No one but the officers themselves know of the extended circumstances the Sherriff and his deputies are challenged with every week, and sometimes every day.
And even more so in today’s world, with the acceleration of riots, anger and suicides, their jobs are becoming more dangerous and the calls more heartwrenching.
Still, they serve. They are dedicated and do their jobs, even faithfully serving those who do not return any respect.
Can there be “bad cops” amid the many good ones? Yes, just like any other profession or gender.
Yet, here in Craig County, it seems we have been blessed with the “cream of the crop.” Laws are upheld. Respect is shown to residents, and citizens are being protected and cared for.
The Craig County Sheriff’s Department currently has these dedicated officers: Sheriff Trevor Craddock, Master Deputy Robert Wrzosek, Chief Deputy Geromy Nichols, Deputy Jeffrey Bryant, Deputy Jesse Crowder, Deputy Nathaniel Arthur, Deputy Gregory May and Christopher Swingle Jr., the newest officer.
Lloyd T.N. Craddock holds the position of Sheriff in Craig. He shared that he started his career with the Roanoke City Police Department and then applied for and was hired by the Virginia State Police.
“I left the Virginia State Police in 2015 with the rank of Senior Trooper to run for Sheriff in Craig County,” he said. “I was elected Sheriff and took my current position in 2016.”
Craddock also shared why he pursued a career in law enforcement. “I was impressed with the Virginia State Police when they came to my elementary school and it left a lasting impression.”
He added, “The part I enjoy most about working in Craig is that the people are great in this county.”
Craddock, along with his officers, sees a lot of incidents that most people cannot even imagine, along with the devastating wrecks and family losses.
“The most difficult part of my job is telling families that a loved one is deceased,” he said.
Deputy Wrzosek has lived in Craig County since 2016 and was hired in 2014 as a part-time dispatcher before becoming full-time later the same year.
In 2016, he applied and was sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff and now holds two positions: Deputy Sheriff and E911 Coordinator. He has moved up in the ranks as Master Deputy.
“This has been a career choice for me since I was young,” Wrzosek shared. “Craig County has been a great place to work in dealing with the community and the camaraderie within the office.”
He added that he has enjoyed getting to know everyone which makes his job difficult at times.
“So, with that being said, don’t do anything that is going to put us in a troubling situation because, at the end of the day, we all have a job to do,” he said.
Nichols, who has been a resident in Craig for 25 years, was hired on the force in 2008 and now holds the office of Chief Deputy.
“I have obtained certifications and various training throughout my tenure to advance the department for the community,” he shared.
Nichols said that he joined the law enforcement as he was a member of the fire department and “it was a way to continue to help in the community.”
As he takes his responsibilities seriously, stating, “Craig County has a lot of great people and they support us in doing our jobs.”
Bryant, also a lifelong resident of New Castle, shared, “I have wanted to be in law enforcement since I was a child.”
He is currently Deputy Sheriff and was hired onto the Sheriff’s Department in 2017.
“One of the things I enjoy most about working in Craig County is the camaraderie of all the emergency services within the county,” Bryant said. “We all work very well together in a crisis and have been referred to as a well-oiled machine in the face of stress.”
However, he added, “One of the most difficult parts of my job is having family and friends whom I have grown up with or known for a very long time that no longer have contact with me because of my career path.”
His one message to the community of Craig County is “Thank you. Thank you for your support and kindness. I, myself, am greatly appreciative, as well as my fellow deputies.”
Crowder is another lifelong resident of Craig who joined the force in May of 2018 and is a Deputy Sheriff.
He shared that he chose law enforcement because, “I enjoy helping people and think it is an interesting career field.”
His most enjoyable part of his job is “patrolling our beautiful county and keeping our highways safe.”
Yet, he shares the same sentiments with his comrades, that his most difficult part about his job is notifying families about the death of a family member.
Deputy May has been in Craig for 30 years and was hired in October 2018 as Deputy Sheriff and Animal Control Officer.
May shared,” When I was 18, I had an accident and ever since then, I have wanted to help people in the community the way they did.”
However, the most difficult part of the job is having to respond to situations where family or friends could be involved. “But that does not change the way I handle the situation or the outcome,” he said.
He added, “I enjoy working where I live at and keeping the community safe.”
The newest deputy, Nathaniel Arthur, joined the force on September 1, 2020. When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he said, “being able to work in a small county and in the beautiful landscapes it has.”
He has lived in Craig since 2013 and shared that he desired to be an officer because, “I have always enjoyed public safety along with working and helping my community.”
Arthur added that it was difficult when his job required him to go on a call where “there is a high possibility you know the people in some incidents.”
Joining the deputy force on April 1, is the newest addition, Christopher Swingle, Jr. who recently graduated from the Academy. He has lived in Craig County for 22 years.
“I chose to pursue law enforcement as it felt natural coming from military service into this job field,” Swingle shared. “I also enjoy working in the community.”
He said that the one thing a little difficult in his job right now is, “my road experience is limited as I just graduated from the Academy.”
However, he added, “I am excited to start patrolling and engaging with everyone in the community.”
The Sheriff and his deputy’s overall feelings are written on their sleeves, literally. They care, they protect, they serve.
“I would just like to share that I and the Craig County Sheriff’s Office strive to make a difference in our community every day,” Sheriff Craddock said.
The Law Enforcement Prayer reads: “I have taken an oath to serve and protect my fellow man, guide me safely in my duties to be the very best I can. Give me the ability to stop those things that are wrong, to bring comfort and safety by restoring it to those to whom it belongs. And dear Lord, if like You, I am called upon to give the ultimate sacrifice for the badge I proudly wear upon my chest, let it be said. I served with dignity, honor and love and gave my very best.” Amen (Author unknown).
If citizens would like to thank “The dedicated Blue” of Craig County, the street address is 182 Main Street Suite 2 and the mailing address is P.O. Box 266. New Castle, VA 24127. Their phone is (540) 864-5127 and fax (540) 864-5129.
Their job is one as military personnel understand. When they go out on a call, none are sure if they will return unharmed or alive. Support your local law enforcement and “let the BLUE in Craig County know you care.”