Page 11 - Salem Magazine Spring 2016
P. 11

 Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney, Tom Bowers, has never been one to seek the spotlight, but his work spearheading the efforts to battle substance abuse in the Roanoke Valley in recent years landed him right in the F.B.I.’s crosshairs.
Earlier this spring, Bowers received the Richmond F.B.I.’s 2015 Director’s Community Leadership Award for being the driving force behind the ongoing heroin prevention efforts in the greater Roanoke Valley.
“This is a very humbling honor and I am very appreciative
of it,” says Bowers.” However, while I am the appointed leader of this dedicated group, treatment
professionals and public servants have done the real work. They have made the difference in people’s lives and ultimately saved lives, so I accept this for each one of them.”
The Heroin Task Force was created through the Law Enforcement Summit,
which is a monthly meeting that
brings area police chiefs, sheriffs,
state police officers, commonwealth’s attorneys, probation officers, treatment professionals, forensic lab leaders, federal prosecutors and agents together for a common cause. These individuals
combine their resources, intelligence and experiences at these meetings to solve criminal justice problems in a cooperative way that benefits the entire region.
“This type of across-the-board cooperation is the key to any success we’ve been able to achieve,” says Bowers. “This is a team effort and when I accepted this honor I did so for each and every man or woman who has had a hand in this ongoing mission.”
Before taking on the seemingly overwhelming job of stopping heroin use and prescription drug abuse in the region, Bowers and the task force members also mounted an aggressive and eventually successful campaign against synthetic drugs known as Bath Salts.
The combined efforts of the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition, the Prevention Council of Roanoke County, the Virginia State Police, the
City of Roanoke Police Department, the Salem Police Department, the Vinton Police Department and the Roanoke County Police Department markedly reduced, and all but eliminated, synthetic drug use and abuse in many localities.
Bowers was formally honored on April 15 at F.B.I. headquarters in Richmond.
Bowers Leading the Way
       Bowers plays a major role in the valley-wide fight against substance abuse problems.
 Bowers speaks with Andrew Lewis Middle School students. | SPRING 2016

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