Office sought: Sheriff
Previous offices held:
Occupation: Candidate for office of Sheriff
Current employment: Political candidate
Previous employment: Law Enforcement
Education: South East Florida Institute of Criminal Justice (1981)
ENDORSEMENTS: Friends and family believe I am the best qualifier to be Loudoun's Sheriff.
1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?
Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term. Why shouldn’t voters blame you for current problems?
I served as a police officer in Miami, Florida. During that service, my assignments included: helicopter patrol as pilot and observer, traffic and motorcycle patrol, patrol assignments around the clock, and service with the Street Crime Unit of Miami (SCUM) in which we addressed all levels of criminal activity with a high rate of success. I have made over 3,000 arrests, most of which were felony crimes. I have worked four major riots in the city. I had an opportunity work with units of the Swiss Guard during Pope John Paul II's visit to Miami.
2. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?
Problem 1: Poor emergency response time. Solution: Reinforce patrol service to provide increased visibility and prompt, professional service.
Problem 2: Failure to solve and prevent crime. Solution: Deploy the latest and most powerful technology, equipment and training to appropriately investigate and deter crime.
Problem 3: Poor hiring and promotion practices diminish service. Solution: Establish hiring and promotion policies to build a law enforcement agency with the experience and management skills to provide professional law enforcement for the citizens of Loudoun County.
Problem 4: The public and private schools house twenty-five percent of the county's population each day of session. Their security has been treated as a public relations exercise. Solution: Establish firm new policies to ensure the highest possible level of protection to students and staff of our schools.
Problem 5: Neglect in the jail has resulted in custody deaths and crimes committed by jail personnel. Solution: Institute training and supervision in the jail. Custody of the accused and convicted is a serious responsibility in a free society.
3. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
Integrity, an excellent work ethic, and a desire to succeed are essential qualities in any professional endeavor. I guarantee these characteristics will be employed in my administration of the office. In the 1970s, I was responsible for production and quality control on major construction projects from Manhattan to the US Virgin Islands while based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. In private industry, one must employ the qualities described above; otherwise, failure is assured. When my family relocated to South Florida, I decided to pursue a law enforcement career. I employed the same philosophy as a police official.
4. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?
My opponents, most notably the incumbent, have failed to offer a plan for the future of this vital office; for months, I have. My plan to begin restoration of the office includes management restructure and a five-point plan, much as expressed in question two.
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?
The law enforcement workforce in Loudoun is much the same as any in the county. What distinguishes one from another is leadership. These people are our friends, neighbors, and family members; their professional success and security of our community depends on that leadership. Failure in leadership has caused loss of life, destroyed careers, and runaway budgets. The budget and workforce at current levels are more than adequate. What is missing, again, is leadership. Without that vital element, we cannot know the true cost. Loudoun citizens must regain control of the sheriff's office.
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?
Thousands of young men and women seek law enforcement careers. Difficulty in recruitment is directly related to the reputation of the community served, the law enforcement agency, and its leadership. Unfortunately, this agency, due to failures of leadership, has damaged our reputation. This condition can and must be reversed. Such reversal can happen in one day, November 4. The process of recruit background investigation is rather simple and the desired characteristics are obvious. The most important elements are: direction, training, supervision, and leadership. We must make changes in these areas in order to recruit and retain the best to aspire to the profession.
7. Explain the current relationship between the Commonwealth's Attorney and the Sheriff's Office. How are the two agencies supposed to interact? In what ways can it be improved?
The relationship can be explained in one word: "dysfunctional." Those who lead these agencies must first understand their role in the criminal justice system. These agencies must operate independent of one another and never obstruct the system. Collaboration in the system does not serve the primary objective of justice. Obstruction denies justice. The struggle can only end when both realize the people they serve are the primary arbiters of justice. These offices merely implement the system. The sheriff has failed repeatedly in this respect.
8. Explain the process for identifying potentially suicidal inmates at the county Adult Detention Center. Statistically, how does Loudoun compare with other county jails?
Detention can induce stress on free people, regardless of ones history. Suicidal tendencies may be impossible to identify in advance. For this reason, we have a responsibility to exercise vigilance. The sheriff has failed repeatedly as demonstrated by events too numerous to mention. Eight years of such failure can no longer be rewarded. Statistics are of little value with regard to deaths in custody. We know these events occur. There is no statistic to excuse this failure. We cannot justify the loss of 1.3 people every year just because statistics may predict such loss.
9. 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?
It appears no policies or procedures are currently being observed by personnel in the jail. Remember the most recent occurrence involving a jail nurse and a convict. That encounter took place in a bathroom while jail personnel where alleged to be unaware. Nonsense! This woman worked at the jail for four months when this allegedly occurred. Ask a few questions.
Was she discovered on the first occurrence?
What must the environment be so that a relatively new employee is comfortable with such behavior?
How would contraband be moved in or out of the jail without sworn personnel's knowledge?
10. Define community policing and what specific changes in patrol strategies and staffing are required by it?
Community policing defies description. This concept is extremely expensive and impossible to employ in an affluent community such as Loudoun. Does a community consist of ten homes, fifty homes, three-hundred homes, or two houses on four-hundred acres? If implemented in Loudoun, the sheriff's office may double in size and why? A better idea is to police the community, establish zones of responsibility, and insist the assigned deputy stay in his/her zone unless otherwise ordered. This will improve service and guarantee countywide coverage.
11. Describe the current crime and drug prevention activities conducted by the Sheriff's Office through its relationship with the public schools. How has it grown or declined?
Crime prevention in public schools is nearly non-existent. Crime must be addressed professionally, regardless of place of origin. Schools must be maintained as crime-free as possible. Events should be brought to the attention of law enforcement officials and dealt with through appropriate investigative procedures.
12. How many active Neighborhood Watch programs are operating? What role should the Sheriff's Office play in expanding Neighborhood Watch — and at what cost?
A vigilant law enforcement effort will preclude the necessity for neighbors to watch one another. The task must be left to professionals who understand authority and civil rights. Absent that understanding, neighbors become adversaries.
13. How have the new demands of "homeland security" affected the Sheriff's Office? How has the office's priorities changed since 9/11?
The sheriff's office is nearly powerless to prevent such attacks. The office must be prepared to respond subsequently to an event in order to keep casualties to a minimum. An emergency command center must be established in advance and assembly of all related entities must be practiced. Time is critical, therefore command must be established in advance. The current sheriff's record of service is unsettling in this respect.
14. 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?
Hiring and promotion practices determine the health of the agency. This agency has been used for personal gain long enough. The agency is an asset of the citizens of the county; it cannot be used as a political tool for a few any longer. A political promotion diminishes the quality and integrity of a command structure. The result is evident.