Purchase Orders, Bills and Unclaimed Bodies- Henrico has a Job for that!

by Jenn Montrose- Marketing & Technology Specialist, Human Resources

Henrico employs thousands of people. What most of us don’t realize is that there are many positions and different aspects of jobs in the County that we wouldn’t even think existed. The perfect example of this is Sarah Garrison, an Account Clerk in the Finance Section of the Sheriff’s Office.

Sarah has worked for Henrico County for almost three years. The primary function of her job is to handle purchase orders and pay all bills that have to do with the Sheriff’s facility. Sounds pretty much like her job title right?

Did you also know, Sarah is the person in Henrico County who processes unclaimed dead bodies? Yes, that is a job that must be done in order for our county to continue to function and serve our citizens. When someone passes away, and there is no immediate next of kin, friend, or someone to claim that person, they are sent to Bennett’s Funeral Home and from there Sarah is notified.

“Processing unclaimed bodies is the most interesting thing I have ever done. No two are the same and you never know when they are going to pop up,” Sarah said. This past year alone she has had to process 35 of them. They show up on her desk multiple different ways. No, not the actual bodies, the paperwork associated with them. Whether from the hospital, nursing home or Police Division directly, Sarah’s job for the next 10 days is to try to find anyone with a relationship to the deceased person and turn them over to that family. After 10 days, if her search is unsuccessful the process of assembling a packet to submit to the County Attorney begins. This is all part of the unclaimed procedure set forth by the State and handled by our Sheriff’s department. “It seems like a crazy process but we have a fantastic relationship with the Police Division who are always willing to help try and find next of kin,” Sarah said. 

Once the packet goes to the County Attorney, the County Attorney files a motion and draft order in the Henrico Circuit Court.  After it is processed, the County Attorney forwards the executed order to the Sheriff’s office giving them authority to proceed with the cremation. All unclaimed bodies are property of the Sheriff’s Office. Each body is given a death certificate and ID and are kept at the funeral home until either someone comes and asks for the remains or they have enough people to perform a bulk burial. Since starting this specific duty Sarah has only had two cases where the individual could not be cremated, by order of the medical examiner. If for any reason, there is any doubt when trying to identify someone, and it is not 100% conclusive, that person must be buried, not cremated, in case DNA testing is needed in the future. Sarah handles all arrangements for this as well.

“I think it is great that the county offers this and that the law enforcement agencies in the county can work together so easily towards a common goal. I have heard that this process does not go as smooth in other localities,” said Sarah. 

This unique job duty  is a part of Sarah’s work that continues to benefit and help Henrico County. Through collaboration with the Police Division and full support from the Sheriff’s Office, unclaimed bodies are cared for just as much as anyone else. So, the next time you are chatting with a co-worker about their job, ask if there are any fun and interesting aspects you might not know about. Their answers might surprise you!

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Protecting Henrico’s Waterways

by Jen Cobb, Olivia Hall and Robin Wilder- Engineering & Environmental Services Division, Department of Public Works

Henrico’s Department of Public Works is working hard to protect the County’s waterways, one piece of litter at a time.  Many people do not realize that litter and other pollutants get washed down by precipitation into our streams, degrading water quality and our residents’ quality of life.  The Department of Public Works’ Engineering and Environmental Services Division (EESD) provides education to the public about protecting our waterways, to stay in compliance with the County’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and to help keep Henrico a desirable place to live, work and play.

One way EESD is working to educate the public is through art.  Last August, EESD hosted a Paint Out Pollution Pilot Project at the Woodman Road Depot.  Paint Out Pollution, a partnership between the James River Association and Art on Wheels, was created to increase awareness of stormwater pollution and celebrate the native plant and animal species that call the James River and its tributaries home.  Several local artists created stencils for Paint Out Pollution. Four inlets, three of which are along Jesse Chavis Drive, were painted by 18 volunteers and stenciled with the educational message, “Your river starts here. Only rain in the drain.” Marking inlets on certain County municipal sites is a requirement of our MS4 permit.  Stenciling is one option that can be used to satisfy this requirement.  A special thanks to Henrico County’s Department of General Services for providing a host location for the project.

In the spirit of Henrico’s new Volunteer Policy, several EESD employees teamed together to clean up an approximately 2,000-foot section of North Run bordering the Woodman Road Government Complex this past March.  There is something about a walk along a stream that seems to make the stresses of life melt away – even when you are carrying a large trash bag.  Fourteen employee participants collected 18 construction-sized bags of trash and several tires.  Much of this trash came from litter on Woodman Road that was washed down to the stream through roadside ditches before it could get collected from the regularly scheduled maintenance crews.  The division is planning a similar event this coming fall for another Henrico waterway in need of cleanup.

For more information on how you can help protect Henrico’s waterways, visit the following sources from our partners:

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Henrico’s Public Safety Games- 2018

On May 21, the Henrico Police Division clinched the title of “Fittest Public Safety Division” for the first time in Henrico Public Safety Games history. This year’s friendly fitness competition was the first of its kind and the beginning of a new era.

