BEDFORD COUNTY, VA - Gang violence is a focus of one county's funding this budget season.
Bedford County Supervisors approved a $72,000 request Monday night for a new deputy and new equipment to address the issue.
Supervisor Board Chair Curry Martin says the funding request was "necessary" to promote safety in the county, even though Sheriff Mike Brown says there's not currently any evidence of a gang problem in Bedford.
Brown made it clear the new focus on gang violence this year is a preventative measure.
"We have gangs in Bedford County. We do not have a problem, yet," said Brown
The $72 thousand request came shortly after the death of Raymond Wood.
The 17-year-old Lynchburg native was found dead in Bedford County in March, allegedly killed by MS-13 gang members, but Brown says, the case only played a small part in this request.
"It maybe built a little bit of a fire under us, but we were already planning basically what we asked for tonight," said Brown.
What Brown did ask for remains largely a mystery.
Other than saying a new deputy would be hired and new equipment would be purchased, the details were kept between his department and supervisors.
"It's a lot of security involved in what the sheriff was asking for that may or may not put people's lives in danger, so the Sheriff had each one of the board members come in and go over what he needed," said Martin.
Brown says the new deputy will work with surrounding localities, as well as national agencies like Homeland Security and the FBI, but as for the work itself, he was once again vague.
"His sole responsibility is to monitor gang activity in bedford county," said Brown.
While lacking in public details, Martin says he was convinced the expenditure was necessary.
"Definitely was something that was needed to be done, and our Sheriff, when he comes asking for something, it's not just to be asking you, he has a reason," said Martin.
The rest of the board agreed with Martin, voting unanimously to pass the request.
"I appreciate their support very much," said Brown.
Brown says he hopes to have that deputy in place within the next 90 days.
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