Office is closer to Ormond-by-the-Sea.
William Kohlruss said he was very happy to see the new district office of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department at 1435 U.S. 1, Suite D3, which is located not far from his home.
“We don’t have much crime in our neighborhood, but it makes us feel better,” he said at the open house for the facility on June 9. Residents were invited to tour the office and meet the deputies who will be stationed there.
“I want to ask what we can do to help them to help us,” Kohlruss said.
The district covers northeast Volusia, from International Speedway Boulevard north to Flagler County, and from the ocean to the middle of the county. Officials say not only is the location better, with easy access to Interstate 95, but also the facilities are much improved.
Approximately 80 sheriff’s office personnel, including patrol deputies, investigators, office and command staff, school crossing guards and citizen volunteers work out of the office.
Captain Brian Bosco, commander of the district office, said he worked closely with the city architect and the contractor, M.L. Underwood, on the layout of the building. Improvements from the previous facility include a larger meeting room, where a task force can plan strategy in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.
There’s also an additional holding cell, Bosco said, which is important because men must be kept separate from women, and juveniles must be separate from adults. Also, the old Holly Hill facility did not have a shower for those being detained.
Sheriff Ben Johnson, who was on hand for the open house, said their previous headquarters in Holly Hill were getting “dilapidated,” but the biggest improvement, he said, is “location, location, location.”
They have quicker access to other areas, including Ormond-by-the-Sea, via Old Dixie Highway.
Another advantage is that U.S. 1 has become a very busy area during special events, and the district office is prepared.
“We have a bigger DUI room,” Bosco said.
Also headquartered at the district office is Citizens on Patrol. In addition to patrolling and looking for suspicious activity, the volunteers do other tasks such as watching houses when people are out of town, a very common situation in Ormond-by-the-Sea.
Johnson said the volunteers have been “a godsend.” He said by taking on these tasks they free up the deputies for other work.
“They save the county a lot of money,” he said.
The president of Citizens on Patrol, Donna Heyburn, of Holly Hill, has her office in the facility. She said she joined to “give back” to the community and has not regretted it.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s actually fun. You never know what the day will be like.”
Both Johnson and Bosco agreed on what citizens can do to reduce crime: Lock car doors, even if they are parked right outside the house.
“If people would take normal precautions, such as locking their car and closing the garage door, it would cut crime down so much,” Johnson said.
He said sometimes a thief will drive down the road, and quickly grab something from an open garage. He told a story of a time when a thief stole a running generator. He started the victim’s lawn mower, so he was able to shut off the generator and steal it without the victim noticing.
They also encourage citizens to call their nonemergency number, 386-248-1777, to report anything suspicious.
“People say they don’t want to bother us, but they can give us valuable information,” Johnson said.
Bosco said people should be sure to keep the serial numbers on their valuable items. And he said people should take a photograph of their jewelry.