Mike Chapman

Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman (R) at the new firearms training facility groundbreaking in February 2019.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will hold off on recommending a voter referendum to establish a police department and will instead consider a government structure study related to the issue.

Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) made the announcement Tuesday and said the board will take up the potential study on July 21 at its final business meeting before the August break.

The study is a shift from earlier efforts to promote a voter referendum asking the question of whether the county should establish a police department. In the past few days, the public has reached out to elected officials to weigh in on the topic.

Randall, who said she received a couple hundred responses, said about 80 percent of respondents prefer to have more information on the cost of creating a police department.

“When that number of people on both sides of an issue speak, as an elected official, we should listen,” Randall said Wednesday on Facebook. “In addition, much, if not most of the information put out by the sheriff was unfortunately not accurate. So yes, pausing is appropriate. The motion — that will be put forward by Supervisor [Mike] Turner — will be for information on cost and process.”

In earlier interviews, Randall has supported the idea of implementing a county police department out of concern for deputies’ job security and the office’s transparency.

A county police department would dramatically reduce the reach and scope of the county sheriff’s office. Neighboring Fairfax County operates with a police department taking primary law enforcement duties across the county, while the sheriff’s office oversees courthouse security and oversight of the jail. It’s expected Loudoun would operate similarly, with a county police chief hired by the county administrator. The sheriff, in their reduced role, would still be elected.

Supervisor Turner (D-Ashburn) said Loudoun County has been considering the change for more than a decade.

“After almost two decades of unprecedented growth and the transformation of Loudoun County from a largely homogeneous rural community into a highly diverse, modern county, now is the time to transition towards a more efficient and accountable community policing model adopted long ago by all the counties within the U.S. National Capitol Region,” Turner said in a prepared statement. “Such a model provides a far more efficient use of our law enforcement resources, protects our law enforcement officers within an equitable human resources administrative system, and offers greater opportunities for collaborative community law enforcement practices.”

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) has loudly opposed the idea and he has touted the success of the sheriff’s office. On Monday, his office released a comprehensive assessment of its operations compared to what might occur if the county removed law enforcement functions from the elected sheriff and replaced them with a police chief.

The study stated that replacing the sheriff’s office with a police department would cost at least $20 million for personnel and equipment start-up costs. Chapman claims it would waste millions of dollars in subsequent maintenance and personnel costs and divide a “unified” and “highly successful” organization.

“Proponents of this change have said they want to take politics out of law enforcement, but in fact, they want to do just the opposite,” Chapman said in a prepared statement Saturday morning. “This is a reckless power grab intended to inject partisan politics into public safety and forever change the direct accountability of the sheriff’s office to the people of Loudoun County.”

Chapman added, “I encourage all Loudoun County citizens to examine the results of this study that could jeopardize the tremendous progress we have achieved here in Loudoun. My hope is that this study marks the beginning of a long-term, comprehensive conversation among elected leaders and the community.”

A police department is not required under the current “traditional” form of government, which Loudoun operates under. However, under “county executive” and “urban county executive” forms of government, having a police department is required.

Another significant difference is that two constitutional officers, treasurer and commissioner of revenue, are not required under “county executive” and “urban county executive” forms of government. Those offices are currently held by Roger Zurn (R) and Robert Wertz (R), respectively.

Dulles Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R) said on Facebook he opposed a motion to place a question on the ballot to create a police department. Instead, he suggested county staff conduct the comprehensive study of the topic with the sheriff’s cooperation to make a determination on the voter referendum.

“It is also legitimate to examine the other constitutional positions and whether they should remain elected or not,” Letourneau said on social media. “Whether or not the county wants to make a change, it has been a long time since any of these topics were discussed, and it is reasonable to take a look at them every so often since there are other options available to us.”

___________

Related coverage:

-Times-Mirror: “Questions and answers about a potential Loudoun County Police Department”

(85) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

Voltaire, My point is clear. Voters need to appreciate that sometimes representatives UNDERSTATE their flexibility to get things done without asking voters for specific permission to do so. (keep people asleep) This should mean to the majority of local registered voters who don't bother to vote in local elections that they should NOT take a quick glance at what their representative says (such as we need a study) but rather actually try to understand the agenda behind the action and what other actions are being ignored by this behavior. Statues and police structure seem important to this BOS while traffic, taxes, VDOT and schools are not even on the agenda. Your attempt at insult doesn't matter as this should be about educating the public. There just might be an alternate agenda that is trying to drive Loudoun closer to Minneapolis, Portland or Seattle as a priority instead of fixing Route 15 north of Leesburg while the traffic levels have been reduced or bringing our property tax rate down 39% to the average of Virginia or suggesting the school board do its job by having a responsible plan to re-open schools or properly assess commercial properties in Loudoun like the Greenway or HHMI or even trailer parks or demand VDOT maintain roads at least at their own published minimum standards or stop burying garbage in Loudoun etc. Exceptions and exemptions say a lot about the real intent of officials and people should notice that! :-)

