Deputy 4 A Day
One of our earliest Community Events led to children coming to the Sheriff’s Office to experience what it means to be a Sheriff’s Deputy. One of these days, some of these children will fill our shoes!
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, our annual event brings EVERY law enforcement agency together to raise money for the children living in Ashe County who have cancer. We stand together on the roof of Hardees to show our support!
Press Release Program
Letting the public know what we are doing and why is the definition of transparency. Our goal is to keep the public safe while also notifying everyone what we are involved in. We strive to push information timely to every citizen!
Christmas with Cops
In a partnership with Walmart, we bring EVERY law enforcement agency together to provide gifts to children in Ashe County. The combination of a uniform officer shopping with our children gives them a future to hold in their memories.
A partnership with Ashe County Schools and the Sheriff’s Office that brings school children to the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office for a fun-filled day. From free school gear to K9 demonstrations, it’s a day dedicated to our children!
Hope 4 Holidays
An annual October event that helps assist our community in several ways. We hold an annual blood drive this day, provide a way to dispose of unused medication through Operation Medicine Drop while also raising money for Christmas with Cops.
Bringing a new tradition to the Sheriff’s Office, Santa dropped off a Santa Letterbox to the Sheriff’s Office! Children of all ages are able to drop their letters to Santa about their many wants and wishes. Each child receives a letter back from Santa.
Branding a new website where our public can discover us on another level. Every person can discover our services, find resources, request off-duty officers, register complaints as well as compliments and ask questions for others to read!
WKSK Happy Time Show
From the first month in office, Sheriff Howell has visited the Happy Time Show every month to inform listeners as to what the Sheriff’s Office is doing and what is going on in Ashe County. This is one of the most popular items for the Sheriff’s Office!
Badges of Ashe
With a problem comes an idea! Establishing a non-profit for ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT in Ashe County was not easy, but WE did it. People wanted to donate to law enforcement and give the agency a choice in where they wanted it to help. With that and help with the current board, BOA was created and has surpassed over $100k in assisting EVERY agency.
Annual Book Reading & Giveaway
Each year, starting in 2019 Sheriff Howell would visit locations around Ashe County to read his favorite book. Notably, at the Ashe County Library, the Sheriff would read Molly Lou Melon and hand out many copies to all the children who attend!
Easter Egging Event
At Beaver Creek, Sheriff Howell participated in the egg toss in J.R.O.T.C. Bringing it back for ALL of Ashe County was the idea. Now, every Saturday before Easter Sunday the Sheriff’s Office holds an Egg Toss in the Sheriff’s Office parking lot.
Halloween Trick or Treat Map
Sheriff Howell had this idea in 2019 but it wasn’t until COVID came through that we saw the need. Now we have an interactive map of safe trick or treat locations spread throughout Ashe County that provide a great environment for trick or treating! Over 50,000 views in 2 Octobers.
What’s so special? Over the past 3 years, we have given flags away to everyone we can reach during the parade. In 2021 in a joint effort with West Jefferson PD & Walmart, we gave away over 120 bicycles to children across our county!
J.R.O.T.C. Sendoff Parade
When COVID shut down everything else, parents reached out to us to see if we could do something. Our answer? Create a GIANT drive-thru parade for the parents and community to thank the members that were leaving for active duty!
Restructuring of Positions
After a rough couple of years, the Sheriff’s Office had lost its structure. Our first goal was to restructure to a command staff-led office where our staff was able to handle disciplinary actions as well as promote growth for those doing a great job!
Established Hiring Process
Creation of a new process where all applicants go through a full hiring process of panel interviews. The goal is to hire the best candidate for the position, not just for who they are and where they come from, eliminating bias.
4 Patrol Deputy Positions
The need for more patrol Sheriff deputies is never-ending, but with many days and hours our grant went through in 2020 we were able to gain and add 4 deputies to our road shift to help cover more square miles in Ashe County.
Ballistic Shields & Helmets
In a group effort from Ashe County, we were able to purchase a state-of-the-art shield & helmet for every single officer in our office. This protection was pushed for by the spouses with our commissioners providing the way!
Community Watch Program
One of our newest programs, we bring a small presentation about neighborhood watches to your community. Signs are available for the entrance of your area as well as your homes, bringing attention and safety to your home.
Church Safety Program
Programs that provide a service to our local churches about the safety of their specific location. Chief Deputy Houck comes to each church where he speaks on preventative measures and also takes a look at the issues you may have.
Body Camera's for ALL
After swearing-in as Sheriff, we found our officers to only have 3 working body cameras. After phase 1 in 2019, we had 8 for Law Enforcement and 8 for Detention Officers. After several awards, we were able to place EVERY OFFICER with a bodycam, including Detention!
K9 Program (4 dogs)
One of our big monetary items was adding a K9 Officer to every shift, providing 24-hour coverage to all agencies across Ashe County. Seeing that each K9 runs over $10k each, we had huge community support to get it all funded by donations!
Public Information Officer
With the help of commissioners, one of our newest positions gives us better access to the public by letting them know what’s going on and photographing it on the way. This person has also been able to help us with a ton of grants!
New Viper Radio’s for Everyone
Our Deputies depend on their handheld radio to save their life in a deadly situation. With the radios they had being over 15 years old, there were lots of issues. With the help of the commissioners, we were able to replace every radio with a state-of-the-art Viper 800 MHz radio. The project was over $200k and did not cause any taxpayer increase.
We all like to see who was arrested and why... We created a professional way for the public to view who was arrested in Ashe County over each month. On the first of every month, we send out our booking report to all platforms.
LE Salary Increase
With the demand and threat to our members in the Law Enforcement community, the combination of our spouses and commissioners led to a 15% increase in LE Salary over the past 3 years. This shows the support our agency has for the county!
After taking over 2 years to get into the 1033 Military Program, in 2020 we were able to get access to resources that were much needed. Our largest one is a million-dollar Rescue Vehicle that did not cost Ashe County a single penny. 5 responses in the first 6 months of service.
With our PIO came the entry and maintenance of grants. Over the past few years, we have been able to gain a 4 officer grant (valued over $650k), body cameras for every officer, new and updated interview room equipment, and more!
Over 8 LE Instructors
We have been blessed to have a staff that wants to learn new things and spread their knowledge to the new family members. Over the first 4 years, we have increased from 2 instructors to over 8 instructors that teach in-house every month.
We are at a great place where our Sheriff’s Office has actually become members of our community while protecting Ashe County at the same time. In addition to everything listed above, we have:
- Re-established mutual aid with area agencies
- Established an Off-Duty Program to allow anyone to get assistance at their event
- Created a volunteer program from within the office
- Re-established the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team
- Attended Career Day events throughout Ashe County
- Created a Chaplain Program that allows pastors to assist our inmates