These six men all want the same thing — to be Loudoun's next Sheriff.
Incumbent Stephen Simpson (R), Chris Jones (D) and independent candidates Phillip Daughenbaugh, Mark Davis, Chris Harmison and Peter "Pete" Kalitka are participating in the most contested race in Loudoun's upcoming elections.
Simpson, a Purcellville resident, has served as the county's sheriff for the past eight years and has spent more than 20 years working in law enforcement. "Faced with terrorism threats, snipers, gang activity and unprecedented growth, I believe this illustrates my leadership ability and commitment," he said.
WITH THE ISSUES Loudoun is facing, "now is not the time for a rookie sheriff," Simpson said at Adelphia Channel 3's Sheriff's debate, which will be aired in this month, along with the debates for the 32nd district of the House of Representatives, the Commonwealth Attorney and the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors.
While in office, Simpson said he helped expand the Sheriff's anti-gang unit from one to four deputies and participated in a regional anti-gang task force. He plans, if he is elected, to continue to coordinate with federal, state and regional entities "to ensure possession of the latest intelligence in security matters," he said. "It's something we need to address proactively, aggressively and right now."
Simpson plans to work with emergency management officials on response and evacuation plans and to deploy a Civil Disturbance Unit if significant threats occur, along with expanding community policing, developing new initiatives in traffic safety and improving communications with the public. He wants to seek more control over the budget for the Sheriff's Office, along with considering alternative funding sources. "Currently, there is little agency discretion on how funds are allocated and limited opportunity for initiatives," he said. "I will continue to work for additional deputies to improve our ratio to one deputy per 1,000 residents."
ASHBURN RESIDENT JONES has 19 years law enforcement and criminal justice experience, including working as a deputy for the Sheriff's Office from 1999 to 2003.
"I am running [for office] out of a sense of frustration with the current leadership and an obligation to do something about it," Jones said, adding that if elected, he plans to implement community policing and contemporary problem-solving models of policing in each community in the county.
Jones resigned as a community police officer, believing that the unit was looked on as a specialized unit and not as a department-wide entity, he said. The Sheriff's Office "will serve the communities by having deputies specifically assigned to communities to pro-actively focus on community problems before they become criminal matters. I want our citizens to know deputies by their name, not by the passing police car," he said.
Jones wants to create partnerships with the community and government at the county, town and Homeowner Association levels, he said. "We will maximize resources, open up dialogue and encourage creativity to solve community problems and maintain safe neighborhoods," he said. "I want to create a culture within the Sheriff's Office that calls for empowering our deputies to be creative and innovative. I want to instill more of a private sector service model that recognizes and encourages deputies to feel vested in the success of the office."
LIKE JONES, DAVIS of Middleburg is a former law enforcement officer for the Sheriff's Office and had to resign to run for Sheriff.
A 22-year employee of the Office, Davis moved up through the ranks from deputy to second lieutenant in charge of the Court Security and Civil Process sections.
Davis is running for office with several plans in mind, including providing support and leadership for the staff; taking immediate action on issues that threaten the safety of Loudoun, including gangs and Homeland Security; and providing "Loudoun County with the very best law enforcement services and [working] together with all agencies," he said. "Getting back to the community ... that's something we definitely need to get back to."
DAUGHENBAUGH decided to run four years ago when a friend told him to quit griping and "do it yourself," he said at the Channel 3 debate. "The culture of the Loudoun Sheriff's Office needs to be changed."
If elected, Daughenbaugh plans to increase public school protection and provide more street patrol, adding that he will ride patrol if needed and encourage ranked officers to patrol one to two hours a day. He wants to "stop the trend to develop specialized units every time a problem develops" and put deputies on the street, he said.
HARMISON, an Ashburn resident, has 24 years experience in law enforcement, including 22 years with the Fairfax County Police Department and two years with the Sheriff's Office. He said that after working and growing up in Fairfax County, he understands growth issues and sees that the same things he dealt with 15 years ago, including an increase in crime and gang activity, is now appearing in Loudoun. "What makes me unique is my experience next door," he said at the debate, pointing out the importance of education, prevention and enforcement. "Deputies have to be in the neighborhoods. ... Everything we do has to work off community policing and problem-solving."
Harmison plans, if elected, to "change the fundamental way the Sheriff's Office conducts business from that of a reactive report taker to a proactive problem-solver," he said, adding at the same time he wants to seek community input "to help shape the direction and future of the office."
KALITKA of Paeonian Springs, president of Delta Associates, has 47 years experience in counterintelligence, intelligence and law-enforcement investigations. He said he is running independently without any ties to the Sheriff's Office. "I'm not a politician. I'm a retired soldier," he said during the debate.
Kalitka said he is motivated to set professional standards and make what he considers to be necessary operational changes in the Sheriff's Office, along with establishing an Intelligence Division and anti-gang and counter-terrorism task forces. "I would be able to objectively, prudently and truthfully make decisions for the betterment of the citizens of Loudoun County," he said at the debate.