Voltaire

Bob—No, the point wasn’t clear as we have shifted the conversation. Further, I did not make insult in my comments. Your initial post asked the question about whether the “study” would be openly bid. I provided you, in my initial and subsequent posting what the applicable procurement laws/regulations state. I know that procurement law is taught as a first year requirement for law school. I found it disturbing that a practicing lawyer did not seem to grasp the basics surrounding the procurement process and stated that. Now, shifting gears, I have said, in previous postings, that the Route 15 North project is under DESIGN. Civil works of this magnitude are typically done in a two phase approach. The first phase is the completion of design work and engineering assessments/studies. Based on information found on the Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, the lead agency for this project, they are still doing engineering studies/assessments. They CANNOT do actual construction on that project, including the acquisition of land for right way until that design work is complete. As for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), there is NOTHING that supports your claim that the agency is not meeting its requirements. As stated on the VDOT website, it states that they are responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the roads for the ENTIRE Commonwealth, not just Loudoun County. To date, they are meeting that mandate and there has been ZERO evidence to suggest contrary. The choice of whether or not people vote in local elections is an individual choice. You can’t berate them into participating in the process if they elect not to. I decline to get into the “political conspiracy” part of your comment as it is not relevant.

Djfmer

It's nothing but a power grab by studying organizational structure. What may happen is Phyllis Randall and a few others on the bos with valuable inputs from the NAACP and the ACLU will have Loudoun county government modeled after Chicago.

Lemmy Motorhead

That's exactly what randall wants. Shes a hardcore leftist that wants Loudoun to be a Fairfax county Jr. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of illegal immigration. For those of you who still have your blinders on when it comes to that issue, just look at the crime stats for our community...

If I wanted Loudoun county to become another Montgomery or Fairfax, I'd live in one of those jurisdictions...

amerigirl

What a limited point of view. There are reasons for waning and having a police dept as have thousands of other jurisdictions in the US. It's not just this small area. So what your rare saying is that if there is a police dept then you would move?

amerigirl

Not again, another republican with the "Chicago" comparison. You don't seem to understand what a police dept. is. Your what if would have the same answer as it does right now with a sheriff. The BOS creates Loudoun policy and laws and the sheriff's dept or a police dept would enforce those laws. The sheriffs dept does not mike the laws and policies.

Voltaire

Djfmer--if we go with your comparison of Loudoun County with Cook County IL, then we should have a police department and a sheriff's office as that is what is currently in place for Chicagoland. The Chicago Police Department is responsible for the City of Chicago and the Cook County Sheriff's Department is responsible for unincorporated areas of Cook County IL and responsible for jail management, court security, and process services. Chicago does have the Illinois State Police patrolling/responsible for the Chicago Expressways. Cook County also has specialized police agencies for parks and hospitals.

amerigirl

Why is it that republicans always use 'Chicago" for everything like it is the perfect model for everywhere to compare to? It has happened in LTM comments at least 100 times. Chicago is an extreme but lets pretend it's the norm and say all places will turn out like that with any change that republicans don't like. .

Voltaire

AG--according to a Chicago area website (the Chicagoist), the reason that Chicago is used by republicans is that it has highest black on black crime and extreme amount of gun violence. However, the site also stated that people use Chicago's criminal problems as a distraction in order to divert attention from real societal problems. I could tell, by reading the site, that the people of Chicago are tired of being used as a talking point. I can't really blame them.

David Dickinson

Radical Randall & the Democratic Deestroyers have taken it up a notch. Why just get rid of one Republican Sheriff when you can have a government study and get rid of all four Republican Constitutional Officers? This is nothing but a power grab.

Voltaire

David Dickinson--OK, the premise that the County of Loudoun Government has contracted with a firm to do a study automatically equals the elimination of the "four Republican Constitutional Officers" is flawed. Nobody has advocated for the elimination of ANY of the Constitutional Officers, including the Sheriff. The Code of Virginia REQUIRES that counties have these Constitutional Officers and provide sufficient funding to staff their organizations. If Randall wanted to eradicate that, then she would have to go to Richmond and ask the General Assembly to amend the Code of Virginia. That hasn't been done. The real question is why does these four Constitutional Officers need to have a political affiliation with them. The answer is that they don't and shouldn't.

amerigirl

Another republican limited way of thinking response.

Lawman

Change is coming, get use to it. Mike can whine, have all his accolades write all the comments and opinion pieces he wants, but change is coming. Don’t like it, there’s West Virginia right over there and that the Harry Byrd name with you. The Revolution is in Loudoun and it is being televised.

