Phyllis Randall and Mike Chapman

County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D) and Sheriff Mike Chapman (R)

We endorse both the substance and the tenor of Dulles Supervisor Matt Letourneau’s statement

regarding the county sheriff’s office-police department debate. It is the most level-headed and rational take on the sheriff’s office-form of county government debate we’ve seen.

County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall, a Democrat, and Sheriff Mike Chapman, a Republican, don’t particularly care for one another, and that — paired with our current political climate — is going to naturally cloud both their judgment and their choice of words on this “legitimate topic of discussion,” as Supervisor Letourneau (R) called it. Frankly, Randall and Chapman’s already formed biases on the issue are going to make us expressly skeptical of any “factual information” they disclose on this debate.

The takeaway right now is simple: We don’t know enough yet.

Let’s get the full picture — the full and accurate financial costs, the impact on county operations and other constitutional officers and answers to any other questions the public may have. To do those things well — again, as Mr. Letourneau pointed out — we’re going to need time beyond November.

The form of government question is indeed worth examining. County leaders should explore all options at their disposal. And both they and Loudoun residents shouldn’t make up their minds without all the facts or simply because an (R) or a (D) is touting this or that.

(51) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

This is called bubble up management. Whatever bubbles up gets worked on. The BOS should be working on a published list of priorities which their constituents agree are worthy of being prioritized. I don't remember anyone emphasizing during their campaign that if elected they would fix the Sheriff Department or remove the statue yet these seem to be taking up all the oxygen in the room. THAT is what makes all of this POLITICAL and not good management in my opinion. The BOS should feel free to put such adventures on their list but we deserve to see the full list as prioritized or else none of them should run again! How about fixing Route 15 North of Leesburg first? How about lowering the. property tax rate which is 39% higher than the rest of Virginia? How about fixing the assessment system so residents aren't unfairly carrying the county while commercial entities get unjustified exemptions (HHMI) or are severely under-assessed (Greenway)? How about mandating VDOT do its job at least at their minimum published standards? How about making sure the school board efficiently follows the law and takes the best care. of educating our children? How about derailing the high density residential development momentum that is ruining Loudoun? DO YOUR JOB! :-)

Voltaire

Bob—OK. First, since the Office of County Sheriff is a Constitutional Officer, as identified in the Code of Virginia, his/her office is called a “Sheriff’s Office” not a “Sheriff’s Department. There is NO Sheriff’s Department in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As I have said repeatedly, there is no EVIDENCE that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is failing to meet its statewide mandate of designing, building, and maintaining roadways within this county or elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Also, as previously stated, VDOT, along with various Maryland (Maryland Department of Transportation, Frederick County Maryland Government, etc) and other Loudoun County organizations and government agencies are actively working the issue of Route 15 North. This project is a massive civil works program and is being done in a multiple phase approach. Based on the information from the lead government agency, the Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, this project is in DESIGN phase as there are still ongoing engineering studies/assessments that have to be completed. Until those studies are completed, there can be NO construction done and that includes the acquisition of right of way for the road improvements. Until this county gets it through its head that every school bond put on the ballot does not equal automatic passage, then you will never get a lower tax rate. Increased borrowing (issuance of Government Obligation debt) automatically will cause the County of Loudoun to keep tax rates at current levels. The reason is that the revenue received from the property taxes are used, as discussed by Moody’s Analytic Service, to pay for the increased debt issuance. You raise taxes on the commercial enterprises and there is a good shot that those firms will move as they are not beholden to Loudoun County and can move. Why would the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors want to stop increasing residential development? That is a good source of tax revenue. Besides, they have ruined this county with their lack of zoning and planning. The BOS’s lack of planning (particularly for Eastern Loudoun County) goes all the way back to 1980 and the mismanagement continued from there to the present. Do you think that they can reverse the damage already done? No. Do they care? No. As to the School Board, you may disagree with some of their policies; however, they are meeting the requirements as identified in the Code of Virginia. If they are not, then they should either be recalled or voted out in the next general election.

