The Honorable Patrick McCranie is the duly elected Sheriff of Lancaster County. Sheriff McCranie, a retired Virginia State Police officer, is responsible ultimately for establishing policies and procedures for the entire office, and for the individual actions of each member of his staff. Sheriff McCranie works with community leaders and individual citizens to address community concerns on a wide variety of levels, not only those that relate to crime. As sheriff, he must develop annual budget requests and work with the Board of Supervisors to address his budget matters; work with the Director of Emergency Service to develop and update disaster response plans; and direct as necessary his staff to coordinate plans and responses to a host of state mandated requirements.
Sheriff McCranie supports Shop with a Cop for children in need of assistance with school clothes and supplies; Deputy Santa program; Lancaster County Crime Solvers; Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Neck; the YMCA; and more. He offers Coffee with a Cop monthly as another opportunity to talk informally with citizens about their concerns.
The chief deputy serves as the general office administrator and works with the sheriff’s civilian administrative assistant. The chief deputy manages various grant funded projects; serves as the Public Information Officer and prepares all media release information; prepares a variety of reports for the sheriff's final approval; and works with the sheriff to develop new and modify existing policies and procedures. All Freedom of Information Act Requests fall under the duties of the chief deputy.
The administrative assistant takes care of monthly reports, monthly billings, and acts as a liaison between the sheriff's office and the courts regarding certain paperwork. In addition to civil process duties, the administrative assistant acts as the contact source for copies of reports that may be released to the public.The sheriff’s administrative division is responsible for the records of the office, including traditional hard copies and electronic records, financial affairs, and general business office functions. Records retention and storage, and computer operations fall under this division.
Emergency 911 Dispatch handles all emergency phone calls and radio communications for Lancaster County and the Towns of Irvington, Kilmarnock, and White Stone. The communications operator assesses the emergency, decides what type of response is needed (police, fire department, or rescue squad) and dispatches the appropriate assistance immediately.
Upon receiving an emergency phone call, the communications officer uses the E911 integrated mapping system to identify the physical address location of the caller. E911 Dispatch is the liaison between the victim/complainant and the appropriate help. It is important that the dispatched team gets as much accurate information as necessary so that they may help the victim/complainant in the most effective manner.
Trained by the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, the communication operators handle calls for law enforcement, emergency medical and fire services dispatching, game and domestic animal calls, and calls from the hearing impaired. E911 Dispatch also enters information about wanted persons and property into the Virginia Criminal Information Network and the National Crime Information Center.
As of July 1, 2019 the communications staff is comprised of three full time and six part time E911 operators and one supervisory operator.
The Corrections Division protects the community through full-time control and supervision of pretrial persons held pending bond and post-conviction persons who have an active sentence to serve. This division consists of one lieutenant, two sergeants, and seven deputies. The lieutenant is responsible for staff scheduling, inmate records, and the State Compensation Board online inmate reporting system to ensure that the county is properly reimbursed by the state for housing of prisoners. One sergeant serves as the Prison Rape Elimination Act coordinator; one sergeant serves as the general maintenance supervisor; both supervisor daily jail activities. A Registered Nurse works part time to oversee inmate medical issues, schedule medical appointments, conduct routine health screenings, and ensure prescription medications are current.
The corrections staff book prisoners into and out of the jail; transport inmates for medical appointments and transfers to other facilities; and perform general supervision of inmates within the jail setting. Random searches of facility and inmates and random exterior perimeter searches are conducted to ensure the safety and security of persons, the facility, and to prevent escapes.
Trained in all aspects of their job from the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy, the deputies are all certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Each deputy receives re-certification training as mandated by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
The jail is Unconditionally Certified by the Virginia Board of Corrections. This certification requires the facility to meet more than 200 separate standards related to jail operations. The certification is valid for three years; the latest state compliance audit was in 2018; the next audit is scheduled for the fall of 2021. Unannounced inspections for life, health and safety standards are conducted annually.
The jail kitchen staff prepare 75-90 meals each day, prepare the menus at least two weeks in advance, order the food and related kitchen supplies, and supervise inmates assigned to the kitchen. The kitchen operates under a restaurant license issued by the Virginia Department of Health. Thanks to the work of the cooks, the jail kitchen has always received high ratings by state health inspectors.
Based on severity of crime, length of sentence, and attitude, inmates are selected to serve as trusties to work both inside and outside of the jail proper Such work includes assisting with meal preparation and clean up, laundry services, general janitorial duties, and lawn care. Such inmates may earn additional good time release credits in accordance with state law.
The court security division has the responsibility for safety of all persons within the court house and the immediate environs. This includes not only the judges and court staff, but prisoners and the general public as well. Court security staff arrives well before court convenes to conduct a search of the facility and to test certain devices. The goal is to ensure safety by examining anything out of the ordinary that may pose a potential threat (i.e., hidden weapons, items or materials within the perimeter that may have suffered tampering, blocked emergency exits, etc.). Searching within the court room, around the building and in the court house parking areas is all part of the normal procedure exercised on a regular basis by the court security staff.
Contingency plans are in place to address security concerns for "high profile" trials. These trials would include cases that generate a significant increase in media attention, and those that carry a significant risk to either party regardless of the outcome of the case. The court security staff handles prisoner transportation to and from the jail and the court house.
Court security deputies must be certified in either law enforcement or corrections operations and complete a 40 hour Court Security - Civil Process basic school. The number of part time deputies assigned on any specific day is determined by the type of cases scheduled for hearings. As a general rule, at least three part time court security deputies work on each court day, supplemented by uniformed patrol deputies who are subpoenaed to testify.
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division was formed in 1997 and has four full time detectives. This division investigates fully all major crimes (homicide, robbery, sexual assault, general assault, and fraud/extortion); a detective lieutenant is in charge of this division.
The narcotics detective works with the Virginia State Police regional drug task force; one detective is assigned to sexual assault and child abuse cases; one detective is assigned to burglaries and theft cases. Three of the detectives have completed training through the Virginia Forensic Academy.
In order to serve as a detective, a deputy must have served a minimum of five years in uniformed patrol; maintain a minimum firearms score of 80% (the state standard is 70%); and demonstrated the ability to work complex cases within the 6 month probationary period. Detectives are on a rotating after-hours call schedule. The average workload for a detective is 60 active cases per month. More complex cases are investigated by additional detectives, and occasionally involve the entire division, as was done in the missing person/homicide case of Mrs. Claudine Gifford.
The Uniform Patrol Division is the most visible part of the sheriff’s office. Deputies answer calls for service throughout the 153 square miles of the county. Staffing includes 1 lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers, and 7 uniformed patrol deputies. These deputies are trained at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy and through other training providers. Their responsibilities range from assisting a motorist to traffic enforcement to responding to a major crime or local disaster. Other duties include the making of criminal arrests, serving civil process, and providing a presence of law & order wherever their duties take them. Uniformed patrol deputies take the initial crime incident reports. These reports are reviewed by the investigative lieutenant to determine how the case should be assigned for investigation.