Loudoun County 2019 General Election | Media Session School Board, Board of Supervisors

About a dozen local winners in the Nov. 5 election attended a press conference at the Loudoun County Government Center on Nov. 6. Those in attendance included upcoming members of the Board of Supervisors and School Board.

A county police department is on the wish-list for the newly re-elected Loudoun County chairwoman.

Democrat Phyllis Randall, re-elected chair of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, floated the idea during a joint media session with incoming supervisors and members of the School Board.

If Randall can convince the new board -- now dominated by members of her own political party -- to move forward with a police department, the final decision would be made by county voters through a referendum. 

“I just simply don’t believe that law enforcement should be political,” Randall said. “I indicated this over the last four years, and it really did not matter who won [the sheriff's] race—I would do that no matter what."

Concerned with deputies' job security -- previous Loudoun deputies have been fired for supporting Sheriff Mike Chapman's political rivals -- and the sheriff’s office's transparency, Randall said it’s time to begin the process of forming a county police department that operates under county administration.

Randall said deputies' jobs shouldn't be at risk depending on their politics and whom they support during elections.

“A sheriff of the county is not 'answer loyal' to anyone except every four years to the citizens. But even then the sheriff can tell the citizens what he wants to tell the citizens—so the citizens only know what the sheriff chooses to tell them. There may be other things that they don’t know,” Randall said.

Fairfax County is an example of a locality that has both a sheriff’s office and a county police department. The police department essentially handles all the law enforcement tasks of a sheriff’s office except for oversight of the county courthouse and jail.

Wednesday morning's media session came after an election that will bring seven new faces to the county School Board and four to the Board of Supervisors starting in January.

Looking ahead to the Board of Supervisors’ goals in the next four years, Randall said she hopes to strengthen the relationship between Loudoun's seven incorporated towns and with the School Board.

Randall said the board will have a “full agenda,” noting the once-a-decade redistricting, expanding school resource officers in elementary schools and amending the county zoning ordinance.

There’s also consensus to revisit firearm regulations and boundaries and supporting state and federal issues, including a statement in support of the federal Equal Rights Amendment.

“I know there are federal issues and state issues, but I am of the belief that almost every federal issue and state issue can impact local politics,” Randall said.

Among the new supervisors will be Democrat Juli Briskman, who is best known for flipping off President Donald Trump’s motorcade while he left his Sterling golf club in 2017. Briskman will replace Republican Supervisor Suzanne Volpe, who was ousted after two terms.

On hand for the news conference, Briskman said she plans to support full funding for the county's schools and finding intelligent ways to develop in Loudoun.

As for her anti-Trump expression two years ago, Briskman said Tuesday’s results were a sign of support from her constituents.

“Yesterday and last night the Algonkian District backed me up on that, and all of Loudoun County actually rejected soundly the Trump agenda ... ,” Briskman said.

Supervisor Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles), who said he would like to continue serving on the board’s finance committee, is one of three Republican supervisors who will sit on the board come January. The outgoing board is made up of six Republicans and three Democrats. The Dulles supervisor will be joined by GOP supervisors Tony Buffington (Blue Ridge), entering his second term, and newcomer Caleb Kershner (Catoctin), who replaced Geary Higgins.

Letourneau, who was first elected in 2011, said Wednesday he's not concerned about the shift in political party control. He said he believes his new colleagues ran for the board to improve the county.

“ ... when you are sitting in a six-hour meeting and dealing with a zoning ordinance, all of those big and national partisan issues that people fight about is the furthest thing from your mind, and I’m very confident the folks that ran for those reasons want to improve the community ... ,” Letourneau said.

Looking ahead, Randall said she was proud to see the diversity in culture, experience and age of both boards, including an increase in women representatives.

In 2015, Sterling Supervisor Koran Saines (D) and Randall were the first two black Loudouners to be elected to the Board of Supervisors. Democrat Sylvia Glass, who was elected Tuesday to represent the Broad Run District on the Board of Supervisors, will serve as the third.

