff’s department a dime.  Instead, the funding was obtained by divvying up the money from Hess’s old colonel spot.

The new efficiency in the office will put “more supervision out on the road,” Hess said.  “We’ll become much more efficient.  It puts more boots on the ground, out doing the job.”

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