Jesse Ellis

After retiring from the military I shifted to instructing the younger generation in such roles as antiterrorism and force protection for military and civilian leaders. I serve as an instructor, team leader and special reaction team member for the U.S. Government.
My career has provided me with rich memories and rewarding experiences. The most rewarding was saving lives in the Oklahoma City bombing incident where I performed the dual role of rescue operations and evidence collection with the FBI.
What is your job with Fluvanna Sheriff’s Department?
I am a lieutenant and the Sheriff’s executive officer.
Explain what it is you’re charged to do involving schools?
I’ve been tasked to help develop the sheriff’s office protection program for all of the counties schools, increase awareness of security measures within the county schools, and help develop the partnerships and training with the school administrators and first responders. In light of the incidents that have occurred in our nation’s schools, the sheriff’s office is conducting in-depth vulnerability assessments of our county schools, to help prevent incidents and enhance our responses to any incident that may occur.
Without going into details that might affect safety, tell me why what you are doing is important?
What I’m doing is helping to develop programs to prevent, deter and mitigate the risk of an incident (insider threat or external threats) occurring in our schools. At the end of the day it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect our children – our most precious resource this world has.
Is there a time frame for you to complete your work?
Vulnerability and risk assessments are an ongoing project. In any situation be it a school or a corporation, your best defense is having a great offense. In other words, you have to practice and put into place the necessary recommendations to fortify the organization. Then you must be proactive by continually looking at your surroundings, the internal and external populations, and adjust the plan based on the changing environment. You can’t simply write a plan, and then shelve it in a pretty binder. You have to practice the plan and continually update it as a living document that grows with the organization.
Once you are finished, what then?
Once the assessments are complete, then the training phases will begin in a crawl, walk, and run methodology. The sheriff’s office will continue to process of maintaining what is in place and perhaps expand these services to other high-risk organizations.
Do you have a family (wife and kids, etc?).
My best friend and wife Rita is the light of my life and has been my rock. Rita and I enjoy our free time cruising along Virginia’s scenic highways in one of my two Corvettes – a 1978 Stingray and a 2007 LS2 Roadster. Both of us have grown children living in other parts of the U.S.
What do you like about – what drew you to law enforcement?
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., I lived and worked in the city until joining the military in 1979 where I have enjoyed a 20-year career in law enforcement and special operations. I spent most of my career conducting counter-terrorism, counter-drug and special operations in Desert Storm/Desert Shield, the U.S., Asia and Europe before retiring in 1999. Seeing crime in the streets of Philadelphia as a youngster and then witnessing more violent crimes as an adult, created in me a passion for justice and that is why I am here today.
These last questions are for fun, but please answer them.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies, etc?
Driving, restoring and writing about Corvettes. My wife and I have self-published a book titled, “Corvette Etiquette: Rules of the Road” Corvette Etiquette is a fun, fact-filled, and light-hearted guide for Corvette owners and enthusiasts alike. The book is brimming with nuggets of wisdom from purchasing a Corvette to starting your own club, and everything in between all contained in one handy place. This is a beautiful, full-color book and a perfect gift for those who love the nostalgia of owning America’s only sports car – the Corvette.
My wife has written several children’s books, one in print titled “The Legend of Cats and Mice,” a fun way of seeing the world and accepting others’ differences.  I have written a book of love poems dedicated to my wife and we are working toward self-publishing those as well as other projects on the back burner.
What attracted you to Fluvanna?
The pastoral landscape and the great people that live here – they are the heart-and-soul of what makes this country great!
Tell me about your first car. What was it, how and when did you get it – why was it special?
I was playing in my room one day when the faint sound of a rumbling engine drifted to my ears. Forgetting the board game and imminent siege I was about to launch on my opponent, I bounded out the front door, screen door slamming in my wake, to the cracked-cement driveway that led to our home. I rushed down the driveway, the uneven pavement causing me to stumble, my sneakers erasing the children’s chalk drawings and our old cars’ leaked oil stains as I scampered impatiently to the street, waiting for Uncle Jesse to arrive.
A couple of small cars and a motorcycle breezed past. Above the fray rose a symphony of sounds that was unique to my uncle’s Corvette. His leading lady, a 1968 yellow Stingray, gave a standing-ovation performance as she eased down the runway and landed perfectly at my feet.
For a moment, the enchanting sound carried me with it, and I stood there on that hot Pennsylvania pavement mesmerized, immobile, in awe of such a finely-tuned machine. My eyes wide as harvest moons, I took in the beauty of the gleaming, lemon-yellow car. I could almost taste the sweet lemony color as my eyes followed every line and curve, from the glittering chrome, down to the lush interior, around the steering wheel, to a well-timed red baton as it gushed out a symphony of RPMs adorned by an immaculate dashboard built by quality engineers decades before.
My uncle offered to take me for a ride and thus created for me a vivid memory of everything a boy’s romanticized dream required: a young boy flanked by his best friend, enthroned in an intricately tooled bucket seat like royalty. For that brief moment in time, I was a king in a horse-drawn carriage edged with sparkling chrome, gliding down the highway threaded with adoring fans and a picturesque cityscape overlooking it all. My uncle’s Stingray was every bit as captivating as I had imagined it would be, and it was in a solidifying moment when I felt the engine’s rumble deep within my chest that I knew I would one day have one of my own.
Fate has been kind to that little boy in the city, for today I own the best of both worlds: a 1978 Stingray purchased in 1990 and a 2007 LS2 purchased in 2010. My first purchase happened on a sunny day in Oklahoma on June 4, 1994. On the hottest day of the year, I sat in my 1978 Mercedes Benz idling at what was possibly the only traffic light in town, and undoubtedly the longest light in the entire county. However, fate held me there in suspended animation, and what caught my eye captured my heart.
About 60 yards away in a small roadside used car lot, I saw out of the corner of my eye a black-on-beige 1978 Anniversary model Corvette gleaming in the sunlight. It was the crowning jewel among many lesser sport cars on the lot that day. In a flash, I felt the same as I did when I was a boy in my uncle’s Corvette. Even though I was already late for dinner I had to stop and take a closer look. As I drove onto the lot, my eyes followed every line and curve. It was like looking into the black midnight sky accented with chrome stars. A little more research revealed that this Corvette had been modified as a police pursuit car used by the California Highway Patrol. My profession at the time was law enforcement, and I instinctively knew destiny had brought us together.
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream and why?
Pistachio ice cream because of the combination of salty and sweet flavors.

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