Birddog

This is such an old topic. I clearly remember Republican Board Chairman Scott York pushing for a police department over the Sheriff office. So why not present the pros/cons out and send it to a public vote in November? I personally am in favor of police department based on York's reasonings stated many years ago. Not a favor of Chapman (and Simpson before him) for several reasons, Chapman dropped frequency of womens self defense classes from quarterly to less than annual because officers would have to donate their time instead of being fairly compensated for this valuable service. These sessions have always been exceedingly popular and fill up within a day or two of announcing. And how about Sheriff Deputies getting away with shooting the small mentally ill Sterling Costco woman? That was beyond cowardly. Chapman's focus on self promotion and use of his office to promote golf with Mike fundraisers and such in past years was disgusting. Law enforcement should not be political.

jke

Which one of Randall's racist buttons is she wearing in the pocture?

Voltaire

JKE--she is wearing a button with the seal of the County of Loudoun in the center. I don't believe that the county seal is racist.

jke

Okay. I am surprised after her crappy stunt in December from the podium in the Board of Supervisors chambers.

btm11

I just noticed that my previous comment could be misunderstood to mean that Sheriff Chapman is the politician who has been acting as a dictator. That was not my intention .

amerigirl

But isn't he? He says who can work for him based on their politics, what information gets to the public, and has complete control of law enforcement and the jail system.

Chris McHale

AG - that's a stretch. He does poll his deputies to see who they are voting for. He did not renew the contract of a deputy who ran against. You may not see that as an issue but it most certainly is. He can no longer trust that deputy not to undermine him.

amerigirl

That is exactly the problem. He should not have to trust that they won’t run against him. That shouldn’t be a deciding factor on their job. He should only have trust in their ability to do their job. If he is the deciding factor on who can and cannot get the experience and run against him, he has created his own autocracy. Sounds like Putin. Vote for him or say goodbye.

Chris McHale

Without question it is a qualification for any job. Even in a police department if you go after your supervisor's job you'll be gone quicker than my hairline.

Voltaire

Chris McHale--No, that is incorrect. In a police department, the requirements for an officer to advance in rank are as follows: (1) you have to meet performance requirements, (2) have time in grade, and (3) take a test. Again, there is a difference between a sheriff's office and a police department when it comes to Human Resource practices.

Representing the Mambo

No deputy ran against him. Deputies exercised their constitutional rights and voted for another candidate. The case precedent allowing Chapman to fire deputies for political reasons is Jenkins vs. Medford - same type of deal. New Sheriff gets elected and "off with the heads" of several deputies who voted for the other candidate. It's bad law and most telling is that fact that the Sheriff in that case has been in federal prison for over a decade for public corruption. All the deputies fired were good people with years of experience. Some Chapman trolls posit that the deputies were in some way actively sabotaging the job, or "weren't rowing in the same direction" as the Sheriff. Those deputies worked hard and did their best to protect the citizens of Loudoun County; which begs the question - what direction is the Sheriff going in?

jke

baloney.

LoudounClear

jke is right. We like having political people making decisions for everyone...as long as they're in the same political group we're in. Otherwise, they're radical, socialist power-hungry morons.

amerigirl

your favorite meat.

amerigirl

Loudounclear, Maybe you guys, but not everyone thinks that way. I could care less about their political position as long as they can properly execute their job. That job should be about people in general not politics.

btm11

Supervisor Letourneau’s message recommended that this issue be studied rather than be acted upon now. That would make it seem that it is a new issue, not studied before. In the U.S. Congress sending something to committee is often a way of burying the issue.

Actually, this issue was raised at least as far back as 2012, and reprised by Chairwoman Randall soon after her election in 2016. A 2012 study done then recommended not making the change. What is different now? The county continued to rapidly grow in population along with road building that opened up new county land for huge additional residential growth, such as the Kincora community. Also new is the experience of our nation with an elected official who demands complete loyalty to him rather than to the Constitution, and limits airing of dissent and of information adverse to himself.

The Sheriff’s employees are dependent upon one person, the Sheriff, for their jobs. A police department would report not to Board of Supervisor but to the County Administrator. A police department conceivably could be less susceptible to political pressure. Ultimately, if the Chair's proposal makes it to the ballot it will be resolved by the public as a political issue.

LeesburgFan

I literally could not tell you the distinction between what a Sherriff's Office does versus a Police Dept. and I suspect the majority of the County is in the same boat. So yeah, it's going to take some education of the citizenship to understand the nuances and what's at stake here.

Reagan warrior

Since fro whatever reason they do not print my LTE considering it comes from a law enforcement background and practical sense I will state it hear.

