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UPDATE: Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office overspending its budget by millions

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) is more than $2.7 million over budget for the current fiscal year, something that's “extraordinarily unusual,” according to Loudoun County staff.

And what's more discouraging for Loudoun Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) than the financial overrun itself is that neither Sheriff Mike Chapman, a Republican, nor anyone else from the sheriff's office has addressed the board to explain the expenditures.

Buona, the chairman of the board's finance committee who pointed out the budgetary concern during a Thursday work session, asked Chapman why no one has come forward to detail the excess spending or outline a proactive approach to rein it in.

“I've been told that your department was made aware of this quite some time back during the fiscal year,” Buona said, speaking to Chapman.

Given the county is entering the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, it's unlikely the LCSO can cut expenses enough to balance its more than $73 million budget.

The current budget is up nearly $800,000 from the previous year.

For fiscal 2014, for which the supervisors are in the midst of work sessions and deliberations, the sheriff's office is requesting an increase of nearly $2 million for various department enhancements. The board on Thursday deferred any decisions on next year's budget for the LCSO until a presentation is made on the fiscal 2013 spending.

Sheriff Chapman was not given an opportunity to explain his department's budget Thursday; he's expected to do so March 12 during a finance committee meeting.

Chapman told the Times-Mirror virtually all the extra expenses stem from overtime pay, which was extraordinary this year because of the derecho in summer 2012, Hurricane Sandy, the recent snowfall and the presidential campaign visits.

“All of those instances were unpredictable and required extra safety assistance,” Chapman said in an email.

Chapman also pointed out that holidays are counted as overtime pay, something that “remains a mystery” to him, since the LCSO cannot simply take holidays off. Approximately $1.2 million of the $2.7 million overage is because of holidays the LCSO is required to pay, Chapman said.

As for why the out-of-line budget wasn't brought to supervisors' attention sooner, the sheriff said he had been of the understanding it was, in fact, passed along to the board and county staff.

“I was as surprised as Supervisor Buona that this was not the case, or that there were questions as to the accuracy of the information passed along. Consequently, from now forward, I will make it a point to discuss our budget matters directly with Supervisor Buona and other members of the Board of Supervisors,” Chapman said.

Buona and board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) did acknowledge there were numerous cases of severe weather in 2012, as well as multiple visits from presidential candidates and their wives, all events that cost the sheriff's office resources.

But that did little to quell several supervisors' concerns on why they weren't briefed on the LCSO running millions of dollars in the red.

"What we don't want is surprises," Buona said Friday morning. "If this would've been brought to our attention a few months ago, we could've maybe put a dent in this gap."

Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) was taken aback by the revelation, calling it “quite stunning.” Reid asked finance staff if this was out of the norm.

“It is extraordinarily unusual for a department to overrun its budget in the course of a year,” Ben Mays, the county's finance director, said. “… It is very rare …”

This story has been updated to include comments from Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


pushin a cruiser2, I never stated that the Sheriff’s Office is not under-funded - LCSO has always been underfunded. Please re-read my post.

My point is that the current budget over-run has nothing to do with the Sheriff’s Office being under-funded ... those are two distinctly separate, though related, issues.

Instead, folks need to remain focused on the fact that this has everything to do with financial mismanagement. Sheriff Chapman - regardless of the size of his budget - has a duty to manage that budget effectively. He has failed in that regard, miserably, to the tune of three million dollars.

Chapman is attempting to deflect blame by pointing at other people, events, and/or incidents as the cause, a typical move for most politicians. Chapman is the cause as he has failed to properly manage his budget.

To me, the issue is glaringly obvious. Others, however, seem to be getting wrapped around the axle on the issues on which Chapman has placed blame. If you, and others, allow him to direct you towards those other issues then no one will ever hold him accountable for his actions. Thus, his political tactic has worked perfectly.

LongTimeLouduonResident - The Sheriff’s Office is under-funded.