In previous Public Safety Games each registered two-person team was invited to a one-day only competition. This year, a three-week preliminary tournament heated up the 2018 battle.  Each week teams were given a different challenge, with the full week to complete it. During the preliminary period, five Police and four Fire teams competed against their own division to earn the number one overall seed for the finals. This is the breakdown of how the preliminary weeks went:

  • Week One- The “Ups-a-Daisy” challenge. Partners attempted to complete as many repetitions as possible in 10-minutes of picking up a 40 or 60-pound sandbag, throwing it over a five-foot wall, completing a burpee and jumping over the wall themselves.
  • Week Two- The “Longest Yard” challenge. Partners attempted to complete a 200-Yard heavy barbell carry and a 200-Yard heavy tire drag as quickly as possible.  Weights were accurately scaled for male, female, or co-ed teams.
  • Week Three- The “Fibonacci’s Metric Mile 2.0” challenge. Teams completed a 6,000-meter relay run for time following this sequence: 100 m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 800m, 400m, 200m, 100m.

After the three preliminary challenges were completed, teams were ranked and the number one overall seed from each respective division was invited to participate in the head-to-head finals competition.  Fire Lieutenant Ben Martin and firefighter Justin Brittle represented the Division of Fire and police officers Austin Lafollette and Alan Jenson represented the Police Division in the finals; a 10-part obstacle course known as “King of the Hill.”

As spectators, fans, and family members stood by cheering in anticipation, the competitors faced off grinding through:

Challengers push a police car in one of the Public Safety Games challenges.
  1. 800-meter run and equipment carry
  2. 50-yard sandbag bear crawl and rope pull
  3. 15-yard low crawl
  4. 30-yard police car push
  5. A second 15-yard low crawl
  6. 30-rep sandbag grinder
  7. Sledgehammer pallet smash
  8. 20-rep sandbag rope hoist
  9. 310-pound tire drag up a steep hill
  10. Finished by vaulting over a 5-foot wall to capture the flag

Police claimed the victory after 25 and a half grueling minutes, with Fire finishing second at 27 minutes.  Congratulations to Austin Lafollette and Alan Jensen and the Henrico Police Division for capturing their first win!

You can find the Public Safety Games plaque in the lobby of the Henrico Training Center along with the names and divisions of those who have won the title in the past.  (The Division of Fire in 2012, 2016 and the Sheriff’s Office 2017)

The Human Resources Fitness and Wellness Division’s vision for the Public Safety Games continues to expand each year. Here is a sneak peek at what’s to come in 2019’s competition:

  • Divisions for male, female, and co-ed
  • Continue the team series with preliminary challenges
  • Addition of individual competitions (i.e., strength, endurance, CrossFit competitions…)
  • And more!!!

Visit the Public Safety Fitness SharePoint site for more information about the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program as well as the Police and Fire CrossFit program for all sworn public safety personnel.

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HealthTrip: The Not So Sweet Side of Added Sugars

by Liz Stovall, Division Manager- Fitness and Wellness

A healthy lifestyle includes how much we exercise, what we eat and what we drink. People often know the exact calorie count for foods they consume, but don’t know how many calories are in their drinks. Let’s look at a brief history of soda size. In 1916, Coca-Cola was sold in six and a half ounce bottles. In 1950, the six and a half ounce bottle was still the standard size but the 10 and 12-ounce bottle also appealed to consumers. Today the 12-ounce can is considered the regular size. This size is getting even larger as vending machines offer 20 and 24-ounce bottles and convenience stores sell 32 and 44-ounce cups.

Sugar, used to sweeten the taste of most sodas, has a lot of calories. These calories are termed “empty” because they offer no nutritional value. When looking at the nutrition facts label on a 12-ounce can of soda, you’ll see it contains approximately 40 grams of sugar. One teaspoon of sugar from the sugar bowl equals four grams. This means you are drinking 10 teaspoons of added sugar in every 12-ounce can of soda.

Here’s a quick overview of the amount of added sugar found in a variety of drinks consumed by Americans:

  • 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola contains 64 grams of sugar.
    • This equates to 16 teaspoons of added sugar, the same amount of sugar found in five Little Debbie Swiss Rolls.
  • 15-ounce bottle of Minute-Maid Apple Juice contains 49 grams of sugar or 12 teaspoons of added sugar.
    • The same amount of sugar found in 10 Oreos.
  • 23-ounce can of Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey contains 51 grams of sugar or the same amount of sugar in 30 Hersey Kisses.
    • This equals 13 teaspoons from the sugar bowl.
  • One Starbucks grande Iced Vanilla Latte contains 28 grams of sugar.
    • This equals the sugar in two and a half Krispy Kreme doughnuts.


AHA cut out added sugars infographic. Click it to see more!

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars consumed. For most women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about six teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about nine teaspoons. Check out the AHA infographic by clicking on the image.

Of all the liquids we could drink, water is the very best for quenching our thirst. And, water is the ultimate diet drink because it has no calories. Replacing sugary drinks with water may help with achieving a healthy weight. In addition, our bodies need water to function. Water moves nutrients through our system and keeps us hydrated. Sip smarter and learn about healthier choices with this infographic.

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