More than 100 supporters of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office passed through to the Loudoun County Government Center grounds in Leesburg Tuesday night to show their support for keeping the sheriff’s office intact as is.

The rally came after calls by leading Democratic elected officials to establish a county police department.

Organizers against the police department shift gathered outside the government center for remarks and went inside the facility carrying “Police Lives Matter” flags and apparel and “Support the LCSO” signs.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) has voiced support for implementing a county police department out of concern for deputies’ job security and the office’s transparency. She also believes the fast-growing county would be better served by police chief who reports to the county administrator. 

Loudoun County is the only Virginia county in the D.C. region without a police department.

“This is a solution that is looking for a problem,” conservative Republican Geary Higgins, a former county supervisor, said at Tuesday’s business meeting.

He said Loudoun doesn't need to play politics with residents' safety and law enforcement.

A county police department would dramatically reduce the reach and scope of the county sheriff’s office, though it would not completely eliminate it. 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.

The decision of whether to start a county police department would ultimately be up to Loudoun voters, as the department would have to be approved via referendum. But the Board of Supervisors would first have to vote in favor of placing a referendum on the ballot.

Any changes as far as implementation of a police department would not take effect until 2024.

Republican Dick Black, a former state senator and ally of Sheriff Mike Chapman (R), said the board’s consideration to establish a police department is an effort against the voters’ wishes. He said the voters are “keenly aware” of the qualifications for sheriff.

“They know that the person they elect will defend their homes and businesses against criminal elements, and it has never been more important for voters to decide for themselves who will be their top law enforcement official,” Black said. “If they find they've made a mistake, they can always elect a new sheriff. But once they create a police department, the voters will forever lose all control over law enforcement.”

In the past week, the debate has broadened to more generally consider the county's form of government and associated costs with any transition, not simply the police department-sheriff's office debate.

Sheriff Chapman has fervently opposed the idea, touting the success of the sheriff’s office in the process. Last week, 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, though those figure were compiled by the LCSO and have been called into question by Randall.

Chapman says a police department would waste millions of dollars in subsequent maintenance and personnel costs and divide a “unified” and “highly successful” organization.

David Hunt, a former law enforcement officer, said he consults with jurisdictions across the country. He said the sheriff’s office in Loudoun is an excellent system and that having a police chief provides no added value.

"What benefits do you seek that a police department will bring to the citizens that the sheriff's office does not?” Hunt said. “Evaluating this cost-benefit analysis yields no tangible benefits warranting spending tens of millions of dollars.”

A police department is not required under the commonwealth-designated “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 distinction in the non-traditional forms of government is that two constitutional officers, treasurer and commissioner of revenue, are not required. In Loudoun, those offices are currently held by Roger Zurn (R) and Robert Wertz (R), respectively.

_____________

Related coverage:

-"Questions and answers about a potential Loudoun police department"

(69) comments

Comment deleted.
Jeanne T

"It Look like what it was a gathering a conservative white people backing a Republican."

OMG!! OMG!!

ace10

The incredibly (!!!) racist (anti-white) post immediately following this one, is a word-for-word copy of one that was deleted by LTM (from another registered commenter) yesterday.

THAT is certainly an interesting development.

Voltaire

Ace10--you are spot on right. I am surprised that the LTM moderator hasn't deleted that comment like he/she did with the original post.

ace10

The question is....

Are the two accounts the same person... one who posts nonsense hundreds of times per day and the other posts violent and inflammatory rhetoric?

OR

Did LTM shuffle the deck with the comments and put a vile, racist post under a different user account?

If it was the latter, and it was my name being associated with such filth, I'd be banging on the front door of LTM demanding a immediate fix AND a public apology.

SO let's hear it... LTM Editor... what's going on here?

amerigirl

As far as I now you can only have 1 account. How is it vile? how is it racist? Or were you just offended that it was pointed out? Look you have no right to talk about filth when some of the things you have said should never have been said in public. I'm glad you cleaned up your act, but I'm pretty sure you were forced to do that. But with all name calling an derogatory remarks you have made you have no right to throw stones.

Now are you starting some conspiracy theory that LTM is up to something? You are good at those. So lets hear it.

amerigirl

It should look like that one, I cut and pasted it. It isn't really my opinion but why was that cut? Look at the pic, who is there? (!!!) Just because people don't want to admit that others may have a point of view that could be valid doesn't mean they should censor that person. If anything explain why it is not the situation.