Concernedloudoun - you stated that others within the county have their own police departments so this 1,000 per police officer is not needed. However you forgot to say how much time we spent helping these smaller departments out.  Oh wait, most of the folks here in the county don’t care about that.  It’s all about you.  Well I think it’s time for the Deputies to be all about us now.  We are not getting paid, not getting raises, etc.  The schools on the other hand get whatever they want. 

You also said something about taking our time getting to “serious calls.”  I have a few questions.

1.  What is a serious call?
2.  Do you think if the county had more law enforcement our times would be better?

Overall, I think we do well with what we have and god knows we don’t have a lot.  Someone commented about not even vests for the deputies.  I know of several that have expired vest but you don’t care about that.  Your kids have the best turf field, white boards, etc… 

I would like to see the people of this county come and do a ride along so they can see a day in the life of a Loudoun Deputy.  Everyone would be shocked!!!

FFxCop - I will take you up on your offer.  I’ll put my app in today.  Thanks for the training Loudoun County and taxpayers!

This has nothing to do with the Sheriff’s Office being under-funded. It has to do with financial mismanagement. Period.

There was absolutely no mention of the revised Field Operations schedule (two shifts with no overlap) upon which Chapman insisted when he took office. Should one look into that, I believe one will quickly determine that the schedule will account for a significant portion of the budget overrun as it relates to overtime. The current schedule has gaping holes in it which necessitates calling in off-duty personnel in order to maintain minimum staffing levels. The old schedule (three shifts, with overlap to cover roll calls and peak hours for calls-for-service) never saw such issues, at least to no where near the same degree.

The article mentions an audit ... yeah, I’m all for that. A consultant study a few years ago resulted in the a recommendation that initially was not well received by LCSO Command Staff - but it ultimately reduced overtime expenses.

And, citing dignitary visits and significant weather-related events as an underlying cause? Give me a break. Historically, the Sheriff’s Office encounters numerous un-scheduled events and incidents each year. Why, all of a sudden, have those events and incidents become an issue as it relates to overtime expenditures? I don’t buy that for one minute. Again, the underlying issue is financial mismanagement ... Don’t lose sight of that.

As unfortunate as it will be, I am confident that this is merely the first of many issues that will come out over the next few years as Chapman’s lack of experience and, more importantly, his gross lack of leadership catch up with him.

I do believe the Sheriff will be at the Board meeting tonight at 5 o’clock. We’ll see who the heavy hitters are when it comes to the questioning of Sheriff Chapman. Since he has had time to prepare it could be a revelation of sorts finding out how much money was spent on Deputy time for the Presidential candidates, the Vice-President and the wives.

I dont have a bone in this fight. But I am a Loudoun tax payer.

“In the know” no offense,  but you sound beyond lost, again - no offense but I doubt you even work for LCSO. Would you prefer Loudoun stay a back woods non-relevent department with no capability?  Neither myself or my neighbors want that. We want a new, progressive department that we are proud to support, not embarrassed to call.

Everyone keeps mentioning this swat team and the whopping 5 people that left patrol to start the unit. Wow, a 600 man departmentwouod fall apart with loosing 5 people, and have to pay 3 million to fill those 5 spots, less then 1 person a shift. Again, “in the know” sounds more like “really lost”. Loudoun was the last department in the region to get a full time swat team, everyone else has had one for years. With a population of 350, 000, I’m pretty sure you need them, and if its like ffx swat then loudoun swat will be doing sll the department training for active shooter ect saving your department thousands. I commend Chapman for bringing you guys forward a notch or two. As a tax payer I support it 100% and so does my Ashburn HOA.

