Sheriff's Corner

It’s that time of year. Fall hunting season is al­most here. Unfortunately, each year we experience hunting related accidents here in Dinwiddie County. I want to offer a few reminders to those who hunt that will hopefully keep you safe when in the woods.

I recommend that you always wear blaze orange when hunting. Although it is not required until regular shotgun season comes in you always want to be recognizable to other hunters.

Always let someone know where you will be hunt­ing if you hunt alone. Carry a cellphone with a fully charged battery when hunting. If there is an accident you can call for help.

Check your tree stand if it has been up since last year. Make sure it is still firmly attached to the tree. Always wear a safety harness while in a tree stand and unload your weapon when climbing your tree stand or crossing a fence.

Consider taking a hunter safety course. This is required if you hunt on Fort Pickett property and it can satisfy some of the requirements to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for the dates, times and locations of hunter safety courses in our area.

We are fortunate to have a member of the Conser­vation Police assigned to Dinwiddie County. Officer Brandon Chester is the Conservation Police Officer for Dinwiddie County and is available to help you with any of your questions or concerns involving hunting or hunter safety. You can contact Officer Shaw by call­ing the Dinwiddie County Communication Center at 804-469-3755. They can put you in touch with him or a member of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries law enforcement branch.

Over the past month, we have taken several reports of catalytic converters being removed from church vans around the county. Unfortunately, these can be easy targets for thieves, as these vehicles are not driven regu­larly and the churches where they are parked are vacant much of the time. It only takes a thief with a saw, a few minutes to cut the catalytic converter off and take it to a metal recycling facility.

I would encourage all of the churches that own vans of any other vehicles that are parked at the church to be vigilant and try to protect these vehicles from thieves. Park the vehicles in a well-lit area. Thieves are oppor­tunistic and will avoid being detected doing their dirty work at all costs. Check the vehicles on a daily basis. If the vehicle has been damaged, developing a timeline of when the incident occurred makes it easier on our investigators to develop possible suspects. Consider letting a church member to take the van to their home, where it can be watched.

If you have any information about these thefts or who may be responsible, please give us a call here at the Sheriff’s Office.