Located in the New River Valley of southwest Virginia, Montgomery County is 389 square miles of mostly rural areas. Sheriff’s deputies are often on patrol alone and distant from population centers. They can easily become disconnected from their department. Help may be far away if deputies are forced to fight or flee, or are incapacitated.
To improve safety, the county began using the Automatic Injury Detection (AID) system in March 2017. AID panels fit into the front and back sections of a protective vest. If a bullet, knife or piece of shrapnel pierces the panels, a Bluetooth sensor sends an automatic alert to a nearby cell phone or police radio, which then contacts the base. Information sent to dispatch includes the officer’s allergies and blood type so that responders arrive prepared.
The sheriff contracted with Select Engineering Services and DataSoft Corp. to pilot their panels, and worked with Kenwood to update the county’s radios, which now have Bluetooth and GPS. The sheriff’s team helped test the panels, which run $175 to $375 per vest, and improved their durability and design.
The county puts them into wide use in fall 2017.
Ignore the skeptics because it’s worth sticking with a good idea when it comes your way. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to try something new.
Born and raised in the Delmarva Peninsula on the Chesapeake Bay, joined the U.S. Army in 1983, studied at Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C. Since 1993, has worked with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, rising through the ranks from patrol deputy. First elected sheriff in November 2015.
Oversees the county’s law enforcement, investigations, civil process, court security and corrections operations, and a staff of about 130.
A serious history buff, esp. on the Civil War and World War II.