Haven't you had plenty of things removed and most of yours were personal attacks on other people posting. If you disagree with him tell him why.

Jeanne T

Were you at the event, amerigirl?

amerigirl

Were you?

Voltaire

AG--the LTM moderator should have pulled down that post if it copied the original post. The LTM Moderator, probably from a complaint, determined that the original post was offensive. So, if the original post is offensive, a copy of the original, with no changes to language, should be construed as offensive and should have been removed.

amerigirl

Some of the post are taken down just from a complaint that are not offensive, that is why I wanted to see if it printed again. The thing is some people just try to remove other peoples posts, and if it is reported enough by those who don't like the person it will get pulled regardless of content. I already reported my own post it disappeared and reappeared, but I bet if someone else does it will disappear because of 2 complaints. To me that is just bullying the person making the comment. So try it, I bet with you also reporting it it will be gone.

amerigirl

Didn't you use the term a vile, race baiting fool recently, and say You're the disgusting racist. how crude and you complain.

Vanguard

I am a retired VA Sheriff and I have been posting on FB about this very topic for a few years now. Virginia and this Nation need more sheriff’s offices and fewer PD’s. For the very example cited in this article & comments. This is one more example of Democrat politicians wanting to remove the power from the people by creating a PD that will answer to the county administrator/BOS. In other words, a bureaucrat chief of police who will answer to a bureaucrat county administrator so you will have 2 bureaucrat leaders who will dance to the tune of the BOS and not the people. This is all about POWER. Don’t allow this to happen to your county as it has been done in way too many VA localities. You reap what you sew and you have seen in the last weeks what politically controlled PD’s do when ordered to stand down by Democrats, while laws/people/property were being destroyed by mobs who the Democrats look to for their vote to keep them in power.

Loudoun Observer

Well said Vanguard!

LoCo Bob

As a retired Sheriff, Your thoughts on the following:

1. Politics and Law Enforcement should never mix.

2. Sheriff's are political by their very nature.

3. Is there even a 1% chance that a Sheriff, any where at any time has ever made L.E. decisions based upon an upcoming election? For example, putting more patrol cars in a more heavily populated area to curry favor with more voters?

LoCo Bob

PS: Do you support Civil Service protections for Deputies or do you agree they can be fired for ANY Reason at any time?

Voltaire

Vanguard--Thank you for your years of service in law enforcement and your excellent comment. Very informative!

InfoOD

Totally agree with Vanguard. The Sheriff is doing a great job. The crime rate is low and the deputies are great. I was pulled over a couple of times over the last few years and find that the deputies are very polite. I'm not white so don't even play the race card with me. If we don't like the Sheriff I know what to do in the next election. We don't need the county admin to take away our right to vote for the person that will enforce the law and uphold the constitution. We do not need higher taxes to create a redundant law enforcement agency. We've seen what happened in all these democrat held cities, politicians bending over for the mob. I for one do not want Loudoun to become a sanctuary county like Fairfax.

ace10

[thumbup]

amerigirl

a little bias there. Doesn't the sheriff also enforce the laws that are written by the BOS? and if they have a county wide policy aren't they suppose to enforce that? So you think a politically controlled sheriff is a better answer?

Voltaire

AG--The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (LCBOS) do not write laws. Laws are written/passed by U.S. Congress and by the Virginia General Assembly. These laws, enacted by legislative bodies, are called “statutes” and are the primary source of laws in the United States. The LCBOS draft/pass rules called ordinances and they are only effective county-wide.

amerigirl

would it help if I called them ordinances? You can still be arrested for violating an ordinance. Yes they can take laws and enhance them within their jurisdiction. Really, I know how the govt works and don't need the summary.

Voltaire

AG--actually, yes, it would have helped as that is the proper legal term for rules passed by County Board of Supervisors in the Commonwealth of Virginia. You wouldn't gotten a civics lesson then either.

Pi-R-Sq

The Dems on the BOS have come up with their version of "Defund the Police". Their agenda is that of LA, New York, Seattle and Chicago. Open borders, free health care for illegals, more crime, less enforcement and higher taxes. They need to be voted out of office so we can protect our safety and our way of life.

