Western Loudouners this week were given some details about the most significant criminal arrests and incidents in their neighborhoods, as well as a few suggestions on how they can help the Sheriff’s Office work more efficiently.
About 20 residents visited the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Western Loudoun Station in Round Hill on Wednesday night for the agency’s final quarterly meeting of the year for the 315-square-mile area patrol district. Eight law enforcement officers were present for the hour-long meeting, including Sheriff Mike Chapman, station commander Capt. Greg Ahlemann, Purcellville Police Department Sgt. Mike Owens and Deputy First Class Victor LoPreto, western Loudoun’s community resource officer.
Chapman said there are about 600 sworn deputies in Loudoun, about 550 of them are currently active. “We’re very proud of the work our deputies do,” he said. “We’ve got a lot going on.”
Ahlemann presenting residents with information on recent criminal activity and suggestions on what they can do to help the sheriff’s office better serve the community.
At the core of his presentation, Ahlemann highlighted a few of the most significant arrests that occurred in western Loudoun since August. Among those was the Oct. 26 arrest of Samuel Hermens, who was charged with three counts of unlawful filming of students at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville after being seen photographing under the skirts of female students.
Ahlemann also talked about another man who solicited prostitutes in Purcellville and Ashburn and a man who was arrested on Sept. 23 for assaulting a deputy after being woken up from a drunken sleep on the side of Dry Mill Road.
When a resident asked why the assaulted deputy, who suffered a broken wrist, didn’t shoot the man, Ahlemann said that he couldn’t speak for the deputy. That prompted a brief discussion on the sheriff’s office’s use of pepper spray and TASERs.
LoPreto said that deputies often use TASERs on criminals rather than pepper spray because it can take nearly an hour to detox a criminal after being pepper sprayed, but it only takes a moment to remove the stun gun’s dart-like electrodes from the body.
Ahlemann said that some 30 cases of mailbox vandalism that occurred between Oct. 14-15 in Round Hill and Purcellville are still under investigation.
Another topic of concern, which the sheriff’s office and Purcellville Police Department have been emphasizing, was that residents are frequently posting crime reports to social media outlets before calling the police.
Ahleman said that, while he encourages residents to share their experiences and tips on their social media accounts, crime victims or witnesses should call 911 before doing anything else.
LoPreto also mentioned that just last week a resident posted an incident on Facebook without calling the sheriff’s office. He said that once deputies found out about the incident, they couldn’t track down more information on the case.
“We had nothing that we could have followed up on,” he said. “You have to call .”
LoPreto also warned residents that if they post suspicious activity on their social media accounts, the “bad guys” could see their information and attempt to lash out.
After noting that residents at the station’s quarterly meeting in August were given the opportunity to try out deputies’ RADAR and LIDAR speed guns on cars traveling along West Loudoun Street, Lopreto and Ahlemann encouraged residents to suggest future demonstrations on whatever it may be that the sheriff’s office has they interests them.
For more information on the meetings, go to sheriff.loudoun.gov.