Clarke County Sheriff's Office
100 North Church Street
Berryville, Virginia 22611-1110

Telephone 540-955-1234
Facsimile 540-955-4111



Online Safety Presentations

Sheriff's Office Offers Online Safety Presentations to Community Groups

The Clarke County Sheriff's Office is offering Online Safety Presentations to community groups geared toward protecting children online. Presentations are available for Parents, Teens, Tweens, and younger children in association with and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The one-hour presentations provide statistics, online resources, videos, and expert tips to educate, engage, and empower children and adults to be safer on- and offline. 

On September 1, 2015 Reserve Deputy Robert Spitler presented an Online Safety for Parents Presentation at an informational session for the Virginia Department of Health and the Counsel on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault in Winchester, VA. WHAG News from Hagerstown was at the event and provided a report.


If you are interested in a presentation for your group please contact the Sheriff's Office at 540-955-1234. Parents can find additional resources on the Parents portal of and includes tips, video's and other resources to ensure parents understand dangers their children face and can learn to recognize and limit risks.




VA Sheriff's Magizine Article

The Northwest Virginia Regional Search and Rescue Task Force (NVRSRTF)

CommandVanNorthwest Virginia law enforcement agencies have a new tool for locating missing persons as well as supporting criminal investigations. The Northwest Virginia Regional Search and Rescue Task Force (NVRSRTF) was created in May of 2014 to support Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren County Sheriff Offices.

The NVRSRTF was the original idea of Sheriff Robert Williamson, Frederick County. Sheriff Williamson met with Sheriffs Roper, Fox, Carter and McEathron and began discussing the need for a regional task force to support both missing person searches as well as providing resources to support the member agencies with criminal investigations. The U.S. Marshal Service joined the task force as an affiliated member to provide electronic support.

The NVRSRTF is made up of sworn deputies who are trained in Search and Rescue (SAR) as well as sworn deputies who are certified man-­‐trackers. The NVRSRTF has two main objectives. The first is to provide sworn SandR2personnel to assist in locating missing persons filling the gap between the identification of the missing subject and the time when volunteer resources can arrive from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). There is generally a time gap between when a person is identified as missing and when trained civilian SAR resources can safely arrive on scene. The second mission of the task force is to provide sworn personnel, also certified as law enforcement man-­‐trackers, to support the apprehension of criminal subjects and to support other criminal investigations.

The NVRSRTF is available as a resource to other law enforcement agencies, non-­‐member agencies, on a case by case basis. When requested support will be provided to other law enforcement agencies based upon the individual availability of member agency personnel.

To date the task force has responded to approximately 20 different missions ranging from missing persons to homicide.

SandR3The task force trains approximately one Friday per month for a minimum of eight hours. In-­‐service hours are provided via the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy – Middletown campus. Task force tracking training is provided by the Appalachian Professional Tracking Group (APTG) in accordance with the methodology of Blue Line Tracking, LLC. Task force training is open to other law enforcement agencies based upon the availability of instructors. SAR training is provided to NVRSRTF by VDEM.








The mission of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office is to provide for a safe community through customer service based policing. We will achieve this mission through Professionalism, Respect, and Ethical Service.





In 2014, the Sheriff’s Office began the long overdue renovations to 100 North Church Street. Our communication’s equipment was upgraded with additional radio channels. The office was able to use forfeited funds, versus tax-payer funding, to purchase needed equipment. New mobile data terminals, a new vehicle for the School Resource Officer, and bullet resistant vests make up a partial list of these purchases. Our office continues to improve our training with a great deal of attention focused on skills training.


2015 GOALS



In 2015, our office will be assessed for re-accreditation in the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Commission. Our Emergency Communications Center will install the Powerphone Total Response program which includes emergency medical, fire, and law enforcement dispatch. Our office will continue to improve our ability to provide physical security in the Court complex, and assist in the security of our schools.




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Civil Process (Subpoenas, Custody Orders, etc.)






Calls for Service (Sheriff’s Office)






Motor Vehicle Accidents with Property Damage






Motor Vehicle Accidents with Personal Injury






Traffic Stops






Calls for Service (911 Emergency Services)








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 On January 21, 2011 the Clarke Daily News published an article titled Is Your Home Wireless Network Cybercrime Safe? written by Rob Spitler, Clarke County Sheriff's Office Reserves.  This is a public service article to inform our citizens on steps to help secure home wireless networks and protect them from cyber crime. Excerpt: "Computer crime and cyber terrorism are growing threats not only in this country, but in your neighborhood as well. Securing the wireless network in your home is important for the safety of you, your family, community, and county."


Special Feature: Is Your Home Wireless Network Cybercrime Safe?

Computer crime and cyber terrorism are growing threats not only in this country, but in your neighborhood as well.   Securing the wireless network in your home is important for the safety of you, your family, community, and county.

Ever noticed when you turn on a wireless device that there are, at times, more than one wireless access point available to connect to?  Were they begging you to join?  What happens if you do join someone else’s network, or even still what happens when someone else joins yours?

Let’s first take a look at you connecting to their network; often referred to as “piggybacking.”  Depending on the state or jurisdiction and what occurs while you are on the network it may also be known as Theft of Computer Services.  This occurs when someone obtains computer services without authority, in other words using someone’s internet without paying or having permission. The Virginia Computer Crimes Act (VA Code 18.2-152.1 – 18.2-152.15) defines criminal acts specific to computers and networks.

Now let’s look at safety.  Whose network are you connected to?  By connecting to that network, what privileges have you just given them for your own device? Can that person monitor what you are doing, steal data from, or even take control of your device?

