Crime watch meets candidate, new K-9 unit

By Kevin Kelly - For Ohio Valley Publishing

VINTON — Matt Champlin outlined his goals as Gallia County sheriff should he win this fall’s election to members of the Huntington-Morgan Crime Watch during its Aug. 2 meeting at Vinton Village Hall.

Champlin, who was invited as a guest speaker, is opposing incumbent Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning in the Nov. 8 general election. Browning was also on hand for the meeting to introduce the latest addition to the sheriff’s department’s K-9 corps.

Champlin discussed an emphasis on drug interdiction with the group should he win election. He added that he’s willing to talk privately with residents about their concerns with local crime if they choose, even in their homes.

Vinton Mayor Josh Whealdon introduced Browning, accompanied by Deputy Jeff Provens and Chan, the new K-9 unit that will work with Provens. Obtained at no expense to the taxpayers and fresh from training, Chan has already been put to work in three traffic stops by Provens during his patrolling of the village. He was one of the dogs whose skills were also demonstrated at the Gallia County Junior Fair.

Browning urged Crime Watch to sign up with the National Night Out movement, celebrated the first Tuesday in August (and the day of the Crime Watch meeting), primarily as it helps serve as “an opportunity for Crime Watch groups to come together.” He also suggested the Crime Watch serve as a sponsor for the Next Door program, an initiative to create awareness in communities.

The group chose to press ahead with entering a float in the annual Vinton Bean Dinner Parade on Aug. 6. The float was a trailer provided by the Vinton Volunteer Fire Department, equipped with signs provided by the sheriff’s office, and decorated by Crime Watch President Brandi Whealdon and member Rachel Sallee.

“I think the word is getting out about the dog and our Crime Watch activity,” Whealdon said. “Everyone needs to keep swimming and we’ll get it.”

Participation from residents of Huntington and Morgan townships is encouraged, and the next Crime Watch meeting is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Vinton Village Hall.

By Kevin Kelly

For Ohio Valley Publishing