From being the co-captain of the Maury Elementary School safety patrol to being elected sheriff of Alexandria, Dana Lawhorne has come a long way. In between, he spent seven years as a beat cop patrolling the city streets and 19 years as a detective. When he told his wife that he wanted to run for sheriff, she asked the difficult question that he knew she would ask.
“Can you leave the Police Department?”
The answer to that question was yes, and the move became final in a special session of the Alexandria Circuit Court on Tuesday. Friends and family were there to witness a ceremonial swearing-in. Police Chief Charles Samarra was one of the speakers on hand to congratulate the new sheriff.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be here today,” Samarra said, adding that Lawhorne’s election will drastically improve the relationship between the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office. “This should show the community that we are entering a new era of cooperation.”
Commonwealth Attorney Randy Sengel also congratulated the new sheriff.
“Dana Lawhorne will meet the challenge of leadership with courage, determination and modesty,” Sengel said. “And on Nov. 8, I was fortunate to have been able to ride his coattails to victory.”
In an emotional speech, Lawhorne thanked his family members for sticking with him throughout the yearlong campaign. He said it wasn’t easy for his wife and three daughters. They endured months of hearing “I’m Dana Lawhorne, and I’m running for sheriff.”
“I want to say thank you publicly for doing the heavy lifting and rooting me on,” Lawhorne said. “I would like to think that I’ve always done my job with honor and integrity, and I plan to do the same with the Sheriff’s Office.”