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Flat Rock takes note of 'new sheriff in town'

Officials in the Village of Flat Rock say they welcome what they describe as improved law enforcement coverage under new Sheriff Lowell Griffin, who was sworn in after winning election in November.

“We were robbed for the third time in 13 months, but what a difference in the attention we received from the sheriff,” Village Councilman John Dockendorf said during last week’s council meeting.
The owner of Camp Pinnacle, Dockendorf said that after camp officials reported the theft, they got a personal follow-up visit from Capt. Brandon Staton, who is in charge of the Flat Rock district under a zoned patrol system Griffin instituted after his election. “There’s a new sheriff and you can tell,” Dockendorf said.
“He’s well known in the village,” Mayor Bob Staton said of Capt. Staton. Former Village Administrator Judy Boleman “had him on speed dial.” Mayor Staton said he planned to invite Capt. Staton — likely a distance relative “but none of us know how” — to a future Village Council meeting.
In the past under Sheriff Charlie McDonald, the Village Council had failed to get the kind of service it sought for more minor situations like barking or stray dog complaints and speeding. Unlike Mills River, which negotiated a contract under McDonald that pays the sheriff’s office $720,000 a year for police coverage, Flat Rock pays nothing. (Flat Rock’s incorporation in 1995 predates a requirement under state law that towns provide certain services such as street lighting, garbage collection or police coverage.)
“It’s not that I can give them any extraordinary service,” Griffin said of the village. “They get the same service that the rest of the county gets. These folks live in the county and they pay county taxes and we’re going to do the best we can for them.”