About the Issues
Proper Staffing of Patrol Sectors
When a citizen resides within a specific designated geographic area referred to as a patrol sector, the citizen should expect that it is adequately staffed. This is to provide the necessary coverage and proactive patrol to protect the citizen and their family. The incumbent’s rudimentary staffing formula places the citizens and deputies in jeopardy for not providing adequate staffing.
I will incorporate a staffing model that is based on solid performance objectives to ensure that the citizens are properly protected and the deputies have the requisite backup to perform their duties. The Sheriff’s Office had a computer program that was developed at the University of North Texas that has a validated patrol allocation model. The Sheriff’s Office staff repeatedly gave the incumbent different staffing levels based on that model but the incumbent felt he was from the federal government and he knew better than the veteran staff officers who had decades of law enforcement experience in Loudoun County. He ultimately ended the use of the program and implemented his rudimentary method.
A key component to fulfilling the staffing issue is not just the hiring of qualified personnel but how to retain them as career employees. This entails creating a working environment that respects and values the input of all employees no matter what their title. I will work in partnership with the Board of Supervisors and County Administration to ensure that all employees’ compensation remains competitive to attract and retain quality professionals.
Citizens Advisory Council
I will create a Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to advise and assist the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in ensuring that the office is effectively responding to the needs of our community. The operation of the Sheriff’s Office must be transparent to everyone in the community and the best way to ensure that standard is met is through community involvement in all aspects of the Office. The CAC will be a forum for police-community interaction to address public safety and related issues in order to further enhance the quality of life and build trust within our community.
The members will represent a broad cross section of the community, including residents, business owners, local educational community members, and local community based social service groups.
The CAC will be established in each of the Sheriffs substations and will consist of 10-12 members. The council will meet regularly with the station commanders to resolve issues specific to their communities.
The station commanders group will select two members from each substation. These members will meet with the senior leadership team and me to address issues that have a global impact on the office and the community at large.
The CAC will replace the traditional station quarterly meetings that are currently in place by the incumbent.
Combined Emergency Communication Center
I fully support the complete integration of the Emergency Communications Center and the Office of Emergency Management into the Department of Emergency Communications and Management. I believe that by combining these services it will enhance the overall quality and delivery of the vital services to the citizens of Loudoun County.
The current 911 system where calls are initially handled by the fire department and then transferred to the Sheriff’s Office has become outdated in 2019. I believe that by creating one county agency to handle all 911 emergency calls and non-emergency calls will create a more efficient and streamlined system for the citizens who need to access law enforcement and fire and rescue services. This type of configuration of emergency communications has been in place in many agencies around the country and they function in a professional and responsive manner to the communities they serve.
The Sheriff’s Office would be part of a joint oversight committee with the Fire Services and the Emergency Communications Center Director to ensure that the needs of the Sheriff’s Office are met.
Mental Health Service Center
The impact of individual’s suffering from mental health issues continues to place a large demand on law enforcement and incarceration services. Incarceration, where the underlying causes of the arrestee’s action or behavior associated with mental health, creates a financial burden to the Sheriff’s Office. While the Loudoun County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Assessment Center is a good first step, I will work to expand the role of the Sheriff’s Office in responding to the mental health crisis. Furthermore I will support the increase in clinical support personnel within the county’s mental health system.
I will work with the mental health service partners to expand the centers hours. This will provide 24-hour comprehensive walk-in psychiatric emergency services to individuals who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
I will work to create a Mobile Crisis Unit that would assist the Sheriff’s Office in responding to the scene of individuals in crisis.
I will work with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office on a program to divert individuals with misdemeanor charges to more appropriate treatment services in the community. This will reduce the number of individuals with mental illnesses in jails. This will not reduce the safety of our community but will reduce the fiscal impact to taxpayers. I understand this will be a paradigm shift in the Sheriff’s Office response to crimes, so I will seek input from the citizens of Loudoun County.
Recidivism Reduction Strategies
We cannot arrest our way out drug addiction issues when these are the underlying causes to an arrestee’s behavior. If we as the Sheriff’s Office and community don’t address the revolving door of recidivism, we will continue to fail the arrestee and more importantly fail the taxpayer.
Since the arrestee is confined to the Adult Detention Center, the community has a unique opportunity to offer intense drug treatment and employment skills training. This will take a holistic approach by the community stakeholders to resolve the issue but return a productive member to society and reduce the impact to the taxpayer.
I will implement the Virginia Police Officers Bill of Rights to all sworn members of the Sheriff’s Office. While Deputy Sheriffs are currently excluded from these protections, I believe the men and women of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deserve the same treatment as a police officer. I have great faith in the Sheriff’s Office employees to perform their responsibilities professionally. In the event they fail to meet those expectations, I believe their peers can stand in judgement of the professional conduct expected of all Sheriff’s Office employees. Therefore, I will abide by the results of any trial board.