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History of Sheriff's Office is topic of book
The role of the Stafford County Sheriff from the 1660s to the present is the subject of a yearbook being planned for publication later this year. And county residents can help.

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Date published: 3/31/2004


DAVID VERRELMAN is a veteran law- man who doesn't discourage easily. And now he's hot on the trail of some Stafford County history.

Verrelman is writing the text and gathering material for a yearbook about the Stafford County Sheriff's Office to be published later this year to commemorate the office's 340th birthday.

Verrelman said the hardcover book will have two sections. The first will consist of a history of the office, including how the role of sheriff has evolved since 1664, what the office does and how it is organized. The second part of the book will consist of photos of current employees and recent retirees.

The book also will look at law enforcement officers in Stafford from the 1660s, when one of the early sheriffs was George Mason (whose great-grandson of the same name became the most famous family member more than a century later), to Charles Jett, the current sheriff who has been with the department for more than 25 years.

Both Verrelman and Jett are asking residents to help with the project.

"We're looking for old photos, newspaper clippings, equipmentjust anything that relates to the county Sheriff's Office," said Jett.

Items will be photographed for inclusion in the book and returned, although Jett said he also would like to create a display in the lobby of the Sheriff's Office.

He said the family of William E. Curtis, who served as sheriff from the late 1910s into the 1940s, has donated a pistol, holster, handcuffs and blackjack.

"Those are the kinds of things we would eventually like to display," said Jett, who also has memorabilia from former sheriff Richard L. Ashby.

Said Verrelman: "It's hard to say what we want, because we aren't sure just what might be out there. Someone could have a photograph of a sheriff on horseback from the 1800s."

Verrelman, who is 72 and takes pride in the fact that he has "carried a badge for 48 years," seems like a perfect choice to head up the project.

"The idea of a law enforcement department yearbook is not new," he said. "The first one I was involved with was when I was a rookie cop with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1956."

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