The real issue here is the uncontrolled spending by the Sheriff which has resulted in overtime gone wild.  Good Government 101 says that you can’t just create unfunded programs and specialty units without getting such enhancements approved by the BOS. That’s why they have a budget, budget meetings, and enhancement requests.  The creation of all the nice little pet specialty units is great but when you pull officers out of the field operations to staff these new unfunded and unapproved programs you get exactly what has happened - deputies being forced to work OT against their wishes just to fill in the gaps created by these actions.  No wonder the deputies are complaining.  It’s incredible that a public official who is charged with operting under a budget would do this kind of thing, and worse, keep the BOS in the dark about it.  Deputies aren’t leaving for the pay issues (a lot of the hype on here is blown way out of proportion, the starting salary at Fairfax is very close to here, if you don’t believe it check the hiring ads for the Fairfax county police), the departures are morale related, often due to being overworked from backfilling the vacancies that were created when officers were reassigned to unfunded units.
The storm overtime argument is pretty silly, the LCSO has been dealing with storm overtime for many years and there were far less storms the past year than in previos years. 
The BOS should demand a full detailed accounting of how all this overtime was spent - and then have it audited by an outside agency.  They probably would find of the $3,000,000 maybe 100 grand at most was storm-related. 
The really sad part of this is how the Sheriff claimed that he didn’t know the budget overrun of 3 million dollars was not passed on to the BOS.  Isn’t the Sheriff the CEO of this organization and supposed to know things of such magnitude?
Pretty bizarre that this is where we are.

BOS, before I forget. I work for ffx, but I live and vote in Loudoun.

This issue isnt going away. If your not pro Deputy - you will be pro looking for a new hobby as you will be voted out..

Richest county in America, lowest paid police around.

No more turf fields and auto white boards,  pay the Deputies…

Deputies, brothers.

Speaking on behalf of my good friend who works in hiring for ffx county.

We are hiring.

Ffx would gladly hire you, seeing how Loudoun tax payers paid 100k to train you. Ffx will bring you on at approx 60k starting. They will give you extra for all your specialties,  bike - fto - id tec ect.

Easily starting you at 63k. Plus our retirement is better.

Come one, come all - seriously… we are hiring and will pay top dollar since we dont have to pay 100k to train you.

Come on C.B.  The BoS has ridiculously priced property to buy from their “friends”.  Priorities!  Who needs cops?  Did anyone see we might get a non-minor league baseball team?!  Look over there!  Go Hounds!

When you are figuring your statistics for officer per 1,000 people, you are not being entirely truthful in your ratios.  You somehow fail to mention that the towns of Leesburg, Middleburg and Purcellville have their own police forces and patrol their own towns population of at least 53,000 people, so you have to deduct that amount from the Sheriff’s Department ratios.  Yes, the LCSO has jurisdiction in the towns, but the reality is that the patrol function is done by the towns.  It is also not fair to do a strict per thousand comparison with places that may have a much higher crime rate and lower income demographic than Loudoun.  A more interesting comparison would be the response time for serious calls.

Supervisor Buona also recommended “laying people off” (i.e. Police Officers) during the meeting as something he would do “in business” so it should, therefore, be something he thinks the Sheriff should consider to help with the Sheriff’s budget. As a constituent of his I couldn’t agree with that thought process at all, nor would any of my neighbors. That’s a terrible idea. This is not a business, it’s essential government emergency services. If there is an obvious need we need to fund and fill it. This isn’t artificial fields and digital signs, this is public safety.

Rich B. You are obviously mis informed.  Leesburg PD offered to start me off at 56000 with guaranteed increases.  With Loudoun I make 48000 after years of experience….You try raising a family on 48000 a year…

It’s just truly sad all around. I love this area and county, so beautiful here. I just can no longer afford to stay with the sheriffs office or in the county. I’m not getting paid respectively.  It’s unacceptable, we’re people first and have family’s. 10 years here with a 4 year degree, it’s a shame.

Its ludicrous.

Here is my resume.

4 year degree / 4 years military with TS clearance / 10 years at LCSO. Salary - 54, 000…....

Cold hard facts…. I have a friend at ffx that has no military and only 7 years on the job, his base is 72, 000….

Another friend at Herndon, no degree or military and 9 years on the job, he makes 69, 800 base..

I am the most qualified and make almost 20k less..

