The chief deputy serves as the general office administrator and works with the sheriff’s civilian administrative assistant. 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 criminal incident and motor vehicle accident reports.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. All Freedom of Information Act requests, grant projects, records retention and storage, and computer operations fall under this division.
Emergency 911 Dispatch handles all emergency phone calls and radio communications for the county and three local towns. The communications operator assesses the emergency, decides what type of help is needed (police, fire department, or rescue squad) and dispatches the appropriate assistance immediately.
Upon receiving an emergency phone call, the communications officer replies in a very calm manner and attempts to calm the caller down if necessary. 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, 2016 the communications staff is comprised of six 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 3 sergeants, and 10 deputies. One sergeant is responsible for the inmate records and LIDS/CORIS daily online reporting to the State Compensation Board. This function ensures that the county is properly reimbursed by the state for housing of prisoners.
The corrections staff book prisoners into and out of the jail; attend to inmate medical matters; 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 2014; the next audit is scheduled for the fall of 2017.
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.
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 Lancaster County Sheriff's Office CID was formed in 1997 and has four full time detectives. The purpose of the Criminal Investigations Division is to fully investigate major crimes such as narcotics, homicide, sexual assaults, robbery, fraud, assault, and extortion. CID is responsible for the investigation of all major crimes in the county and is active with the Rappahannock River Narcotics Task Force. A detective lieutenant is in charge of this division.
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 well trained in all aspects of their duties by the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy and 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.
The Patrol Division also includes two canine teams. One team is trained in finding firearms, ammunition, and explosives; the other team is trained for drug detection. Both teams are certified by the Virginia Police Work Dog Association, and must train for not less than 15 hours each month.