Often hackers will map out towns and neighborhoods to find every open wireless network. This is referred to as war driving.  It may be done with the simple intent of finding where to get free internet, or may be for some nefarious reason, such as identity theft.

A criminal can easily take advantage of an open network to distribute child pornography, gain access to your personal information, or create attacks on other computers or networks.  Terrorists can use open networks as access points to inflict damages through cyber-terrorism.

For many people with a new home wireless network, getting onto the Internet as fast as possible is the main goal.  By accepting default settings and leaving the network open, he or she are not only inviting others to use the network at will, but also opens the door fraud, abuse, and even cyber-terrorism.

By taking steps, like those listed below, to secure your home wireless network you are taking steps to protect not only yourself, but your friends, neighbors, country, and way of life.  Each of the steps will provide a measure of security or anonymity to protect your wireless network.  Beware when following “rules” to secure your network from websites.  Often these can be misleading and give a false sense of security. The more layers of security you use, the less chance of you being affected by cybercrime.

Wireless routers offer a number of security features. It's important to read and under the operating manual before connecting your device before activation.

    • Read The Manual.  The first step to wireless security is to learn the features offered by the router you choose.  Most routers are similar, but each has different features in different locations.
    • Change Default Administrator Passwords.  Every wireless router comes with a default username and password.  These can all be found on various websites across the Internet.  Hackers like the easy route first, so they will often try the defaults first when attempting to break into your network.
    • Turn On Encryption.  All wireless routers come with built in data encryption.  Most routers are compatible with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption.  Although WEP is better than nothing, it is weak and easily broken. Try to use WPA2 or better to secure your network.
    • Change Default SSID.  The SSID is your network name. Most routers will come with a default name such as Linksys.  If a criminal see’s Linksys he or she will know what make your router is, and can then look for default usernames and passwords for Linksys routers to gain access to your network.  He or she may also already have steps to break past security on a specific router.
    • Use Non-Obvious Network Name.  Avoid using your name, address, or combinations to name your network.  When you use Smith Network or 1225 Main Street you are identifying to criminals who a network belongs to or where it is located.
    • Turn On Mac Address Filtering.  Every network device (wireless card, network card, router, etc) has a Mac address.  This is a number similar to 08:R4:J9:23:6M:B7 which identifies your network device.  Mac filtering will allow only the Mac addresses logged in the router to access the network.  This will help to thwart attackers.
    • Turn Off Broadcasting SSID.  A wireless router sends out a radio signal to tell everyone it is there using the wireless network name.  If the network name is not being broadcasted it is more difficult for a criminal to identify and attack your network.  In essence this will make you relatively invisible to most outsiders.
    • Assign And Filter IP Addresses For Devices.  Network attached devices are assigned an IP address by Internet Service Providers or personal routers.  This is a number, similar to, that points directly to you the same way your home address does. Your cable modem will be assigned an external IP address by the ISP.  Your router will then assign internal IP addresses for each device that connects with it. Usually it does this automatically (DHCP) and the device may change the IP addresses each time it connects.  By setting static (non-changing) IP addresses for each device, it will allow the router to further filter “who” is allowed access to use the network.  Filtering of IP addresses is not a feature on all routers.
    • Upgrade Firmware.  Keep your router’s firmware upgraded as often as possible.  Firmware upgrades will fix bugs, close vulnerabilities, and often give new features and security.
    • Update Operating System. Whether using Windows, Mac, or Linux keep the operating system up-to-date. This patches holes in security that allows people to exploit your computer.
    • Disable Remote Administration.  Many routers allow access remotely via the Internet.  By disabling this feature, it will only allow a computer from within the network to access the router and make changes.
    • Use Firewalls.  Enable firewalls on any computers attached to your network and on your router if it has any.  Firewalls will help keep outsiders from intruding into your systems even if they are able to access your network.
    • Use Anti-Virus. Ensure that your computer has an anti-virus program installed and running, that you keep it updated, and regularly scan your hard drives.
    • Position Routers in a Safe Location. By placing your router near the center of your residence you will get better coverage for your home and less signal spilling outside of your residence.
    • Reduce the Signal Range.  Some routers allow you to set the signal strength of the routers wireless signal. If so, try to limit the router to only extend coverage to within your residence or as close to as possible.  This will keep someone from sitting in a car on the street using your Internet.
    • Turn Routers Off.  If you are going to be away from home for extended periods of time, turn your router off. This will ensure no outside access while you are gone.  If you have a cable modem that also has your home phone included, check the user manual; you may be able to turn off everything except the phone.
    • Sharing. Be careful with sharing settings on the router or individual computers.  It is best to share only what you must, and only with specific people.  When setting sharing, try to do so by sharing only with computers within your network.  Sharing outside of the network opens you to letting vulnerabilities in

Though no single step will guarantee 100% protection, by using as many of these suggestions as possible, you will build a solid layer of protection for you, your family, and your community.

Here is one last item of advice when away from home. Turn the WiFi off on your mobile devices, or at least turn off the Auto Connect to Open Networks settings. If your phone is set to always connect to open WiFi you could inadvertently connect to a malicious computer system and you can become a victim.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office hopes this information will help you to understand some of the risks associated with unsecured home wireless networks and give you layered security methods to ensure a safe and enjoyable Web connected experience. Making you aware of dangers that are associated with the cyber world, and teaching you to take precautions also helps to protect you, your family, community, and county from the dangers of cybercrime.