BOS duputies arent leaving due to morale,  its Police work - morale always sucks. They are leaving due to being the lowest paid force in Northern VA.

Soon LCSO will be staffed by everyone west of the mountain. Loudoun tax payers will continue to employ Winchester and West Virginia residents while every local person takes the 20k raise and goes elsewhere.

PBA - stop getting involved in petty issues and start focusing all your energy in getting us paid…

And if anyone is wondering our PBA president just left LCSO after a decade on tenure to take a higher paying federal job as he could no longer feed his growing family….

Broke, I feel your pain.  Hopefully the BOS starts paying us like every other agency, or I can’t afford to stay.

This is to much!! We are not getting paid out there. When Deputy’s are getting calls at home every other day on their days off and told they must come in for mandatory over time, morale is no bueano. We haven’t received a raise in years!! That is an absolute fact, you can check my pay stub if you don’t believe me. We are not receiving raises because the BOS doesn’t give the Sheriffs Office a budget to work with. But, the schools on the other hand, oh boy. They spend millions on turf fields for crying out loud. Poor management all around. BOS needs to be looked at. You haters out here won’t be hating when your calling 911 because some ones breaking into your house or stealing things from your unlocked vehicles. Facts is, deputy’s are leaving because we aren’t getting paid. We have family’s and they come first. Oh look at that, another page just came out for over time on the other squad. No one at work because my friends are going to other departments that actually pay. I may be following suit.


Census states in 2011 the county had 325, 400 citizens. We can easily assume there are approx 25, 000 undocumented citizens spread through out the county.

Updated info. 350, 000 residents in Loudoun. Thats a staggering 14, 000 residents per Deputy.

From what I have been told and seen the swat team the sheriff created works detail after detail for the department adjusting their hours in order to reduce mandatory overtime for the department.

Factfinder is absolutely right.  Why does the wealthiest county have the lowest paid law enforcement officers in Northern Virginia.  Deputies leave to agencies like MWAA, Herndon, and Fairfax where Officers are justly paid.  This causes patrol to be short manned, which causes overtime.  This problem will not go away.  Deputies have families to support too.  Many Deputies stay with Loudoun for the loyalty to other deputies, loyalty to the citizens that they serve, and loyalty to the agency.  When a deputy’s take home pay decreases for the third year in a row due to increased healthcare, taxes, retirement etc. taking care of the family comes first.  So then what do you have?  You have a certified, experienced law enforcement officer that another law enforcement agency does not have to send to the academy, or spend extra money training.  Deputies are marketable and possess skills that not everyone have. 

So Loudoun County will just hire more deputies.  Ok.  In two years those deputies will also leave when their buddies in the other agencies are getting raises and surpassing them, or they realize that they can not afford to live in the county that they work for.  So what happens when deputies keep leaving every two years?  You never get that seasoned, experienced law enforcement officer that should be mentoring the younger officers.

BOS, you know that Loudoun County has the lowest paid salary for law enforcement in Northern Virginia.  Fix the pay, and overtime will not be needed fill the vacant spots of deputies leaving the agency.

Fact Finder (LCSO PR team) has really distorted his “facts”.  Chapman didn’t inherit any mess. He inherited a balanced budget that was brought about by experiended people he chose not to keep.  From what is happening it is apparent that they people he brought in aren’t very good at what they are supposed to do.

Leesburg PD does not pay 15% more than LCSO.  Under Simpson often Leesburg officers left there to come work for the LCSO.  Now officers are leaving the LCSO and going to work elsewhere and this can be attributed to the very low morale issues that have developed under this new administration. 

Fact Finder uses a deputy per square mile comparison.  Do you really think that you need as many deputies per square mile in the west end of the county as what Leesburg PD has?  With your thinking you seem to expect the County taxpayers to foot the bill for putting 100 or so deputies in Round Hill, Bluemont, Philomont, and all those other high crime areas (LOL) in the west end of the County where there are more deer than people.  Not a very good idea to try and distort the facts.

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