All policies related to this subject are always going to have politics at play. I seems that the $20 million dollar price tag is way too low. A task force is needed to come up with the solution whether to have a Sheriff solely or a combination of Sheriff and Police Chief. The task force should be made up of citizens from each magisterial district with a law enforcement background to come up with the pros and cons of switching to a police department. There are so many issues at hand here!

Voltaire

Reagan Warrior--I don't know why the LTM didn't print your letter because this is probably the most well thought out idea so far on this subject. Probably made too much sense and thus not printed.

Reagan warrior

Voltaire,

I don’t why either considering my husband and I combined have over 50 years federal and local law enforcement experience.

amerigirl

They already plan on a civilian oversight committee.

Voltaire

AG--I think the panel that Reagan Warrior is proposing is a similar to a blue ribbon panel to review the options for the various options for law enforcement (Sheriff only vs. two agency law enforcement approach (police dept and sheriff). That panel is totally different than a Citizens Review Board to oversee the operations of the law enforcement agency.

jbsets

Why does everyone hate Randall so much? Are there only conservatives on this forum. I never see anything nice said about any topic. It's either totally negative and/or hateful about Randall. Sincerely confused

Voltaire

Jbsets--to answer your question, she makes an easy target. Usually, people do that when they don't have any cogent argument to present and intelligently discuss but would rather vent and turn the discussion (on practically anything) into a political diatribe.

LiberateLoudoun

Our Sheriff's office is affectively enforcing our laws, we don't need to change anything! Mike Chapman is a popular, well respected Sheriff that is doing a fabulous job. Randall is pushing this because she realizes she can't control the county's law enforcement office to suit her liberal needs, like her liberal colleagues do around our country. Sheriff Chapman is accountable ONLY to the taxpayer's and that just eats her up! Randall is power hungry and she'll do everything she can to get him out!

amerigirl

that was a righteous right retort. Wither way she would not have a say in what the dept does. They both work independently. There is no reason that Chapman couldn't apply for the job. She is not trying to remove him as she said it wouldn't happen until the end of his term. Chapman is not accountable to just the taxpayers, the dept needs money to run and it is up to the BOS to fund them. If she was that power hungry she would try and cut funding.

Master Bedroom

Agree with JKE. The Sheriff's Department is performing very well with the capacity to expand as Loudoun population grows.

Keep the Sheriff and boot Randall.

Randall agreed to leave Chapman in office through his term because of his support from the citizens that elected him.

Those same voting citizens will not return her to office.

amerigirl

Stay in that bedroom because you are dreaming.

Notalib

Very disrespectful. Please read the forum requirements.

amerigirl

In your dreams. and you are not one to talk, you that explains sarcasm.

Voltaire

Master Bedroom--OK. First, since the Sheriff is a Constitutional Officer in Virginia, as identified in the Code of Virginia, you have to call his/her office the "Sheriff's Office". There is no such concept as a "Sheriff's Department" in Virginia. As to the issue of the Chairperson booting out the Sheriff, no, she cannot do that since he, as identified in the Code of Virginia is a Constitutional Officer and the only way to remove him is through recall. What she says is counter to the Code of Virginia and the Code of Virginia will win if it went to a court. Concerning the configuration of law enforcement in Loudoun County. The current configuration was acceptable pre-1980 when this county was a truly rural county with a modest population. However, the rate of development and corresponding population density in the Eastern end makes the "rural model" not a very efficient use of police resources and the question of using a two agency approach is appropriate. The same situation occurred in Chesterfield County in Central Virginia. They now have a two agency system with the Sheriff's Office doing jail, court security, process server and the police department doing law enforcement. It is a more efficient system for a larger, mixed use county that Loudoun County has become. It really isn't a political issue but a resource allocation issue but, like everything else here, it has turned into a political one.

jbsets

Fairfax County has both police and sheriffs. My friend's brother is a sheriff. He said that the Fairfax County has the largest sheriffs' office in VA. I had no idea.

Voltaire

Jbsets--Your friend's brother's statement about the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office does not surprise me at all.

jke

There is no problem with the sheriff the only problem is Randall's dislike of our elected official. Matt has always been mealy mouth and has a rubber backbone. No reason to fix or study the sheriff department unless you intend to sell it to other communities as a huge success!

amerigirl

That must be why she has no problem with him continuing until his term is up, or even past that with the penal system. There is no other county in Virginia as large as loudoun that has a sheriffs dept and doesn't have a police department.