Comment deleted.
Jeanne T

"Just because the dems don’t support family separation, a ban on immigrants from several majority Muslim nations, the cancellation of the DACA, or shooting immigrants in the legs (trump wanted to) doesn’t mean they don’t want border security. The myth that Democrats advocate for “open borders” is both the most preposterous."

Hahahahaha!!

tThanks for your opinion, amerigirl. [yawn]

Comment deleted.
David Dickinson

It is sad we still have Democrats that judge people by the color of their skin. I wish that our little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

westernloudounguy

Why no pictures of the half dozen guys in camouflage with AR-15's standing in the courtyard of the County Government center? Also very interesting that very few people were wearing masks and there was absolutely no social distancing. Awesome that the sheriffs office is following the rules and all. Nothing like setting an example.

Reagan warrior

It is so typical for the Loudoun Times to underestimate the crowd size at the rally. What do they think by grossly estimating it low that somehow it reflects on the support

that the Sheriff has.

The Loudoun Times needs to just report the facts.

David Dickinson

They have lowballed estimates to Republican events for years, which is why I purposely counted so the real numbers could be reported.

amerigirl

I bet they didn't have to, it didn't even make any other news.

amerigirl

You're right, they shouldn't have bothered to cover it at all. Just a bunch of hotheads some with guns, out there spewing their mantra on something they really know nothing about. None of the other local news bothered to cover it, a real nothing burger

Capsfan9816

It is terrible to promote this gathering as a Back The Blue event (Sheriff's wear brown, just saying). One hundred people gathered was it because of the back Law Enforcement or because they back LCSO? I hope the citizens back their local first responders and should come out and rally around them every chance they get. But to confuse the two issues is unfair. A Police Department would be much more transparent that the Sheriff Office. Employees would be free to discuss the problems with citizens. Not worrying if they speak against leadership, they would be not be sworn in after the next election. I challenge anyone to request a copy of the LCSO General Orders. You will be told No why because he does not want you to see them. Is that transparency? Fairfax Police Department publishes its GOs on their website. Law Enforcement in Louduon deserves to work in an environment free from reprisal because of politics. A police department is the next step for a truly modern law enforcement agency.

RandomName2019

Transparency is a culture, not a structure, and hiding that culture behind multiple levels of authority is hardly a way to make sure that the culture aligns with what we want to have happen.

RandomName2019

Oh, one more thought on this part: Law Enforcement in Louduon deserves to work in an environment free from reprisal because of politics.

From what I've read, Chapman fired people that were openly endorsing his opponents (and using the county resources to do it). In all my years of working I've never seen a situation where you could openly criticize your boss and advocate for them to be fired or replaced without losing your job. Even if we moved to a police force, I would expect a police officer to be fired for openly criticizing the chief or lobbying that someone else be hired in their place. That's not politics, that's common sense.

IanXDm

Back the Blue!!!

RandomName2019

This is much bigger than just changing to a police force, and that's the important ball to keep your eye on. Changing the form of government gives the board full control over the tax rate, the value of you homes and vehicles, and the priorities that they spend money on. It's 100% full control with almost no oversight or influence.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--Wouldn't the change in government structure simply replace the Constitutional Officers of Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue and put those functions under an appointed Director of Finance who reports to the County Administrator? It seems like that approach would be more efficient and could save money as you wouldn't need two sets of county personnel performing similar activities.

RandomName2019

Volt - It would put all the functions under a director of finance (or some other title) that reports to the County Administrator, who reports to the BOS. I'm not sure what efficiencies you would find because there's little to no overlap in office functions. Again, my bigger issue is one of checks and balances. Right now you have the BOS who sets the tax rate, the County Administrator who develops the budget, the Commissioner who identifies, values, and levies taxes, and the Treasurer who collects money and manages investments. A new arrangement would take all those distributed powers and solidify them under a single individual who works for the BOS. I went back to look at the last government study that was done and the only significant change that was recommended was to move real estate assessments out from under the County admin structure into the Commissioner of Revenue's office so that assessments could be free from the appearance of undue political influence. I'm not comfortable with the idea that assessments could be manipulated to be higher if the BOS wants to have a lower tax rate.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--Thank you very much for the additional information. It was very informative. After reading this additional information, I agree with you that there should be checks and balances in how the county operates its finances.

David Dickinson

I went to the rally and purposed to count the people while I was there. Crowd was actually 250-300 people. Good to see so many people show up to support the Sheriff and reject the Democrat Board's power grab that seeks to steal the vote from the People.

jbsets

I thought you counted them. 250-300 is a range.

amerigirl

How many people are in the county? How many did you count twice?

