Peace in Powellsville

Published 10:46 am Monday, September 11, 2017

POWELLSVILLE – Help is on the way.

After a series of criminal incidents around the town, primarily home invasions, the town of Powellsville has received a big crime-fighting boost.

The Bertie County Sheriff’s Office has informed the town they will be the latest municipality in the county to receive a satellite station/office for the department.

“We put up a satellite office up in Roxobel a couple of months ago,” said BCSO chief deputy Kenny Perry. “Powellsville is next on the list along with planned stations in Aulander and Colerain.”

Perry said it gives the department not just a presence they hope will be a deterrent to criminal activity in the area, but also it will aid in administrative duties for the officers.

“They’ve given us some space in Town Hall to put in a computer and a desk,” Perry continued. “It gives us somewhere to go to type reports and be seen in the community. It’s not just a presence, but now they can file reports in this part of the county instead of having to drive all the way back to Windsor.”

The town will pay for the internet access service as well as erect a sign in the future indicating the presence of the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re trying to do this in every little town,” Perry said. “Roxobel’s is completed, Powellsville’s is going up, and Aulander and Colerain will be next.  In Colerain, we plan to use the old Magistrate’s Office.”

Perry said for Aulander, the town offices will move into the old Southern Bank building, the Aulander Police Department will then occupy the old Town Hall, with the Sheriff’s Office sharing some of that space.

The chief deputy acknowledged there have been a series of breaking-and-entering incidents in the Powellsville area and that some arrests have been made.

“By having someplace to go, people can ride by and see the patrol car.   It gives us a place to stop instead of having to ride around,” Perry noted. “It gives us a higher profile and maybe it can be a deterrent and that might discourage some problems that might occur.  If an officer is there, people can come in and actually talk with them.”

While the limited law enforcement presence is a first step, officials admit none of the satellite offices will be staffed full-time.

The town of Roxobel owned the old Southern Bank building where their satellite office is located, thus they were able to make upgrades and outfit the structure more readily.

Powellsville mayor pro tem James Peele – who made the original request for assistance to the Bertie County Commissioners back in the summer – says the Town Hall in his municipality is equipped with phone/internet access because it is used as a Board of Elections polling station during elections.

“This conference room will be our operations center,” said Powellsville Town Commissioner Carlyle Hoggard. “What this will mean is a reduction in crime. They’ll patrol at night at random, and an officer will maintain random hours.  It’s all due to the crime we’ve been experiencing.”

“We took action on our own because we’re looking after the citizens,” Hoggard added. “

Peele said there had been complaints of break-ins around the town, and they appeared to have increased over early summer.

“Residential as well as commercial properties have experienced these break-ins.” Peele said. “It seems to be more prevalent than in the past.  Primarily elderly female senior citizens had expressed concerns over their safety and health.  They made an expression to the town board and we agreed to look into it.”

Peele complimented Bertie County Sheriff John Holley and the County Commissioners for taking such quick action on the town’s request.

“They did their investigation and made some arrests, and some other arrests, I understand, are still pending,” Peele noted. “With this new system, their higher visibility will be very welcome. I think this will help us all adjust to the situation.”