ThinBlueSpin

“This is a reckless power grab intended to inject partisan politics into public safety and forever change the direct accountability of the sheriff’s office to the people of Loudoun County.” There is overstated truth in these assertions. Yes, it is a power grab, but moving forward in this climate, it's concerning in some ways that policing in Loudoun bears no direct accountability to county leadership. Yes, the sheriff is directly accountable to its citizens, but let's be real... so is a police chief. Moreover, although it can be argued that a police chief is a "political appointee", an election for sheriff every four years creates a thicker layer of politics than would an appointed police chief. Every three years the sheriff must ramp up his campaign for re-election, which creates a very unseemly optic as it relates to professional LE and creates a rather uncomfortable atmosphere in the SO. Often, deputies (particularly at the higher ranks) must show allegiance to the sheriff or risk losing their jobs (or ranks). The allegiance of these LE professionals should be to the citizens of Loudoun County, not to a particular sheriff. The job is stressful enough without having to feel conflicted about their political positioning at each election cycle. After a shaky start in which Sheriff Chapman very unfortunately purged the office of several outstanding deputies for purely political reasons, he has gone on to do a fine job, despite his lack of extensive local LE experience. Loudoun may have gotten lucky electing Sheriff Chapman, but what if a less than competent sheriff happened to be swept in on a particularly partisan election wave? With an appointed police chief, there is at least an assurance that the resume of that selectee, though perhaps politically considered, would be of the utmost quality in terms of experience, leadership, and professional standards.

RandomName2019

Regardless of the overall structure, politics will remain a direct influencing factor on how policing occurs. What troubles me about the idea of a police chief is that we will then have an appointed bureaucrat who will likely never be removed from their office. One simply has to look at the current and prior school superintendents to see that an elected body will not take decisive action regardless of performance.

amerigirl

Why? Politics should not be a direct influence as it is now. There won't be the head of the department campaigning as there is now. The policies and laws are set by the board, not law enforcement whose job it is to enforce them.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--OK. If you look at major metropolitan areas (Los Angeles, Chicago, for starters), they have appointed Police Chiefs and they were fired by the mayor for various reasons. You can't compare the police chief/sheriff with the school superintendent. As identified in Title 22 of the Code of Virginia, the school superiintendent is appointed by the School Board. The Police Chief, no different than the Fire Chief, is overseen by the County Administrator and firing/personnel decisions come from the County Administrator.

Representing the Mambo

ThinBlueSpin - you had me until you stated that Chapman has gone on to do a fine job. I know a lot of people who work there and believe me, there are many issues and problems. Chapman fights FOIA requests makes great efforts to hide what is really going on behind the scenes. When deputies get promoted to higher ranks, one of the first things they are told is, "Priority one -Protect the Sheriff". I always thought the first priority was protecting the citizens. Crime has gone down nationally, but Chapman will do the numbers spin and take credit for this and other things that he really had nothing to do with. Things are good in spite of him, not because of him.

ThinBlueSpin

Mambo, to your point as to whether Sheriff Chapman is doing a fine job.... my assessment is based on the data from the outside looking in, and from that perspective I suspect most citizens of Loudoun would agree.

monkeysee

"What if a less than competent sheriff happened to be swept in on a particularly partisan election wave?" You mean someone like Chapman's opponent in the last election? It very easily could have been a possibility if he were applying to the position of police chief.

amerigirl

Well said. not to mention that it widen the pool of candidates for the job because they do not have to currently be a citizen of Loudoun.

Loudoun Observer

It seems that a bit too much of the "feedback" given to Randall was against a police department. If you can't get the votes, then you buy time by having studies done. The next step is to structure the study in a way that ensures a result that she likes. After that, the politician steps aside and says "Don't take my word for it, look at this independent study." The ultimate goal here is to become another Fairfax.

amerigirl

That is so far off base. Randall has been for a police dept for years, and what "feedback"? She doesn't need votes, the people will vote on it after the study is done. Yes there is a study and the conclusion will be laid out in referendum on the ballot in the fall. Fairfax is one of thousands with the same set up, so it has nothing to do with them.

BobOhneiserEsq

Voltaire, Appreciate the pablum based response but not all service acquisitions are required to be openly bid. In fact, you may find with a bit of research there was actually a study the Chairperson wanted done by a "friend" that Mr. Chapman stopped during the prior BOS Administration. Even the school board doesn't put all service commitments our for bid and in my experience many of them were well over the minimum bid level the board normally approves. Sorry to bust your bubble but there is far more flexibility than it would appear. Remember where the money came from to buy the government center even though the voters nixed it? Have you ever wondered how the BOS ends up paying a higher interest rate than our AAA rating earned us? :-)