Jeanne T

Don't be silly.

amerigirl

You think they all held still while he counted them?

Lemmy Motorhead

Randall is an open borders, anti 2nd ammendment leftist, period. Sheriff Chapman is a "law and order" man who doesn't take his marching orders from politicians who have never been a sworn member of any law enforcement agency...

Recently, the Fairfax county FOP had a vote of no confidence in Chief Roessler; 99% of the rank and file said Roessler has worsened morale, and 98% want him to resign immediately. But as we know, their chief only cares about the opinion of the ffx co. BOS, because the voters have zero say in his employment...

The riots and civil unrest nationwide has all occurred in areas with police departments and leftists politicians in charge. Let's not forget the Baltimore riots where mayor Rawlings Blake stated "we need to give protesters space to destroy things." Do we want Randall to allow a riot to take place in Loudoun county?

Randall should have backed Harmison in the democratic primary if she had such a problem with Sheriff Chapman; but alas, Harmison supported continuing to work with ICE...

Randall doesn't seem to get that Loudoun county is not Arlington or Fairfax; not every voter is a soy latte sipping leftist (yet).

jbsets

I hate soy and lattes

LoudounClear

Yawn....another call went out to last month's "Open Up" protesters. Now go protest the threat to our dear GOP sheriff. Love the way I typed in Richard Black's usual first name and the LTM comment censor say "Please remove objectionable content from your comment." Indeed, he is quite objectionable and even the bots know it...

ace10

You're okay with the teachers protesting.

You were fine with protests against a statue, too.

But when it comes to public safety, we have to shut up and be quiet?

ace10

If you don't think the Sheriff is doing a good job, voters may express their dissatisfaction at the next election. It's a good system.

How do you get rid of a bad Chief of Police? YOU DON'T. Because you can't.

The BoS wants to remove this oversight power from the people of Loudoun and consolidate it under them. Exclusively. This is about POWER.

Don't care for the job the school administration is doing? TOUGH. The people of Loudoun have no direct control over that. These days, does that seem like a good idea?

The BoS don't need more power. They actually need less. There's too much group think going on. We should be more focused on limiting their control over our lives, not granting them even greater influence.

LiberateLoudoun

Well said, I couldn't agree more!! The BoS can't order the Sheriff around, ie telling them to stand down in the case of political unrest such as violent protests, riots and destruction of property. A police chief would be under the thumb of the BoS!

jke

The only residents who want Sheriff Chapman gone are criminals and 6 members of the Board if Supervisors. Apparently the rally participants counter was on break we had a person on the Tuscarora side counting people and another on the garage side counting and we came up with 283 people attended and 1 helicopter.

jbsets

Whoa! Criminals? That's going a bit far and very insulting. I voted for this sheriff and I still find that statement offensive. Does everyone assume that anyone left of center are not law abiding citizens who actually care about their neighbors?

Jaws

Fairfax, Prince William went to Police Department back in the early 1920's. Ms Randall is completely delusional in wanting to shift our law enforcement just to match our neighboring counties. This all falls back on the law suit that the Sheriff won that allows him every four years to decide who he/she brings on to the department. Should we move to a more bureaucratic system as the BOS is suggesting we open ourselves to possibly having a George Floyd situation occurring in our county. The officer who killed Floyd had a long record of abuse in his department. When we elect the Sheriff directly that Sheriff has an option to look at officers who may have a temper or are abusing their power. He can simply get rid of that officer without having to work through a long drawn out HR process. Loudoun county is very competitive in getting officers considering there are so many law enforcement agencies surrounding us both locally and Federally. The fact PWC and Fairfax went to the police option previous to most civil rights movements in this country, perhaps other counties should look to us and move back to the Loudoun model that is working well for our citizens. Loudouners are very well informed and we have elected a diverse board of supervisors. I hope that they will begin to think more for us here in the county and less of wanting to follow National politics.

John M

It's not so much about emulating other counties as it is about control. Ms. Randall and the members of her BOS who support this idea with her are just looking for control. They cannot stand the fact that we have an elected Sheriff whom they cannot control, and cannot fire. I'm pretty sure Ms. Randall already has a potential police chief in mind, someone who will do whatever she says. More and more of our choices are being taken away by people who accomplish nothing but want to control everything. We cannot let this happen.