Glass said with Loudoun's demographic changes in the past 20 years it’s important to have diverse representation in elected offices.

"I’m a special education teacher, and so having children see there are people of color on the board that are concerned about the community and want to help, I think that’s a great thing,” Glass said.

Randall added, “This is an incredibly diverse body, both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors—very diverse bodies. I think that’s important because I think that the bodies that serve should reflect the county we serve ... "

(30) comments

ryanfromva

This is a horrible idea. The Sheriff is accountable to the voters and the Sheriff election has exactly one issue, the performance and accountability of the police department. If we have a police chief, they are accountable only to the BOS. The BOS is accountable to the voters, but when we elect our BOS we consider lots of unrelated issues. If I agree with Randall on 8 out of 10 issues and one of those I disagree on is the police, things have to be running really poorly for me to vote for her opponent with whom I only agree with for 2 out of 10 issues. I would much rather vote directly for the Sheriff.

Segeny

Randall seems to have in mind a move to make Loudoun County a "sanctuary county", something with which our Sheriff is NOT in accord. However, a 'chief' - who would be selected by the "diversity queen" - most likely WOULD be. Her alleged concern for our deputies is a transparent cover for her REAL agenda - "sanctuary" for criminal illegal aliens.

Segeny

Randall seems to have in mind a move to make Loudoun County a "sanctuary county", something with which our Sheriff is NOT in accord. However, a 'chief' - who would be selected by the "diversity queen" most likely WOULD be. Her alleged concern for our deputies is a transparent cover for her REAL agenda - "sanctuary" for criminal illegal aliens.

amerigirl

There is a big stretch between not approving of some of the tactics that ICE uses and becoming a sanctuary county. Where did you come up with your info that you are passing on as fact?

LeesburgD

Amerigirl, a handful of jurisdictions, such as King Co., WA and Dade Co., FL, have appointed Sheriffs. When you say that most Sheriffs answer to a Mayor, I think you are confusing a Police Chief for a Sheriff. The vast majority of jurisdictions, over 3,100, elect their Sheriffs. I prefer an elected Sheriff, but would support an appointed one if it means I don't have to pay for both a Sheriff's Office and a County Police Department. Where is Loudoun County going to get the money to pay for yet another bureaucracy? Let me guess … I'll be paying for it.

amerigirl

As I said, I wasn't really sure how that worked, thanks for the info. Maybe I've been watching too much Blue Bloods.

amerigirl

If you think Loudoun had a big flip, you should check out Prince William. Hope the door smacks Cory Stewart in the butt on the way out.

PvilleIndependent

Just what we need. A police force run by the BOS, not bound by a constitutional oath, like the Sheriff and Deputies. She doesn't like the Sheriff because she can't control the Sheriff.

amerigirl

The BOS takes an oath when sworn in. Unfortunately no one controls the sheriff which is why it should not be a partisan position. Most places the chief or sheriff answers to the mayor or BOS. There should be accountability in case the position gets someone corrupt.

RandomName2019

I think you can have accountability both ways. Don't think for a moment that an appointed police chief can't be just as partisan as a Sheriff. It's really a question about efficiencies and effectiveness.

Chris McHale

The BOS takes an oath as well but we know that's worthless.

amerigirl

Random, true. I really don't see a fail proof answer especially for a department that can wield so much power.

Grant4Sterling

I agree! A County Police Department would still be political as the Chief of Police is appointed by....the Board of Supervisors so every 4 years we could have the same thing!

amerigirl

I could be very wrong about this but, I think that even though a police chief can be fired by a higher up that their work is usually independent of the BOS or mayor. It makes it harder to sue an entire city or county for something goes wrong in the law enforcement area. I know that the set up can differ from area to area.

Virginia SGP

What do you mean? How is an employee (county administrator, sheriff, county attorney, etc) "independent" of their boss, the BOS?

And how does it make it harder to sue? An official capacity claim against a sheriff is the same as an official capacity claim against a county.

