Letter: John Bischoff, Leesburg

Editor: Following the conversations about the proposed study evaluating a county police department, I am struck by one line of thought that is simply not valid.  Opponents to the idea of a police department claim that, unlike a sheriff office, would be subject to politics. That the sheriff is answerable directly to the public and a police department would not.

In my opinion, this argument shows an extreme naivete to how the world actually works.The sheriff starts with the local political committee’s nomination process.Wither it be in the back room by a subcommittee or a primary where in order to vote citizens must promise to support every candidate put forward by that party.

A police chief is answerable to nine elected supervisors.With the exception of the at-large supervisor, all have smaller constancies that represent more directly the different parts of the county.Who does the sheriff answer to?The political committee’s that nominate them by a process that excludes the vast majority of the citizens of the county.A selection of a police chief, however, is done via a nationwide search to select the most qualified candidate.It is an open and transparent process.There is a reason we do not elect the superintendent of schools.

In the last election, the two-term incumbent raised over $160,000 in campaign finance to defeat a candidate who had no management or law enforcement experience. The incumbent won, but with only 55 percent of the vote.The political challenger with no experience and virtually no campaign received over 50,000 votes.

On capabilities and experience, I believe that the current sheriff should have received 99 percent of the vote not 55 percent.If this were a search committee, his opponent would not have even been considered, but as a political process he almost became sheriff.

The conclusion is obvious, when left to a political process to select and fund candidates the best candidate does not always win.

This is not intended to demean the current incumbent sheriff.In fact, I believe him to be highly qualified with the ability to advance to many law enforcements positions both within and outside the commonwealth, but with political candidates will not always ensure we have competent candidates to choose from or a one who believes in the rule of law.

John Bischoff, Leesburg

3 thoughts on “Letter: John Bischoff, Leesburg

  • 2020-07-28 at 9:59 pm

    You actually disprove your proposition with your own argument and example. The sheriff is ultimately and directly accountable to the residents of the county. In fact, your example of the last election proves that, regardless of who nominates the candidates, voters make the choice.

    All over America, we see Police Chiefs being ordered to stand down rather than do their jobs to protect order, property and life precisely because they are literally owned by elected political boards. There are local militias forming in Minneapolis neighborhoods because the police will not maintain order!

    All over Virginia we see sheriffs standing against tyrannical measures pushed by out-of-state interests who bought the governor and a large number of seats in the legislature. Those same out-of-state groups also flooded Loudoun with money and achieved significant success.

    What you see is independent, accountable sheriffs supporting the constitution of Virginia and the USA and the rule of law while neutered police departments allow chaos to engulf their communities.

    I do not want to see chaos engulf Loudoun. Does a part of the BoS want to control the police for exactly this purpose?

  • 2020-07-29 at 6:39 am

    Your right about one very important thing. BECAUSE the majority of Loudoun didn’t bother to vote in this local election one political party (which elected the majority of the BOS and School Board) almost put in a Sheriff too. It is precisely the control one party can have on a local election and on the policies of the county when so few actually vote that is the scary part of this topic. Now consider the agenda of this BOS who seem drawn like a fly to the fire by national social issues and seem to feel they are doing their job by removing a decades old statue. One can only imagine the BS Loudoun might be going through right now if the current Sheriff wasn’t on the job as he should be but was pulled off the job as Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis did. Isn’t that really this issue we are all dancing around. Do we trust the current BOS to act on our majority behalf and solve traffic, tax, road, zoning, over-development, proper assessments, school issues or lack of rural internet service problems or throw our county into chaos for political reasons? Isn’t that the issue here? 🙂

  • 2020-07-31 at 5:43 am

    The BoS/county attorney will use the sheriff’s office as another tool to do their dirty work.

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