Done with Politics

Why would the new Board of Supervisors, with a shift in political majority from Republicans to Democrats, want as one of their first acts since the election, to change the governance of the LCSO to a police chief vs the citizen- elected sheriff? Obvious. Take away voter's rights. If Loudoun citizens don't approve of the sheriff's management, we can vote him/her out. Keep it up Chairwoman Randall. It'll be you and your politically-myopic and disenfranchising Board colleagues who'll e voted out. voted

SweetShade

The same things that you list as positives can also be negatives. It all depends on the Sheriff. Trained law enforcement professionals shouldn’t have to worry if they’ll get to keep their jobs every time a new Sheriff is elected. If LC does start a new police department, Sheriff’s Department personnel should be the first considered for each position.

RandomName2019

Regardless of whether it's a Sheriff or Police Chief, trained law enforcement officers should not be so ignorant that they openly and publicly call for their boss to be terminated (or unelected) and then be surprised when they're fired. There's not a single employment arrangement (private or public) where that type of behavior would be allowed and it's ludicrous to think that all of these not so bright Deputies would still be employed if we had a police department.

amerigirl

Who called for him to be fired/unelected? Are you saying that he should have the right to determine if someone is allowed to run against him?

jbsets

Definitely a double edged sword. Sheriffs are also politicians who have to spend a certain amount of time politicing (is that how you spell that?) and running for re-election (not the same thing.) There is the danger of the Sheriff sucking up to anyone who contributes to the campaign and those who support him. Police can be influenced by the Board. Both chiefs and the sheriff can do the right or the wrong thing. Don't some areas of the country have both? My nephew is an officer in Ohio and there is also a sheriff's office in the same county. They have distinctly different duties but also back each other up as needed. Not sure about that but seems like an idea....

InfoOD

The police chief will suck up to his boss as well or who ever controls the board. At least we can vote the Sheriff out if he doesn't perform. Fairfax lost their Sheriff and the Chief suck up to the board and it is now a sanctuary city. The police Chief disciplined an officer for calling ICE on a wanted illegal immigrant.

Voltaire

InfoOD--I don't think that Fairfax County has lost their Sheriff's Office. The main police functions have been transferred to the Fairfax County Police Department and the Sheriff's Office has been given jail management, court security, and process service duties.

Capsfan9816

Yes you are right the Sheriff would have the power to fire the employee, but not until it is time to swear that employee in again in January following the election. The Sheriff has signed an agreement with the County every four years stating he will abide by HR rules including disciplinary rules. But every four years deputies must anxiously wait to see if the Sheriff will invite them back. He does not have to have disciplinary reasons. It can be just because the deputy attended the Republican convention and the Sheriff thinks he was voting against him (It happened). Do not confuse Minneapolis PD that has a strongly unionized police department with Loudoun County. There are no unions in Virginia so therefore creating a police department would not change the HR rules that already exist in Loudoun County.

RandomName2019

You know what I've never done? I've never publicly supported someone else to take the place of my current boss. You know why? Because it's shortsighted and a good way to find yourself unemployed. Changing this to a police department doesn't protect police officers from political retribution. If an officer reports to a chief, who reports to the administrator, who reports to the BOS, how comfortable is that person going to be writing a ticket for the administrator or a member of the BOS (or their families)? Where are the checks and balances in that arrangement? Maybe people should dig into why so many high profile names have left the County for extended periods of time before they've stopped finally being paid/employed and then question whether or not they really want law enforcement subsumed into the opaque operations of government.

amerigirl

I guess you aren't looking to advance. It is an elected position which that "boss" knows ends after 4 years and should fully expect other to try for the position. This is not like in the business world where they have earned to position and wil try to get ah higher position, this is elected.

RandomName2019

Amerigirl, I'm not following your train of thought. Wanting to advance in your career doesn't mean that you undermine your boss publicly, because that's a risk to your job. It doesn't matter if your boss is elected, appointed, or in the private industry; if you come out against them your job is at risk.

amerigirl

If you can only advance your career by taking the position of your boss, like the sheriff’s position that doesn’t necessarily mean undermining him either, it is just proving you are better for the job. But if that boss can fire anyone that he thinks would want his position then he becomes the problem. You can’t run for a public office without being public. So no person will have the opportunity to have that job because he has the final say and the people will not know if anyone else is better or not.

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