Press Releases

Click it or Ticket

Half of Virginia's Road Deaths Avoidable with Belt, Restraint Use Law Enforcement Out in Full Force During Click it or Ticket

Seat belts prevent ejection and without one, a person’s body becomes a missile inside the vehicle. Page County Sheriff’s Office along with DMV’s Virginia Highway Safety Office encourages everyone on the road to wear their seat belts during every trip, day and night. Law enforcement officers in Page County and across Virginia and the nation will be out in full force looking for seat belt violators during the national Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization this May. “If you’re not buckled up, you will get a ticket,” warned Sheriff John B. Thomas. “Don’t risk death or injuring others in your vehicle. If you’re driving, the second action you need to take after fastening your own seat belt is to insist all your passengers are wearing their belts too. I care too much for our citizens to see them injured when it is so easy to buckle up.” Day and night, local law enforcement officers are on the lookout for those not wearing their seat belts--and for good reason. In 2012 in the U.S., 61 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. “Local law enforcement officers are actually trained to spot seat belt violations at night, so just because it’s dark, don’t think they won’t be able to spot unbelted drivers,” said Sheriff John B. Thomas. Virginia’s statewide seat belt use rate was 79.7 percent in 2013 and 78.4 percent in 2012. Last year in Virginia, 54 percent of all traffic fatalities, or 310 deaths, were unrestrained drivers and passengers. Also, 118 (38 percent) of the unrestrained deaths were young people ages 21 to 35, and 73 percent were males. Most of the unrestrained fatalities, 144 or 46 percent, occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. Of the 228 unbelted driver fatalities, 55 (24 percent) had been drinking. Drivers (75.7 percent) and passengers (68.8 percent) in pickup trucks had the lowest seat belt use rates, along with passengers (69.4 percent) in work vans. “These numbers tell us young males, many of them pickup drivers who’ve been drinking, are not buckling up and dying needlessly on our roadways,” said Sheriff John B. Thomas. “We want to do everything we can to reach these people and save their lives.” Those who drive and ride in pickup trucks may think that their large vehicle will protect them more than other vehicles in a crash. This false sense of security may cause them to not wear their seat belts, but the stats show that this bravado is misplaced. “Everyone, no matter what vehicle they are in or if they are a driver or passenger, should always buckle up,” said Sheriff John B. Thomas.

DMV Press Release

Moped Riders: Title and Register Your Moped Today Deadline to Comply with Law is July 1, 2014

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is reminding moped owners and operators that the deadline to title and register your moped is quickly approaching. A law that went into effect last summer requires mopeds operated on Virginia roadways to be titled and registered by July 1, 2014. A title is $10. The annual registration fee is $20.25. Virginia law also requires every moped driver to carry a government-issued photo ID (does not have to be a driver’s license) and every driver and passenger must wear a helmet while riding a moped. Drivers must also wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles unless the moped has a windshield. “More than 1,800 folks have already titled and registered their mopeds,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “We are excited those customers got a jump start on the process. Now, we want to make sure that the rest of the moped community is aware of this requirement and the deadline.” At the request of General Assembly, DMV established an ongoing work group in 2012 to study a number of non-conventional vehicles including mopeds. That study showed the lack of any identifying information on a moped made them nearly impossible to recover after theft and complicated identification of the vehicle and operator in the event of a crash. “Requiring titling and registration of mopeds will allow law enforcement to better track mopeds that are stolen or used in the commission of crimes and more effectively deal with moped crashes,” said Holcomb. “Titling and registration could also assist consumers in re-selling a moped.” In 2013, there were more than 600 moped crashes in Virginia, 12 of which were fatal. Nearly 20 percent of those crashes were alcohol-related and 10 percent were speed-related. The top driver action contributing to a crash was failing to maintain control of the moped. DMV will issue one license plate per moped to be placed on the rear of the vehicle. Customers can personalize their moped plate for $10 in addition to the registration fee. For more information, visit

News Alert Missing Person

Missing person Leland Colley was found the evening of April 28, 2014 in satisfactory condition.

Bank Robbery

News Alert

Sheriff Office is currently looking for a vehicle of interest in the Pioneer Bank robbery. The vehicle is a Chevrolet S10 regular cab/short bed (late 1980's model) dark blue in color with a large CB antenna.

Bank robbery occurred on today's date 4/14/14 at 11:20 a.m. at the Pioneer Bank located on E Main St. Luray. Suspects description: white male 40-50 years of age about 5'10 wearing plain blue collared t-shirt, black jacket, light colored blue jeans, black shoes, ball cap possibly blue in color. Believe suspect is on foot and possibly armed. Last seen in the area of E. Main St., Luray, Shopping Center. Anyone with information in reference to the suspect, contact Page County Sheriff's Office or Luray Police Department.

