In a vague, unsubstantiated Frequently Asked Questions Facebook post yesterday, Chair Phyllis Randall stated that there would be no extra annual cost to transform the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office into a Police Department. She also sought to distract attention from the consolidation of power that is behind the power grab announced last week without a compelling need or comprehensive study.
“It is apparent that Chair Randall and her allies are embracing the ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach to local law enforcement and want the public to ignore the policy implications as well as the hard costs and risks of turning law enforcement over to an un-elected chief completely beholden to the BOS and county staff,” said Sheriff Mike Chapman.
“This rush to judgment is not the way to protect the citizens of Loudoun County, nor to consider how our local government should function in the future,” Chapman continued. “The timing of this proposal, in the middle of a nationwide pandemic and the unprecedented impact on our local economy, health care system, schools and public safety, is an astonishing miscalculation of priorities.”
He also credited Supervisors Buffington, Kershner, Letourneau and Umstattd, whose districts collectively represent 56 percent of Loudoun’s registered voters, for issuing statements questioning the timing of the Chair’s proposal and its purpose.
“I am grateful that some members of the BOS are not jumping on this freight train,” Chapman said. “We may not always agree on what Loudoun’s future should look like, but we should be able to work together as Democrats and Republicans to protect services that are operating effectively while continually improving as required — not placing them at risk for one’s political benefit,” he added.
Today, the LCSO released a comprehensive assessment of its operations as compared to what might occur if the county removed law enforcement functions from the elected Sheriff and replaced them with a county BOS-appointed and staff-managed police chief.
“Transforming the law enforcement functions delegated under the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to a police department while leaving the Sheriff to manage court security and the Adult Detention Center would initially cost, at minimum, $20 million, with a myriad of recurring annual costs – some of which deserve significant fiscal impact and policy consequence analysis,” Chapman stated.
The LCSO STUDY, completed this month, reflects substantial impacts that could affect the safety of Loudoun County citizens and incur excessive costs with additional complexities, such as:
- Unnecessarily divide a unified and highly successful organization (Section 4.2.3, pages 42-45)
- Unnecessarily waste at least $20 Million for personnel and equipment start-up costs (Section 4.1, pages 25-37)
- Unnecessarily waste millions of dollars in subsequent maintenance and personnel costs (Sections 4.1.4 and 4.1.5, pages 31-35)
- Unnecessarily force the acquisition of new technical equipment and ongoing upkeep of approximately 46,000 sq. ft. of additional office space for ANOTHER headquarters facility (Section 4.1.4, pages 31-32)
- Unnecessarily force limitless financial liability onto Loudoun County taxpayers (Section 4.1.2, pages 28-29)
“I encourage all Loudoun County citizens to examine the results of this study that could jeopardize the tremendous progress we have achieved here in Loudoun,” Chapman said. “My hope is that this study marks the beginning of a long-term, comprehensive conversation among elected leaders and the community. I am supportive of that conversation as well as exploring other ways to make local government more accountable to our citizens.”
Chapman previously noted that one such option would be to remove partisan politics from its direct role in the election of Loudoun’s five Constitutional Officers by having them run and serve without the Democrat or Republican label or affiliation. This would apply to the Sheriff, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Commissioner of the Revenue, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Treasurer.
Input from our citizens is absolutely paramount. Citizens are urged to review the LCSO study, contact their Supervisor, and Chair Randall to voice their opinion prior to July 21st, and participate in the public input session that day by calling 703-777-0200 as required to sign up in advance. Citizens can participate in person or online.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is working diligently on behalf of the citizens of our county and will continue to do its part to keep politics out of public safety.