Office sought: Sheriff County of Fairfax
Party Affiliation: Republican
Previous offices held; please include dates: none
Incumbents: when elected to this position:
Occupation: Retired Chief Deputy Sheriff, Fairfax County
Current employment: Criminal Justice Consultant
Education: (please list schools attended, degrees and dates) George Mason
University Masters Public Administration 1984-1990, Radford University BA
Political Science 1975-1977
Community ties: Leadership Fairfax 1994, Board of Directors 1999-2003,
Alternative House-The Homeless and Abused Children's Refuge President Board of
Directors 2002-2003, Alternative House Board of Directors 2000-present, Herndon
Community Television Board of Directors.
ENDORSEMENTS: Fairfax County
Republican Party, Delegate Tom Rust, members of the non-profit community in Fairfax
County, members of the business community and voters in the June 10th Republican Primary
1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?
Managing resources to ensure the primary functions of the agency were accomplished. Ensured that the agency made budget every year when I served as second-in-command.
Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term.
2. What are the top five problems facing the Sheriff's Office and what approaches will you use to solve them?
1. Corruption in the agency. Personnel have contributed to the incumbent to
guarantee promotions, transfers or executive travel. This has transformed the agency from a valuable public safety resource to a political agency.
2. Opening and operating lock-ups in areas of the county to decrease police travel
time and increase patrol on the streets.
3. Opening the new addition to the county jail and eliminate inmate double and triple celling.
4. Implementing staff development and career program for employees protected from patronage and politics.
5. The establishment of a Hatch Act for Fairfax County to prohibit employees from contributing to any Sheriff, and the establishment of an Independent Auditor to investigate the use of county equipment in parades, political events and investigate credit card abuse.
3. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
I will bring integrity, honesty and a commitment to bring professional leadership, management and government to the Fairfax County Office of the Sheriff.
4. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?
My education and experience all reflect my desire to make government more responsive and more effective. The Sheriff's Office is the perfect opportunity to make long-term impact in a vibrant and dynamic community. We have many problems here but I intend on solving the SO problems first and then impacting the community by engaging in evolving public policy discussions, like Night Court, Drug Courts and Satellite Courts.
5. Describe the current workforce for the Sheriff's Office. Is it sufficient for fulfilling its pubic safety responsibilities? If not, what is needed and at what cost?
A realignment is needed in order to put current resources into positions which will benefit the community. The processing of inmates into and out of the jail should take precedence over staff on motorcycles and bikes in parades. Staff should be dedicated to inmate work teams in the community to reduce costs to taxpayers. The addition of treatment and vocational programs at no cost to the taxpayer will enable the new housing units to be opened and staffed with current resources. Attrition will reduce when new employees have an opportunity to train, transfer and get promoted in a system that is fair and equitable.
6. How difficult is it to recruit sheriff deputies? What is the ideal background for such recruits? What steps has the Sheriff's Office taken to expand recruitment efforts? What more can be done?
The difficulty is in finding employees who thrive in a locked, controlled and supervised environment. The current Sheriff has appealed to a small group of employees with radar guns, increased patrol activities and more action to provide more opportunities outside these facilities. This policy is bad for the community and has forced the agency to neglect their core function. The result is what has happened over the last 3 years.
7. Explain the process for identifying potentially suicidal inmates at the county Adult Detention Center. Statistically, how does Fairfax compare with other county jails?
The process should entail an interview within 24 hours by competent medical
staff and specially trained sworn staff. This evaluation should include mental health issues. When in office, we required this review to occur within 12 hours, as this period is the most critical for suicidal inmates. The current administration proposed to eliminate 10 positions within the CSB budget, funded by the SO. These cuts would have eliminated our ability to diagnose the mentally ill, to include suicidal inmates. Only with intervention by the CSB and the County Executive do these positions exist. Fairfax does much better than most facilities when comparing suicide rates, but when you operate a jail which feeds inmates VegiLoaf, to include the mentally ill, and don't staff the facility adequately, you will have suicides.
8. What policies and procedures are in place to prevent inappropriate contact between jail staff and inmates? How does such a system break down and what can be done to improve the recruiting or training of department or subcontracted staff in the jail?
The current policies do not work . Supervision is about protecting employees, and sometimes that includes from themselves. No one in a leadership position has been disciplined for the actions of the deputy charged with 2 Class 6 felonies. Who knew or, more importantly, should have known what was occurring inside 2 locked security doors and past 4 cameras. Policies and procedures only work when they are enforced by leadership. Accountability is the only answer.
9. How do you address the perception that the Sheriff's Office is its own fiefdom, rewarding politically astute deputies at the disadvantage of other deputies?
Pay for performance is the only answer. Promotion boards and transfer panels outside the political influence of the elected Sheriff will go a long way in eliminating patronage. A Hatch Act is the last piece to ensure money is no longer an influence. My additional contribution will be to prohibit those positions appointed by me (2 Lieutenant Colonels) from participating in any political activity regarding the BOS or the Sheriff.
Thanks for your interest in this campaign,
Candidate for Sheriff
Jim will not accept contributions from members/families of the Fairfax County Office of the Sheriff