Veteran law enforcement officer Chris Harmison announced Wednesday he is running for Loudoun County sheriff.
Harmison will seek the Democratic nomination over Army intel officer Justin Hannah. Harmison and Hannah hope to unseat incumbent Mike Chapman (R), who is seeking his third term as Loudoun's chief law enforcement officer.
“We need a sheriff who is committed to fair and unbiased policing for all people,” Harmison said in a prepared statement. “My campaign is about transparency, direct community involvement, and improving communications at all levels.”
Harmison's priorities include improving interactions and relationships with governmental and non-governmental partners, establishing Citizen Advisory Committees in each of the four Loudoun County Sheriff's Office substations in the county and a commitment to openness and diversity in the operations and hiring for the agency.
The Democrat who once worked closely with Chapman has claimed that the sheriff is retaliatory and vindictive by nature and that morale is low at the LCSO.
A native Virginian, Harmison in a statement said he began his career in law enforcement at the age of 21 as a full-time police officer for Fairfax County. He held various positions in Fairfax and eventually landed as the chief deputy of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, a position to which he was appointed by Chapman.
Harmison lives in Leesburg with his wife Monica and their two children.
Announcing his campaign in front of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office headquarters in Leesburg, Harmison said he believes he is the person for the job because he has spent his entire career in law enforcement.
“It’s that kind of law enforcement experience that the voters are looking for," he said.
Harmison ran for sheriff as an independent in 2003, falling in a six-way race to Republican Steve Simpson, who claimed 46.5 percent of the vote.
Chapman won his first term in 2011 over Simpson with 54.2 percent of the vote. He then claimed his second term with 60.8 percent of the vote in 2015.