LIfetimeLoudouner

And our crime rate is low so having a sheriff is working so no need to change to a police department. In recent years two of Loudoun’s towns police departments had major problems. Not what we need for the county.

Voltaire

AG--since the County Sheriff is a Constitutional Officer, the Board of Supervisors Chairperson has zero impact on the individual's tenure unless he/she has done something to warrant a recall. As to the second point, I agree with you.

Voltaire

LL--the rate of crime has little to do with the configuration of law enforcement in a county. The question centers around availability/effective use of law enforcement resources and response times. Loudoun County, particularly in the Eastern end, has significantly grown and the population density has also increased. That is what dictates what type of police organization/system that the county employs. If the county continues to grow, eventually, whether you like it or not, it will outgrow this configuration as this configuration is predicated on a rural county, which Loudoun County is no longer.

Notalib

So I take it you want a police department. In other words, youd like to see Randall tell the police to stand down in a time of unrest so the agitators " can blow off steam" and destroy property?

amerigirl

life, Do you honestly think that the crime rate would be any different with a police department? What were the problems with those 2 police depts?

amerigirl

Nota, you make these statements that make no sense. Randall couldn’t tell the police what to do or not to do about anything because she is not the mayor. She is a member of the board of supervisors and it would take a vote to pass something before anything like that could ever happen. Anything having to do with Loudoun County policy would take the approval of the board.

Voltaire

Notalib—OK, I want a law enforcement system for the County of Loudoun that is both efficient and effective. The idea of using a rural county model of policing with only a Sheriff’s Office, with a finite amount of resources, is neither for a county that has transitioned from the rural county to a mixed-use county. You are making unfounded assumptions about Board Chair telling police to stand down. AG stated it correctly when she stated “…Randall couldn’t tell the police what to do or not to do about anything because she is not the mayor. She is a member of the board of supervisors and it would take a vote to pass something before anything like that could ever happen. Anything having to do with Loudoun County policy would take the approval of the board. As to the claims about police letting rioters destroy property, that is absolutely wrong. Have you ever responded to a riot situation and manned a police line? No, my family members have and they will tell you that, during that situation, it is important for the incident commander to control the line and maintain order and the safety of his/her men/women. If there is a question concerning deploying riot officers to “save property” and that puts them into harm’s way, the incident commander will let the property be destroyed. That is collateral damage and it is unfortunate but a human life is more important than property.

Notalib

Who would.have oversight of a County Police department? The BOS's!! They would have the authority to tell the police to stand down. The mayor of Leesburg would not have oversight of County police.

Voltaire

NotaLib—Wrong. The Police Chief, like the Fire Chief, would report to the County Administrator, not the Board of Supervisors. In addition, there would probably be a Civilian Review Board that would have police oversight functions. The Board of Supervisors does not get involved in active management of police operations. Furthermore, the last statement is absurd. Even under the current configuration, the mayor of Leesburg does NOT have any control over the County of Loudoun’s law enforcement agency as that is OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of the Mayor. The Mayor of Leesburg does have oversight of the Town of Leesburg Police Department and that is it.

Voltaire

JKE--no, just like Chesterfield County in Central Virginia, Loudoun County has significantly grown past the rural county policing model with a Sheriff's Office only. The growth in development and population from about 1980 to present, particularly in the Eastern end, support the idea of a two agency law enforcement approach, similar to what Chesterfield County has now. It isn't a political question but a question of efficient use of law enforcement resources.

jbsets

Voltaire - I am not dissing you when I say this. You crack me up...like sincerely laughing. I am not making fun or laughing at you in a bad way. It's just that you know everything and write so eloquently. I don't see much of that in the LC chat. Keep up the good work

Voltaire

jbsets--Thank you very much for the compliment. [smile]

Comment deleted.
Voltaire

JKE--No. Who gave you the "authority" to determine what language constitutes "nonsense"? Nobody. That opinion is subjective, noted, and further ignored. Loudoun County, for a county of its size and population density, is the ONLY county that still uses a rural policing approach. Now for rural counties, such as Nottoway, Prince George, and Dinwiddie Counties, having only the Sheriff's Office do all the element of law enforcement makes sense. However, you CANNOT make the argument stick that Loudoun County, similar to Chesterfield County, is all rural any more. It is a mixed county and should have a two agency law enforcement structure.

jbsets

I voted for both the sheriff and Matt and I'm not a Republican. They seem ok to me.

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