In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the principle of self-determination does not stay in textbooks. Within the State, every year is an election year, as every fall brings a renewal of public officers. But with the chance to alter the course of society comes the responsibility of staying informed. Many of the local posts in this yearly process affect citizens’ lives sharply, even if they remain invisible in national headlines.
Naturally, law enforcement operations are no exception to this rule. This November, your ballot may affect the safety of your community, the resources of your local police department, and the fate of many families across the State.
About the Election
The Virginia State Election will be held on Tuesday, November 7th. Although obscured by next year’s Presidential process, this election will be a decisive one. It will involve all 140 seats of the State’s General Assembly, as well as a handful of Mayors, Sheriffs, treasurers, Boards of Supervisors, and even Soil and Water Conservation Directors.
Many of these sound like minor, administrative positions, but the winners will be tasked with directing the everyday running of their local counties.
It’s a sharp difference from the glamorous debates just a few miles north, in Washington D.C. Instead, Northern Virginia will get to choose where to invest its citizens’ money and which local services to prioritize.
The Election and Law Enforcement: Here’s What’s at Stake
When it comes to our families’ safety, the biggest impact comes from the Sheriff’s election. Part overseer and part leader, the local Sheriff will be the visible face of each town or county’s Police Department. Their performance will reflect on each individual officer, and their strategies will define operating procedures, accountability, effectiveness, and even the amount of tools available.
Such power should not be handed out lightly, or left for others to choose based on mere partisan loyalty. Instead, it is paramount for each community to elect someone who:
- Has proven experience in law enforcement
- Can command the loyalty of individual officers
- Is willing to stand for the workers and communities under their command
- Is unafraid of speaking out or making tough decisions on behalf of everyone
- Shows clear moral fortitude
And who shows these qualities in Northern Virginia?
So far, we’ve identified the following candidates:
- Michael Chapman for Loudon County, the current Sheriff, and Loudon’s current “Favorite Public Servant”
- Travis Sumption for Clarke County, the current Chief Deputy for the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office
- Crystal Cline for Warren County, a law enforcement professional with over 20 years of experience
- Jeremy A. Falls for Fauquier County, the current Sheriff, who has made integrity and compassion the key values behind his Office’s work
- Joseph A. Watson for Culpeper County, a US Marine Corps Veteran and Former Sergeant of Alexandria Police
- David Phillip Decatur Jr. for Stafford County, the current Sheriff, a decorated former Paratrooper with a passion for Leadership and a long history of going hard against drug traffickers
In addition, the position of Commonwealth’s Attorney is also up for grabs in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun.
All three seats are currently occupied by “reformers” who have taken a soft approach to crime, diverted funds from Police Departments, and at times, even acted unsympathetically towards victims.
In Arlington, the result was a sharp increase in felony crimes and a decrease in indictments. In Loudon, the Attorney’s inaction resulted in a sex predator assaulting a second victim in the same high school.
The Next Step: Getting Out There
The fight for safer communities often feels too large for the average citizen – or even for a lone police officer.
But in reality, the battle can be won through the combined, small actions of many. It all starts with getting registered to vote. Before Election Day, use every opportunity to get informed on the different names and agendas fighting for each seat.
Finally, multiply your impact by talking to others. If involvement in a formal campaign is too much, then a simple chat with your neighbors and friends will help. It’s time for police officers, their families, and their supporters to band together for a worthy cause.