Setting record straight on volunteer’s role at Sheriff’s Department

Published 10:22 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

I hope you will take a few minutes to read this open letter.

There have been accusations made against me and this agency, which are not totally true. The media has sensationalized the events regarding a volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office, and you have not been given the chance to hear both sides of this issue.

It is true that I allowed a young man with a criminal history to work at the Sheriff’s Office as a volunteer. But that was strictly his role — volunteer.

He was never given authority to act in any capacity other than as an aide to the deputies and to office staff.

If there were occasions he went beyond his scope of authority without my knowledge or authorization, this will be uncovered during my internal investigation and acted upon accordingly.

The press has made it appear that he was a deputy. He was not a deputy. He was never sworn in as a deputy and has never received law enforcement training.

The press has made it appear that there is a family connection between this individual and myself. There is no connection between us. He is not related to me by blood or by marriage.

The press has made it appear there is a family dynasty in place in the Sheriff’s Office. There is not. I hired my son as a deputy 18 years ago, and he has had to perform to the same standard as any other deputy.

He has not been given preferential treatment, and the young man’s relation to him by marriage has no bearing whatsoever on his affiliation with the Sheriff’s Office.

Ten years ago this young man came to me with the intention of making up for the criminal acts for which he was accused. He wanted to make his life meaningful in a positive way and asked if he could ride with my deputies.

I had then, and still do, a program in place called Citizens on Patrol, which allows civilians to ride with a deputy during his or her shift. I felt this would expose the young man to a more stable and legitimate side of life.

From there it progressed to him volunteering his time by assisting with many activities, which included traffic control at accident scenes to keeping track of vehicle oil changes.

I am not apologetic for giving a young man a second chance at a productive and worthwhile life. I am not apologetic for allowing him the opportunity to be a volunteer who could take pride in what he was doing.

I am, however, concerned that boundaries may have been crossed without my knowledge or consent. If this is the case, I will do whatever is required to rectify damage that may have occurred, if any.

For more than 40 years I have sworn to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have never deviated from that and do not intend to act in any manner that would question my sworn duty.

The issue with this young man’s role in this agency has been blown completely out of proportion and this misinformation is creating an unnecessary black eye on this agency.

There is not enough space to go into depth with regard to this incident.

Therefore, I would welcome your phone call if you have any questions related to this matter. My home phone number is 357-7319 and my office phone is 365-6313.

I stand ready to answer your questions, discuss your concerns, or listen to your criticisms.