Floyd County’s Board of Supervisors, faced with increasing crime in the area, gave Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Murray Shortt Tuesday her often-requested funds to hire a part-time assistant prosecuting attorney for her office.
The money to pay for a part-time assistant for the rest of the fiscal year came six months after the board cut off funding she requested for the position and forced Shortt to end the part-time employment of former Franklin County Commonwealth’s attorney Cliff Hapgood in the position.
Shortt told the Supervisors that crime continues to climb and heroin is now finding its way into the county’s drug culture — one currently dominated by hyper-addictive crystal methamphetamine.
Drug cases dominate the docket in Circuit Court week after week and dependence on the drug drives up criminal activity — particularly break-ins and thefts from homes and businesses.
Shortt drove home the point by telling Supervisors that most of the prisoners serving in the New River Valley Jail aren’t there for petty offenses but major crimes.
“We’re not talking about writing bad checks,” she said.
For those who get caught committing crimes in Floyd County, the consequences are often swift and severe. Circuit Judge Marc Long sees jail and prison as a deterrent to crime and sends those found guilty to sentences that run into years, not months. As one 23-year-old man found out in Circuit Court last week, violating probation brought down a sentence of 20 years in prison with another 20 years still hanging over his head.
Long believes those who do the crime should do the time and Supervisors this week gave the Commonwealth’s Attorney money to help bring more who do the crime to justice.