Voltaire

Bob—OK. I am a little disappointed that an attorney cannot grasp basic procurement law/regulations. If you had bothered to READ my posting, you would have noticed that I stated at the end of the first sentence “…unless there is a valid exception.” Did I say that ALL service acquisitions had to be competitively bid? NO. Under Paragraph F under Section 4 of the Loudoun County Procurement Regulations, it states: “Sole Source--Upon a determination in writing that there is only one source practicably available for that which is to be procured, a contract may be negotiated and awarded to that source without competitive sealed bidding or competitive negotiation.” However, you apparently cannot understand that there are different types of “service acquisitions” and there are different procurement rules applicable. You cited a study performed by consultants. That is a Professional Service and the procurement processes for this type of service different than traditional services such as custodial services. Still, in the procedures for professional services, the Loudoun County Procurement Regulations, under Paragraph B of Section 4 (Items a-b), state that the County has to obtain quotations from at least two vendors and can initiate discussions with those two vendors concerning terms. The regulations specifically state: “…Where the cost is expected to exceed $80,000, the County shall engage in individual discussions with two or more offerors deemed fully qualified, responsible, and suitable on the basis of initial responses and with emphasis on professional competence, to provide the required services.” As to your comment about “approval”, that is dependent on the Procurement Regulations for the agency. For the County Government, the Purchasing Agent is authorized to approve contracts. However, above that threshold, it goes to the Board of Supervisors for approval. The WHOLE Board votes, not just one member on contract awards. No, I am WELL aware of the flexibilities within the procurement systems of Federal, State, and Local Governments but thanks for your concern. Apparently, you need a refresher course in how governments operate, as the item that you are referring to is a question of budgeting/resource allocation not procurement specifically.

DonTomas

This is a lot of time and resources directed towards making Loudoun an ICE sanctuary county and defunding the force...

amerigirl

Which they could do regardless of having a sheriff or a police dept. The sheriff does not make the policies and laws in Loudoun the board does. It is the sheriffs job to uphold them.

LoudounPulse

I see the Chairwoman cites cost as a reason we should make this change. But the real reason is she wants control over law enforcement, which she can't get her hands on with a Sheriff. This has nothing to do with money and everything to do with power.

btm11

Pulse, The Police Chief would not report to the Board of Supervisors but to the County Administrator, also an appointed position.

amerigirl

She still would not have it.You shouldn't assume you know why someone says something and twist it into what you believe it means. She still cannot get her "hands" on law enforcement, but law enforcement would be much more transparent. After the law suits and the big to do about overtime I would think we could use transparency.

Fiscalconservative

Wonderful let's waste more taxpayer dollars. We are in a pandemic with no end in sight. Now more than ever it is important to be cautious how taxpayer dollars are spent. Businesses are going under at an unprecedented rate which next year will translate in less tax revenue. The schools and the local government will need additional funding to deal with the coronavirus so please stop wasting money!!!

Voltaire

Fiscalconservative--it is possible that the Federal Government will pass another stimulus bill that will include additional aid for local and state governments.

monkeysee

"it is possible that the Federal Government will pass another stimulus bill that will include additional aid for local and state governments."

From where do you think that money comes?

Voltaire

Monkeysee--From the viewpoint of the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, every U.S. citizen who earns an income will pay it. Taxpayers typically fund government operations.

Countyrez

Their plan will likely be to hide it inside a school bond on the ballot knowing full well ignorant voters check "yes" to anything school related.

amerigirl

If you think so you better read each one very carefully. take your time.

JustMe

Better idea - How about being informed by doing your homework and reading everything that will be on the ballot before you go to the polls, so when you are there you know what is on the ballot and how you are going to vote. Speeds up the process at the polls.

Voltaire

Countyrez--very true statement. It would be nice if people would realize that passing those bonds are essentially a tax increase on people as the county has to pay those bonds back and the funding for debt service has to come from somewhere, namely tax revenue.

amerigirl

I think they all realize that because they are seeing the cost that the bond will be taken out for.

Voltaire

AG--I wouldn't totally bank on that assumption.

amerigirl

Volt, unfortunately you are probably right

amerigirl

Listen to Chapman talking about politics in the department when he was the one who fired his democratic opponent. That’s the real power grab. Let him be sheriff and have a police force too.

RandomName2019

amerigirl, it's disingenuous to pretend that changing the structure from an elected position to an appointed position will do anything to remove politics from the equation. All it really does is push things down a level and make it harder for the public to assert influence over the appointed police chief.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--the public can assert influence through their elected representatives who sit on the Board of Supervisors (BOS). Under the scenario of an active police force, the BOS would approve the operating budget of the police department and could provide influence that way. The election of a Constitutional Officer, Sheriff in this case, does not really change how the law enforcement function is done.

Chris McHale

Not necessarily true. In the past election Briskman won and we can argue the reason why. But she would likely have still won even if Chapman was doing a great job and people wanted him to stay. So a vote for Sherriff is exactly that, while a vote for BoS considers many other factors such as traffic and land use.

Voltaire

Chris McHale--Actually it is 100% true. What you are talking about is the election of a member of a Board of Supervisors (Briskman). That is not what I am talking about. The individual Supervisor represents the citizens (ALL of them) of their respective districts. How they got elected and the relationship between that in how the County Sheriff got elected is not germane here. The central point, which is a proven fact, is that the Board of Supervisors, as authorized in the Code of Virginia, provides the Office of Sheriff with financial and other resources necessary to do the job as outlined in the Code of Virginia. The public, through their elected representatives, influence that office through the appropriations/budget process.

