FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – One outspoken man in Franklin County is making serious accusations about the Town of Rocky Mount.
Joe Stanley has many concerns and complaints about what he refers to as “corruption” in Rocky Mount’s government.
“There’s a systemic problem in the Rocky Mount Police Department,” Stanley said, which has led to mismanagement, misuse of funds, and a black eye for the town.
For the past year, Stanley says he has been gathering information, asking the town for answers, and even setting up three websites — two satirical and one serious — showing what he has found.
“Many of the things that I have brought to light, I’ve confronted them with personally, one on one, and said, ‘This is being said. This is going around. Are you going to do anything about it?'”
He says there has been nothing done about any of his concerns.
On one of Stanley’s websites, www.RockyMountVA.us, there is a list of allegations, unethical loans granted by the town, and other items that he says need to be addressed, including those that involve the Rocky Mount Police Department, which, he says, has lost nearly 60-percent of its sworn officers since last year.
When Stanley heard that two Rocky Mount officers were inside of the Capitol building during the insurrection on Jan. 6, he was shocked that officers from the town had participated.
The town fired Officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker, but recently, Stanley says, Fracker got a gift from the town — a decommissioned drug-sniffing dog named Dorka.
WFXR News’ Amanda Lee spoke to at least seven people in Rocky Mount about this situation. None of them wanted to go on camera. Three of them said they’re afraid to and that they are afraid of the Rocky Mount Police Department.
One former officer at the department did speak to WFXR News on Tuesday, June 15 requesting his identity be shielded.
He confirms that Dorka was purchased a few years ago with $10,000 of taxpayer money. The dog was assigned to Fracker before he left the police department.
“At some point, the dog was returned to Fracker and I don’t know if there was money exchanged or what was going on,” he said. “I know that Fracker was unemployed.”
Stanley says there is money being exchanged.
On Monday, June 14 he told WFXR News, “For $350 cash, he’ll come to your house and sniff if there are or ever were drugs present. They make a simple guarantee of no police, and they do not take the drugs away.”
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This former officer says he overheard a conversation with the dog breeder, saying, “He made the comment that he had hired a couple of former law enforcement officers who were pro-military and that they had a great deal of training with narcotics detection.”
This officer also says he was in the police chief’s office when he made a derogatory comment about his administrative assistant who needed time off for breast cancer treatment.
“To make it PG, he had referenced the fact that she had a knot on her breast and she was going to milk it for all the time she could.”
He says Police Chief Criner made comments like this on several occasions.
“We could go on for days about different things they do or how they handle things,” he said.
This person says the previous town manager, James Ervin, who retired about a month ago, knew about Criner’s actions and the alleged misuse of funds.
“Now that he is gone, it may be interesting to see if the new town manager holds the department more accountable,” the person added.