Are you guessing or did a confused attorney tell you this?

amerigirl

Virginia SGP, my aren't we getting nasty? Please reread the first line of my post.

RoundHillGuy

first step in the power grab to becoming a sanctuary County just like Montgomery where they choose the laws they enforce and do not enforce. Run!

Chris McHale

Not sure if you saw but Montgomery County reversed some of its position after a 2 month crash of rape arrests by illegal immigrants. They realised the dangers they were releasing back into the county.

Locojrt

I don't care what country you are from, the operative word is "ILLEGAL"!! We don't even do a decent job taking care of our own, I'm sorry if I sound heartless but enough is enough. Illegals are sucking the system dry and they may not speak English but someone is definitely educating them on how to maximize it. Haven't other countries enforced limits? I'm a senior on SS working part-time and I don't eat as well as some I'm in line behind with the government issued cards.

amerigirl

locojrt, if you are behind them in line and they are using SNAP government cards then they are not illegal. They have to prove their status to be eligible.

amerigirl

Wow the conspiracy theories and scare tactics have already started. That was half the reason the republicans lost so badly. People are tired of lies and scare tactics. It was always do as I say or the world will end. They are also tired of the republican power grabs, like how they try to suppress voters with gerrymandering. Maybe you should listen to Letourneau, one of the republicans left on the BOS.

amerigirl

where are you getting your info or is this just another theory?

Chris McHale

Let me start by saying I agree it should be a police department and not an elected sherriff that can't be removed during a 4-year period.

With that said, Randall's response that the Sheriff can simply tell the voters what they want to win is ironic. Than there's the fact that Dr. William's still has a job makes my think the threat of termination for poor performance is not as powerful as Randall presents.

Since both Boards are now diverse I hope thet can improve Loudoun because if Loudoun improved I benefit. If they are both failures as was the outgoing Boards, so much for change.

Virginia SGP

Chris, let's be clear. The LCPS schools are run for the adults, not kids. This summer, the middle school principal with the worst math growth scores was promoted to a high school principal. He was my kids'dentist principal and a very nice guy. The problem was likely because he was unwilling to replace teachers who were ineffective. He essentially put more importance on not offending LCPS employees than providing a good base for students' future success. This is immoral and would never happen if the growth scores of each school were published and parents had a choice.

We have new SB members and BOS members. Will they prioritize students and citizens over bureaucrats? We should not be hopeful given their (very sparse) platforms.

Virginia SGP

So let's talk about diversity.

1. In LoCo, about 20%+ of the residents are now Asian or Indian. No BOS members have that background and only 1 SB member out of 9. Is that "diverse"?

2. In LoCo, about 8% of the residents are black. 3 of the BOS members are black or 4x as their proportion of the population. I guess if you are from a preferred group of Randall's it does matter how overrepreaented you are.

3. A significant chunk of LoCo are Hispanic yet no BOS member or SB member is Hispanic. Randall doesn't seem interested in that.

Once again, Randall wants her highly partisan political agenda and her friends on these bodies. She is anything but honest or rational.

fbiwatchingyou

watch out ....

ReasonableVoice

As an Indian-American we had a couple of great candidates Kannan Srinivsan for Treasurer, and Sree R. Nagireddi for the Dulles Seat. Sadly against common sense they were not elected to positions. I expect to see many people in my community represent Loudoun in years to come. Yes communities are over-represented in politics for example in PwC we had an all white county board in a county that is majority-minority, that of course changed on Tuesday.

RandomName2019

Kannan was a fantastic candidate, but he also had a really strong opponent in Roger Zurn. Democrats would do best focusing on policy making positions and saving their money running candidates against Zurn or Wertz. Maybe Zurn or Wertz will retire after this term and Kannan can run again.

Chris McHale

Reasonablevoice - Why was it against commonsense?

DavisB

Such a racist position - we will never see you advocating for limiting white male involvement in gov't to some quota - why is it OK for you to make a demand to limit any other group?

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