Federal Farmer

"The election of a Constitutional Officer, Sheriff in this case, does not really change how the law enforcement function is done." Absolutely absurd -- the entire premise of the United States' system of separation of powers between the legislative branch from the executive branch is for this very reason: separating the executive function from the legislative function, in theory, reduces the power of both. In the scenario you propose, BoS is akin to the UK Parliament: it passes laws, provides funding, and through a committee of the whole approach, exercises executive control over the ministerial functions that are subservient to it. Would you argue that the US Congress has similar level of executive control over the DOJ as Parliament has over the Home Office? There are some good reasons to adopt a Parliamentary system, but to suggest that it doesn't change how a government function is performed and the level of independence that function has from the legislative branch is demonstrably false.

In the status quo, the BoS only has the blunt instrument of power of the purse to try to exert pressure on a legally independent, co-equal constitutional officer (and the Sheriff is not completely dependent on them for funding as the General Assembly provides a separate stream of funds). Conversely, the BoS can exert much more operational control over entities that are within the county government.

Further, the notion that moving law enforcement underneath the BoS doesn't reduce the public's control of law enforcement in the county b/c the public still elects the BoS is equally unsound. BoS is accountable to the public for a whole host of issues, requiring voters to weigh and prioritize what issues are most important. Conversely, the Sheriff is account to the public for precisely one thing: their performance as the county's chief law enforcement officer.

amerigirl

Chris, it shouldn't have to be a vote. It shouldn't be a political position especially when the deputies that work for him can be fired for having a different political view and he can claim that for that reason he does not have faith in them.This has already happened with Chapman.

RandomName2019

Voltaire, I would disagree. It's easier to remove one person than it is to elect 9 that all agree that someone should be removed. One simply has to look at LCPS and the superintendent to see how performance is maintained by an elected body.

amerigirl

Random, there will be an oversight committee they have to aswer to not just the board.

RandomName2019

It's more a matter of degree. Each voter can only influence their elected BOS member, who must then convince (or be convinced by their constituents) another BOS member that they should also remove an appointed police chief. This dilutes the power of an individual voter when the entirety of the County can have a direct vote through the current method.

amerigirl

Random, but that position should not be political at all. It should be a position that is about the safety of the people of Loudoun. It needs to be independent of either political party so that it works for all of Loudoun no matter which party is in. The people voting really do not have access to the information to make a fair assessment of who should be doing the job. Having someone not be elected means that if they mess up, they would have to be held responsible for that action. If elected they can do what ever they want for 4 years without worries. You would have a greater amount f people to choose from because they would not have to be a resident when they apply. If they decided the best person was from Alaska, they could hire them.

amerigirl

Not so, they work independently. What influence do you think the public has now? The sheriff enforces the laws handed down to him form the lawmakers not the public

amerigirl

The general public doesn't think twice about the police until they need them or they are pulled over. A police dept would have a commission to answer to that would track their stats. Right now we only get to hear what Chapman wants us to hear.

chrisnich

It's dangerous to form a whole policy against a single person, which is what Phyllis is doing and it sounds like you are advocating. If you don't like Sheriff Chapman, then run against him or support an opponent. But to let politicos form a police department so it "doesn't get political" is absurd.

ace10

It truly is absurd.

The Sheriff's Office does a respectable job service this county. The BoS wants to waste taxpayer dollars on a redundant bureaucracy in their pursuit of Loudoun becoming a sanctuary jurisdiction. That the Sheriff happens to be an elected Republican is merely icing on the cake for them.

This is about immigration. Please don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

The LAST two things the BoS cares about is taxpayer's money and taxpayer's safety.

amerigirl

How would it be about immigration? The BOS still sets the standards and establishes the laws for the county and the sheriff enforces them. If the BS says not to cal ICE then they can't call ICE. If they give the terms on which they can be called then the sheriff abides by their decision.Since when did you start caring about taxpayers money when you have never complained about how trump is going through it like it is his own?.

amerigirl

It is not about a single person; it is about the structure of the law enforcement dept. Law enforcement should not have a bias especially when that bias gets them the job. No one should run against him because it should not be a position that is controlled by a political party. It is political as it is right now. Didn’t Chapman fire one of his decorated deputies because of their support for a person running against him? Yes. If he doesn’t let anyone he thinks might oppose him get the status and training to oppose him it becomes an autocracy. All he has to say is that the other persons views opposing him makes him lose trust in that person and they are gone.

Voltaire

Federal Farmer—OK, so tell me, how does the election of a new County Sheriff stop the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) from enforcing the law? The answer, as I have stated, is that it does nothing to change the assigned mission and function of the Sheriff’s Office. The LCSO continues to enforce the criminal laws of the Commonwealth, no matter who occupies the top job as Sheriff. So, no, my statement is valid. With regards to the U.S. Department of Justice, I would argue that Congress has a legitimate role in both oversight and providing appropriations for the operations of the Department. However, the Attorney General, a political appointee nominated by the President and approved by the U.S. Senate, is the Head of Department for the DOJ and is responsible for executive control. Unlike the Home Secretary, the Attorney General is not part of Congress. Congress, for example, does not directly direct the DOJ to prosecute cases or conduct investigations. The Congress requests that through the Attorney General. Concerning Loudoun County, the Board of Supervisors (BOS), per the Code of Virginia, doesn’t have the ability to direct the Sheriff on how to do his/her job as that is an independent Constitutional Officer. As previously stated, it does not impact the ability of the LCSO to perform its mandated mission of law enforcement. Since the Sheriff, as identified in the Code of Virginia, is independent and operates in accordance with his duties, you would still have “separation of powers”. However, it should be noted that there is case precedent that states that the concept of “separation of powers” doesn’t really apply to local governments versus the Federal/State models.

