A special election now means residents choose sheriff

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To the Editor:

I am one of numerous Isle of Wight citizens that favor a special election for sheriff. Apparently some think there is some sinister motive for this position. I take this position because the sheriff has unbridled authority to do what he wishes with personnel, having a temporary sheriff brings instability to the department. I have 42 years of experience in and working with law enforcement and have spoken to several employees in that department and know this to be a fact.

Under past circumstances this may not have made a difference, but currently with every law enforcement agency in the area being severely shorthanded, they would be more than glad to hire any deputy that wanted to leave to have employment stability, and those deputies would be very difficult and expensive to replace. We currently have a fine top-notch sheriff’s department.

No special election means an appointed — not elected by the citizens — sheriff would hold the office until a sheriff elected in November took office on Jan. 1, 2019. Ten months. A sheriff elected by the special election on July 24 takes office immediately. The department will have a permanent sheriff in less than five months. The sooner a permanent sheriff, the less a chance of losing valuable personnel.

The cost of $20,000 for an election that gets stability in one of the most most important departments sooner rather than later could save money in keeping trained personnel. In a county where mistaken advice on terminating an employee cost $750,000.  and millions are spent for a bike path, this could end up saving money.

Many feel, myself included, that between now and July 24 is enough time to get to know the positions of  any candidate and the less drawn out any political campaign the better.

When an election date is as well publicized as this one is and will be — and voters know where to vote — how anyone can say they are disenfranchised is beyond me.

Go vote, no one is preventing it. At least citizens will not have all of the upcoming campaigns for senator to think about for the November election. We can focus on the election for sheriff and only that, making sure the best person for the job is elected.

Volpe Boykin