Sheriff’s Office Embraces Technology

One or two years ago Page County Sheriff John Thomas recognized the need for a county-wide notification service for emergency situations. One option was Reverse 911-a public safety communications system developed to deliver recorded emergency notifications to a selected set of telephone service subscribers-but the cost to Page County became prohibitive. So, the need arose to find an alternative that could readily address school closings, road closures and emergencies. “We needed a way to get information out there-but Reverse 911 is expensive,” said Sheriff Thomas. With an annual county budget of only $15,000 for such services, on e minute of Code Red (or Reverse 911) reaching 11,000 phones, cost $3,700 per minute. The new Sheriff’s Office app costs the department $2,495 per year for unlimited iPhone or Android devices. The initial year includes set-up costs and an additional $2,495. The new push app can notify drivers of road closures or a hurricane warning. The app can distribute an Amber alert-information about a child abduction emergency-or notification of shelters that are open in case of a weather emergency. All of the related costs come out of the Sheriff’s Office budget. “If we have a school that is shut down from burst water pipe, we can do a push notification to those in the selected area,” Thomas said. “We can do that at no cost-we can send 1,000 per year at not cost.” Thomas feels confident that the overall savings will justify the initial cost of using push notifications, and not Code Reds. Push notifications are breaking news, which remain for a short period of time. “This free app can keep everyone in the community notified,” Thomas said. “If they want the notification they can do that, or if they want to check road closures in a timely manner.” Page County Sheriff’s Administrative Assistant Mark Dofflemyer has been an integral part of sourcing the App from OVC, LLC in Auburn, Al. The Apps is designed to be user friendly with features that range from offering crime reporting statistics to linking with Facebook. “As an agency, we feel it is important to reach all age groups,” said Dofflemyer. “The Sheriff’s Office app is the perfect way to have constant contact with Page County residents-and it a cost-efficient way to keep citizens updated at a moments notice.” The App comes equipped with a community calendar, from ballgames to a menu linking upcoming events throughout the county. According to Thomas, the greatest benefit to the county is immediate access to things that they need to know especially for parents and members of the community. Thomas wants residents to have access to solid reliable information to reduce the fear factor of sending out Code Reds. The App has the ability for the public to contact the Sheriff’s Office. The department is routinely contacted by concerned citizens for school closings-the new App alleviates the need for those calls. “My goal would be that everyone in the county would upload it, so they can receive push notifications,” Thomas said. “People can make arrangements based on the information received.” “It’s very simple-go to the app store and type in Page County,” said Dofflemyer.

Youth Empowerment Fair

Page Alliance for Community Action involved in programs for healthy families LURAY, Virginia – January 8, 2014 – With a goal of healthier youth and families in Page County, Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA) and PMH have joined forces to bring nationally-recognized motivational speaker Dale ‘Mad Dog’ Messmer to Luray High School Thursday, March 13 at 7 pm. The former Marine spent ten years in prison for drug smuggling and armed robbery in four states. Since his release, Mad Dog has chosen to save as many young people as possible from the consequences of poor choices. The doors at LHS will open at 6 pm for a Youth Empowerment Fair, featuring members of the PACA, as well as interested community organizations involved with youth. Through a grant, pizza will be served, and Diane Dovel, food services director for Page County Public Schools will offer samples of healthful new recipes the cafeterias are serving. Coalition members include: Page County Sheriff’s Department, Page County Public Schools, Smart Beginnings, United Way of Page County, CHOICES, Crossroads Counseling, Rileyville Church of the Brethren, Page County 4-H, Luray and Page County’s Parks & Recreation Departments and the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce. To reserve a table at the event, please contact Susan Betcher at

Commonwealth of Virginia Public Safety Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)

PSAP Grant Programs

The Page County Sheriff’s Office has received a 2014 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Wireless E-911 Education Program Grant for $2,000.00 through the Public Safety Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA). The grant is a twelve month grant to provide funds to take advantage of the educational and training opportunities offered at the spring and fall National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conferences. The benefits of the providing this training will be that we will be providing the staff with continued education with the current best practices, keep personnel current on the changing technologies, and enhancements as well as the requirements within the profession.

Sheriff John B. Thomas

Contact Information

Mark Dofflemyer, Administrative Assistant
(540) 743-1162
(540) 743-1252 (fax)