As to funding the Sheriff’s Office, the BOS, per Code of Virginia, is responsible for providing funding for the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Yes, the General Assembly provides funding both direct funding and funding through the Compensation Fund, for salaries of the Sheriff and those of the deputies and retirement benefits. The notion of moving law enforcement to a county police department is not an unreasonable approach. This county, from approximately 1980 to today, has seen dramatic growth in both development and population. It is a question of police resource allocation. Pre 1980, this county was a mainly rural county and a lot smaller population base. It made sense to use a rural policing approach which was to have a Sheriff’s Office responsible for all policing. However, this county, through development and increasing population, has outgrown its “rural” heritage and has become a mixed county with both rural and high density portions. To have one law enforcement organization manage patrol duties, criminal investigation, court security, management of the jail, with a fixed number of resources is unreasonable. The idea that the Sheriff is going to “magically disappear” because there would be a Police Chief/Commissioner is absurd. That office’s scope would be reduced to court security, jail management, and process servers but that Constitutional Office would still exist and people would still be able to vote for that position. The Police Chief/Commissioner would report to the County Administrator, no different than the Fire Chief. As to the question of accountability, the BOS is the legislative branch in the County Government and the Supervisors ARE the official representatives of the people in their respective districts. It does NOT matter what issues they ran for election on. After election and swearing in, they REPRESENT the people in all matters, including decisions on funding the Sheriff’s Office and other Constitutional Officers (Commissioner of Revenue, Treasurer, Clerk of Circuit Court, and Commonwealth’s Attorney).

Now, let’s talk about the issue of governance in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK uses a Westminster model of the parliamentary system. This system includes the following: (1) an executive branch that is made up of members of the legislature, and that is responsible to the legislature; (2) the presence of parliamentary opposition parties; (3) a ceremonial head of state who is different from the head of government. Most of the procedures of the Westminster system originated with the conventions, practices, and precedents of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which form a part of what is known as the Constitution of the United Kingdom. Unlike here in the US, the heads of Government Departments are members of the Parliament and are accountable to the Prime Minister. Under the Westminster System, members of the cabinet are Ministers of the Crown who are collectively responsible for all government policy. All ministers, whether senior and in the cabinet or junior ministers, must publicly support the policy of the government, regardless of any private reservations. Unlike UK Cabinet Ministers, the U.S. Cabinet members do not serve to influence legislative policy to the degree found in a Westminster system; however, each member wields significant influence in matters relating to their executive department. It should also be further noted, that the UK’s Westminster system also uses a fusion of powers approach which is a a feature of Westminster system, where the executive and legislative branches of government are intermingled.

The Bottom Line is that it is not a correct comparison to use the UK model to compare with a U.S. model as they are two different types of systems (parliamentary vs. presidential). A more fairer comparison would have been between the U.S. and Continental Europe (France, for example) that has a presidential (actually semi-presidential) system.

Federal Farmer

Voltaire-- your argument fails on the merits. This veritable word salad full of irrelevant details does not save it nor does it make you seem intelligent.

Take, for instance, your extensive copy and paste job of an online encyclopedia about United Kingdom's government. Despite quoting a number of (irrelevant and undisputed) facts, you clearly do not know how to apply the information you read to concepts and theory. Let me help you. You correctly note that the fusion of executive and legislative power, which is a fundamental characteristic of the UK parliamentary system, reduces the independence of the executive agencies from the legislative branch. That is exactly the point: By making the primary law enforcement agency in the county a police department that is a subservient entity of the county government (analogous in concept to how the UK Home Office is a subservient entity to Parliament), the law enforcement agency will have less independence from the BoS than in the current model. BoS will be able to directly set the policy and priorities of the law enforcement agency (like Parliament can in the UK), rather than having to rely upon the comparatively weaker power of trying to influence the Sheriff to adopt a given policy through providing or withholding additional local funding.

The rest of your arguments are equally flawed, but since I do not believe you are arguing in good faith (either you are hopelessly ignorant of the key concepts, or you are a shill just trying to waste people's valuable time through endless and pointless argumentation), I shall bid you adieu with quiet confidence that no one on this platform is persuaded by your specious arguments.

