30 October 2014
For the first time in 15 years, Fluvanna residents will elect a new sheriff at the polls on Nov. 4.
Competing for the office are Sheriff Eric Hess, 57, who was appointed sheriff when former Sheriff Ryant Washington resigned last May to take a gubernatorial appointment, and Mark Belew, 36, an Albemarle County detective who investigates Internet crimes against children.
The Fluvanna Review
asked both candidates to respond to five questions.What goals do you want the sheriff’s office to achieve within the first year of your time as sheriff?Hess:
I will continue working on the accreditation of the sheriff’s office. Our agency is in the top 30 percent of law enforcement agencies in the state of Virginia who are accredited or are in the self-assessment phase of accreditation.
I would like to see at least two satellite offices for increased access for the community and efficient sheriff’s office services. Collaborating with an established business or shopping area would be an ideal way to accomplish this. Even a small office area, where the deputies can return phone calls, meet with citizens and work on reports, would allow the deputies more visibility.
I would increase the size of our reserve deputy and volunteers in police service (VIPS) programs to relieve some of the agency workload.Belew:
Any law enforcement agency can only be as effective as the relationship it shares with the community it serves. Community policing models can be effective in encouraging dialogue, building public trust and engaging citizens to become involved in the safety and security of their community. The formation of a citizen’s advisory committee (CAC) is a proven method to bolster the relationship and bridge the gap between police and the community, and this can easily be done within the first year of office.
A CAC is a diverse committee formed of citizens from various parts of the county. The members of this committee discuss community issues with their law enforcement professionals to provide a unique insight into problems that are typically not evident through traditional police patrols. Furthermore, it allows members of the community the ability to have direct input into initiatives that directly influence their everyday lives.