Veteran law enforcement to challenge Loudoun sheriff in GOP primary
Eric Noble announced his candidacy at a Nov. 24 county GOP meeting.
Noble will face incumbent Sheriff Michael Chapman in a primary.
Noble recently retired from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office as the senior commander in charge of the Corrections and Court Services Division.
“I think it was a mutual agreement solution between myself and Mike Chapman. I didn't like the direction that his leadership has moved in,” Noble said on his decision to retire.
Noble said he's concerned about the agency's ability to “provide superior core law enforcement services coupled with an incumbent sheriff who is out of touch with the agency.”
The candidate said he worries about the low rate of self-initiated arrests by deputies when compared to Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties.
Noble said he believes Chapman has held too tight of a reign on his office. If elected, he said he would allow substation commanders to have more control on how they patrol their regions.
“Ultimately, we have a great system in place in the Sheriff's Office that's waiting to be unleashed,” he said.
Noble, who recently worked on Barbara Comstock's campaign for Congress, has made two campaign promises. The first is that he will stand by the Republican party regardless of the outcome of the primary election. Second, he said, no one will lose their job if he's elected because they politically disagree with him or campaigned for his opponent.
“I'm not going to be the guy who takes food off someone's table because they didn't support my campaign,” Noble said.
The candidate, if elected, has set three priorities for a future administration.
The first is keeping Loudoun County's families, particularly children, safe by re-aligning personnel to increase staffing levels in Field Operations.
“To do that, in my experience, we need to provide core law enforcement services,” he said.
Noble points to a decrease in drug arrests compared to surrounding counties as an example of how the administration is heading in the wrong direction.
He will also have a focus on developing a framework “by which every decision is based on what is legal, moral and ethical.”
“Right now, I see the incumbent engaging in things that are not ethical,” he said. If elected, Noble said he will make sure all deputies undergo four hours of Constitutional law training.
“We don't specifically train our deputies in Constitutional law,” he said.
Any newly-hired deputy, he said, will not only be screened for required law enforcement training, but empathy and compassion.
Transparency, he said, will play a large role in his administration, which he says goes to the core of earning the public's trust.
“I'm interested in what's good for the agency, the deputies and the citizens of Loudoun County,” Noble said.
If elected, Noble said he will demand fiscal responsibility from the agency.
“Fiscal 2013 was a nightmare and this sheriff tends to minimize the truth. But it's just as bad as it appears to be,” he said, referencing the $2.2 million overspending by the Sheriff's Office. In April 2013, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors agreed to allocate $1.9 million to the office to close the gap. At the time, Chapman said overtime pay and a county personnel policy were the driving forces of the overrun.
Now, Noble says, for fiscal 2014 there is $1 million in unallocated funds saved by not filling more than 40 vacancies at the Sheriff's Office. He says this masks the overspending on the office's overtime budget.
If elected, Noble plans to institute a constant staffing model.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Noble began his career in law enforcement in 1987 and by 1989 was working in Field Operations. Thirteen years of his career was spent as a SWAT officer, the last six of which he was a commander. He is a four-time Valor Award recipient. He served in command positions in four of the five Sheriff's Office divisions.
He lives in Round Hill with his wife, Lee Ann, and is a father to two adult daughters and two adult step-sons.