Voltaire

Federal Farmer—OK. Who precisely made you the “authority” on comparative political theory? Nobody. So, you can leave your holier than thou attitude at the door. The U.S. system of Government is a presidential system, not a parliamentary system. There is NO fusion of power in the Federal Government. As I stated previously, the U.S. Cabinet are not members of the legislative branch and they are responsible for the management of their respective departments. In the UK, the Cabinet Ministers are also Members of Parliament and they are accountable to the Prime Minister, as Head of Government. In Virginia, the Code of Virginia, not the Board of Supervisors (BOS) outlines the duties of the Sheriff. The Board of Supervisors has ZERO influence over the Code of Virginia and they have NO influence over the County Sheriff, except providing funding for the operation of that office. If, as proposed, this county moves to a two agency law enforcement organization, the function of law enforcement does NOT change. The County Police Department will still enforce the laws of the Commonwealth. That is basic fact. The Police Chief, similar to the Fire Chief, will report to the County Administrator. Looking at the UK, do the policies of Parliament change the basic duties of a Police Constable? No. Do the various Constabularies and Police Services (for metropolitan areas) stop enforcing the law because Parliament or the Home Office changes policies? No, that is a false argument.

Concerning the last paragraph, I frankly give a toss about “your quiet confidence”. Get stuffed.

Voltaire

RandomName2019—No, actually it is not. The Sheriff is a Constitutional Officer and the only way to remove the individual while in office is through the use of the recall process. That process, as identified in § 24.2-233. Removal of elected and certain appointed officers by courts of the Code of Virginia is quite labor and time intensive. If, in the case of a police chief, there is justification for removal, that would only require the decision of the County Administrator who is responsible for overseeing the police department. It is no different than the current process that the County of Loudoun uses for the Fire Chief. The County Administrator is an appointed position similar to that of the County Attorney. You cannot compare the management of the Police Chief or Fire Chief with that of the School Superintendent. The management of the School Superintendent is different because, pursuant to § 22.1-60. Appointment and term of superintendent; certain contractual matters, the appointment of this individual is the responsibility of the Loudoun County Public School Board.

RandomName2019

This message board is awful, because everything appears out of order. I'm familiar with the code regarding removal of elected officials. My point is that we have a much more direct method of removing someone from the Sheriff than we do having 9 BOS members attempt to do it. Even in cases of gross negligence and incompetence (again, see LCPS) high level administrators are not removed.

Voltaire

RandomName--Actually, I think both the Police Chief and the Sheriff, in terms of removal, would be similar. To remove a Sheriff from office, you would have to use the recall procedures outlined in the Code of Virginia. That involves getting the Circuit Court of Loudoun County involved as a sitting judge would have to agree that the petition is valid and that probably involves at least one hearing. The Police Chief, if he/she was not performing according to standards would be fired/removed by the County Administrator who is his/her direct supervisor. I am sure that the Board of Supervisors would have some input but you don't need all 9 members of the BOS to agree with that decision, probably simply majority (5). High level administrators are not removed in LCPS because that required the School Board to do something, and they would rather pass as that involves leadership and decisionmaking and that is too taxing...

amerigirl

It is almost impossible to get rid of a sheriff. A sheriff may be removed from office for malfeasance by being charged with a felony, or a crime of theft. It would have to be proven that the sheriff did something that was intentional. With a chief of police they can be fired for not doing their job. It would have to go through the commission and recommended to the Board for a vote.

WesternSky

Power grab. One more step to increase our taxes and make the county less safe.

BobOhneiserEsq

Will the structure analysis be openly bid? If so why hasn't that been part of the announcement? :-)

ace10

Seriously.

I hope that Loudoun's taxpayers aren't going to overpay consultants for work which will be tailor-made for the desired outcome the BoS wish to see.

Voltaire

Bob--really? According to procurement law/rules (Federal/State/Local), this study would be procured using full and open competitive process unless there was a valid exception. Why would there be a discussion about the acquisition strategy when the matter hasn't been decided? Typically, procurement announcements are made once the overall project strategy has been approved, which in this case it has not yet been determined so.

LetSanityPrevail

A study is welcome, but I would suggest that it should be outside the structure of the county government and the staff of the county. We have lots of talented citizens here in Loudoun. Why not have a citizens committee look at this issue. To remove political bias, or at least to balance it out how about the members be selected by the Democrat and Republican parties of Loudoun in equal numbers and see if we can really get a apolitical recommendation.

RandomName2019

A government reform commission (filled by members of the public) actually studied this about ten years ago and did not recommend any significant changes to our structures, so I would be extremely surprised if a new one found something different.

I kind of like the divisions we have with the elected officials. The current structure keeps the BOS and county administration from manipulating assessments to fit the tax rate they want because it's not under their control or authority.

westernloudounguy

We're pretty different now than we were 10 years ago (actually, I think it was about 8 years ago). But, if I recall correctly, the reform commission- which was initiated by a new, mostly republican BOS that thought they could find a lot of waste and duplication (and which found almost nothing that needed changing in the entire County)- was lobbied pretty heavily by the sheriff (I believe it was Sheriff Chapman by then) not to recommend any changes to his office.

