2014-09-10 / Front Page

Franklin deputies back up Somerset

By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer

MADISON — Twenty-four Franklin and Somerset County Sheriffs’ deputies and administrators were recently given powers to patrol and police both counties. This is important along Route 27 north of New Vineyard, where rural Somerset County cuts in and out of Franklin County several times. In the past, Franklin County deputies had their hands tied when it came to answering calls in the Somerset County town of New Portland. Now, Franklin County deputies have jurisdiction and the power to respond, pursue and arrest in the neighboring county.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols likened the agreement to fire department mutual aid agreements. “The most immediate advantage it will have will be the ability of our deputies to enforce traffic laws on the stretch of Route 27 from New Vineyard to Kingfield that is actually in Somerset County,” stated Nichols.

In years past, if an accident occurred or a drunk driver was discovered along that stretch of road, deputies would have to stand by until a State Trooper or Somerset Deputy arrived which, according to Nichols, may have been a considerable amount of time. “Now they are able to just handle whatever situation they come across while traveling that stretch of road which is predominantly used by Franklin County residents and guests,” noted Nichols.

Nichols foresees long term advantages as well. “This will allow both agencies access to each other’s resources such as K-9, drug recognition technicians or similar specialties. We currently utilize the State Police regarding resources that we may not have here in Franklin County, during that rare occasion the State Police is not available, we will have Somerset to reach out to and likewise Somerset could reach out to us,” explained Nichols.

The ceremony in which the deputies were cross-deputized took place at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department Aug. 21. During the ceremony, Nichols named Franklin County Detective Stephen Charles as Deputy of the Quarter for his work regarding Franklin County drug investigations.

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