Editor: This week, we witnessed another fatality in Loudoun County. It wasn’t MS-13 or a gang related death. It wasn’t from drugs, underage drinking, or gun violence. It was another fatality on one of our overly burdened and under-patrolled commuter arteries. Rt. 9 and Rt. 15 carry tens of thousands of commuters through our county every day and to be blunt Sheriff Chapman isn’t doing his job and people are dying.
These two commuter highways are deadly for several reasons. First, they are both two-lane country roads that have become saturated with out-of-state commuters. They were never designed to carry these loads. Second, because they were never designed to carry these loads, the commute becomes bogged down and traffic becomes irregular and drivers become frustrated. And lastly, because the Sheriff’s Office has decided that these roads need not be monitored or patrolled adequately during peak hours, commuter behavior is unchecked and frustrated commuters do stupid, illegal things. These roads have become lawless speedways. The sheriff is not doing his job.
Sheriff Chapman was elected to keep us safe. We all know that there are numerous threats and many have been handled professionally. We have task forces to address some of these threats but the number one killer in the county seems to remain unchecked. We need you to make this a priority, and not just for a little while. We need a permanent law enforcement presence on these roads during commute hours. And please don’t tell us that there is no place for officers to safely pull motorists over. There are ways to address that issue and maintain officer safety. And funding for this program can come directly from the fines and penalties collected.
But it is unfortunate that it seems as if the tasking of officers is often prioritized to whomever contributed to the sheriff’s campaign. We have seen speed traps on residential roads just yards from these commuter highways, officers tasked to oversee events attended by wealthy contributors, and assets prioritized during election cycles to parts of the county with the most votes hanging in the balance. As a law enforcement officer we are asking the sheriff’ to please put our safety first and saturate the commuter roads with officers. As an elected official,we demand that he put our safety first and that he does what he was hired to do: Protect us.
Mike Keane, Hillsboro