Voltaire

Westernloudounguy--the problem with that study was the date that it was performed. The study was done 10 years ago. Loudoun County, particularly the Eastern end, has grown significantly in population density and growth in 10 years and therefore it would make sense to revisit this topic. Most counties in the Commonwealth of Virginia with this amount of population and size, for example Chesterfield County in Central Virginia, have gone from a Sheriff's Office only model to a dual model with a Police Department and a Sheriff's Office.

RandomName2019

The county has changed significantly in size in the last ten years, but I fail to see how that changes what I believe are important checks and balances for our board (who sets tax rates) and those who value and tax those items. Contrary to what most people think, Loudoun's government is pretty lean. LCPS is not.

Voltaire

Randomname2019—it isn’t a question of checks and balances. It is a question of the effective use of law enforcement resources. Under the current configuration, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for community policing, management of the jail, court security, and process servers. All of that is being done by one law enforcement agency. That approach worked great, pre 1980 when Loudoun County was a rural county with a low population density and low growth. However, since then, the population has skyrocketed, mainly in Eastern Loudoun and the manpower at the Sheriff’s Office has remained constant. As population increases, the amount of service calls also increase. So, with a constant manpower at the Sheriff’s Office and increases in calls, that strains the agency’s resources and will impact its ability to perform all of these tasks. If, Loudoun County, as other counties with similar composition, such as Chesterfield County in Central Virginia, takes a two agency law enforcement approach then the police department will take over responding to service calls and the Sheriff’s Office will be able to keep manpower where it is and do its function in court security, management of jail, and process server. It has worked extremely well in other counties who have transitioned from a rural county to a mixed-use county. I don’t believe that anyone is talking about the checks and balances concerning tax assessment (Commissioner of Revenue) and the Board of Supervisors.

RandomName2019

Voltaire, I am not convinced regarding police that one is effectively better than the other, simply because I don't believe politics will ever be removed from the equation. I tend to take a long view approach and would prefer that power be closer to the people because there's no telling who might take control of the board at any point. Regardless, the discussion about the police force has now involved a larger discussion about our entire form of government. Leternau seems pretty eager to centralize all financial decisions and control under a single individual who answers to the board. I think that does a disservice to the citizens of the county (and from a private sector financial approach it definitely removes checks and balances).

Voltaire

RandomName2019—I can understand and appreciate your viewpoint concerning having power closer to the people. However, it is simply not effective use of police resources to try to manage a mixed-use county with a rural policing approach. Criminal activity always follows development and population density increases and that will tax the resources of the Sheriff’s Office. That does and will impact resource allocation and response times to service calls. It will do the same thing to the County’s Fire/EMS services too. As to the issue concerning the other Constitutional Officers, there, I totally agree with you that those functions should remain as they are. The one change that I think would help in this would be the requirement to have a political affiliation with each Constitutional Officer. I think, for example, the administrative Constitutional Officers (Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, Clerk of Circuit Court), the skill set of the individual candidate, not Political Party, should be the key decision for voters in selecting these posts. As for Commonwealth’s Attorney, one’s legal education/experience should be key, again not political affiliation. Finally, law enforcement experience/skills should control who gets elected as Sheriff.

jke

Another in a long line of chicken bleep from Randall and the BoS. This is totally unnecessary and inly benefits the democrats who will slant the results of any bogus study!

amerigirl

This has more to do with the size of the county than you seem to think.

marv

It has nothing to do with the size of the population. but is an attempted power grab by over eager politicians who want to control everything.. "IF it Aint broke don't fix it" (the size of the county has always stayed the same)

Voltaire

Marv--actually, it does have a lot to do with the growth of the county and the increase in population. The last statement is partially false. If you are talking from a geographic/geological perspective, then that may be correct. However, from an economic growth and population density perspective, the county has significantly grown, particularly in the Eastern end of the county from about 1980 to present. That is an enormous amount of population growth.

amerigirl

Marv, the BOS still makes the laws that the sheriff has to enforce, what power is she grabbing? Even with a police dept what power would they have other than hiring and firing? Police departments are run independently. It should not be a political position. What if Chapman decides to go to another area? It's not like a city or county won't ever look at his record when looking for a police chief. Then we again limit ourselves to someone who lives in Loudoun instead of picking the person who would do the best job regardless of where they live. Don’t limit yourself to thinking that the actually borders of the county is the only growth. When people say Loudoun is growing, I would hope that you would understand what that means.

Voltaire

RHG--Actually, you are dead wrong. Can you PROVE that? No. The last time that I checked this morning I am a HUMAN being. Further, there is nothing wrong with having a contrarian viewpoint or a different perspective.

Voltaire

RHG--BTW, if you are going to make factually inaccurate and snide comments, let's check the sentence structure before posting. Your second sentence is incorrect. It should be "You are" not "your". The correct sentence structure is "You are 100% correct." Da?

RandomName2019

The short-sighted nature of this is that it doesn't help anyone, because control shifts periodically.

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