Barry G. Balser, Chief of Police
Address: 547 Main St., Clifton Forge, VA 24422
Email: Send a Message
The Patrol Division of the Clifton Forge Police Department is responsible for responding to all calls for service within the town limits. These calls for service run the entire gamut between major crimes, both in progress and which have passed, to unlocking vehicle doors. In addition, CFPD’s Patrol Division is also responsible for traffic enforcement, accident investigation, business and security checks, aiding disabled or stranded motorists and travelers, and enforcing all state, federal, and local laws, and serving criminal court documents.
CFPD’s Patrol Division responds to an average of 4,500 calls per year. In addition, its officers issue an average of 600 traffic summons, 275 misdemeanor and 100 felony arrests, serve 600 court documents, issue 300 parking violations, investigate an average of 75 traffic accidents, find about 150 unsecured buildings, and provide an average of 140 money/funeral escorts.
The Patrol Division consists of eight sworn officers, which includes three Sergeants and one Corporal.
Patrol officers at CFPD assist the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office and CSX Railroad Police in dealing with situations and calls for service which arise in areas surrounding the town (and in the case of CSX, within the town).
Traffic enforcement is perhaps one of the patrol division’s most visible tools. Its purpose is to provide for the safe and smooth flow of traffic within the town. Through vigilant enforcement of traffic laws, through accident investigations, identification and eliminating traffic hazard and strict DUI enforcement, CFPD strives to make the town streets safe for everyone.
CFPD’s patrol officers reach out into the community by means of personal contact, professional service, by conducting department tours, and by conducting and arranging talks with school children as well as various civic and community organizations. Community relations are very important to all of CFPD’s patrol officers and each officer strives to increase community support on a daily basis.
For information concerning department tours or talks, or to meet the officers who form the patrol division, please contact our office at (540) 863-2513 or stop by our office at 547 Main Street.
As major crimes occur in Clifton Forge they are assigned to the department’s investigator for handling. His job is to investigate such crimes as robbery, rape, theft, fraud, assaults and homicides.
An investigator must be able to do many things well and have an extreme knowledge of the law and police procedures. He must be able to process crime scenes which include photography, sketching, fingerprinting and collection of evidence. Once evidence is collected he must know how to properly handle and package it for delivery to the State Laboratory for analysis. He must also be masterful in the skill of interviewing victims of crimes and potential witnesses and suspects.
The Communications Officer is the life line for the community and the Police Officers. This officer has the first initial contact with individuals in need of services and therefore must project a positive and supportive image.
Duties of a Communications Officer are broad. In addition to performing a variety of clerical and administrative tasks, the communications officer’s primary responsibilities revolve around receiving vital information from the public or other law enforcement agencies concerning various emergency and non-emergency situations, and providing the information to the appropriate responding units, whether it be police, fire or rescue.
Maintaining necessary records of all in-coming calls and out-going radio communications also fall under the responsibilities of the communication’s personnel. These records can at times provide key information pertaining to cases under investigation and many times are used in a court of law as evidence.
On November 1, 2010, the Clifton Forge Police Department merged its dispatch center with that of the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office. This merger was the first step in centralizing dispatching services in the Alleghany Highlands, thus, streamlining the process of emergency service response for the region.
Any citizen needing emergency assistance, police, fire, or first aid, simply can call 9-1-1 from either their home phone or cellular phone. A trained communications officer will take the information and dispatch the appropriate response. For a non-emergency situation, citizens can call the dispatch at 965-1770 and dial 0 when hearing the recording.
The Clifton Forge Police Department can still be reached directly by calling the administrative number 540-863-2513. This number will ring directly to the Police department Monday – Friday from 7:30am until 4:30pm. After hours, callers will be directed to contact the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office if there is a need to speak to an officer directly, or, citizens will have the option of leaving a message and someone will return their call on the next business day.
In August 1997, the Clifton Forge Police Department became the first department locally to utilize police officers on bicycles as a means of regular patrol. The program, due to the enthusiasm of the officers involved, enjoyed instant success. During the first three weeks of operation, the bike officers affected 60 arrests which included; drug related, DUI, traffic infractions, drunk and disorderly in public, suspended drivers, and warrant service.
The officers in the bicycle patrol use specially designed Raleigh mountain bikes to conduct patrol and work special events. They also participate in bicycle safety demonstrations for schools and civic organizations.
Bicycle patrols, in addition to other types of patrols, have emerged as an effective way to patrol communities. It allows the officer to cover more ground and at the same time provides less of a barrier than a vehicle for improving community relations. In addition, the bicycles allow officers to get into areas normally not easily accessible by patrol vehicles, and allows the officers to “sneak-up” on the bad guys. The availability of this type of patrol is dependent upon the bicycle officer’s schedules, the necessity of motorized patrol, and of course, the weather.
The Police Department is responsible for animal control within the town limits of Clifton Forge. Animal control is handled by the Designated Police Officers, who, in addition to the respective patrol activities receive additional training on animal control related topics such as; animal control laws, search and seizure and capture techniques.
During hours, animal control averages approximately 50-70 complaints a month such as dogs running at large, capturing wild cats and cruelty cases. In Clifton Forge, there are laws requiring dogs to be vaccinated by the time they are 4 months old and they must be licensed every year. Animals which are captured are taken to the Alleghany Humane Society. Dogs are held at the shelter for 10 days then placed up for adoption to the public. Cats are kept for a maximum of 7 days. The shelter can be reached at (540) 862-2436 Monday thru Saturday, 12 PM until 4 PM.
The main purpose for animal control is to ensure people are safe from animals and that animals are safe and properly cared for.
A leash law within the town of Clifton Forge requires that animals must be restrained from running at large in public areas.
Questions concerning animal control matters may be directed to the Police Department at (540) 863-2513