The list of Virginia politicians who mingled with the gathered Fluvannians included Congressman Robert Hurt, State Sen. Tom Garrett, Del. Rob Bell, Del. Lee Ware, and former Governor Jim Gilmore.

On the local level, candidates for sheriff Eric Hess and Mark Belew spent time talking to folks – and the Fluvanna Review – about what they’d like to accomplish in the sheriff’s office after the Nov. 4 election.

Belew, 35, wants the Fluvanna sheriff’s office to become accredited.  “Our schools have to be accredited, we want our doctors to be accredited – our law enforcement should be accredited as well,” he said.  “Accreditation makes you accountable to a state board that oversees your policies and procedures and your practices, to make sure they’re up-to-date and are the best practices in the business.”

The reason this matters, he said, is that “law enforcement is an ever-changing profession.  If we don’t keep up with the trends, if we don’t keep up with rulings of the Supreme Court, how they affect law enforcement, then it affects how you do your job.”  And accreditation boards make sure local offices are keeping pace.  Although most of the surrounding counties have accredited agencies, Belew said, Fluvanna has never been accredited.

Belew also wants to launch a citizens’ advisory committee.  “A law enforcement agency is only as successful as the relationship it has with the community,” he said.  “We could drive a patrol car through your neighborhood all night and we won’t know what’s going on.  But you live there every day so you know what’s going on.”

Building a citizen’s advisory committee from “a diverse background of citizens from varying parts of the county” would allow residents and law enforcement to “discuss things that are going on in their communities from their standpoint, discuss the things that we’re seeing, and then collaboratively come up with a way that we can help the citizenry and they can help us to tackle these goals.”

Fluvanna residents should vote for Belew, he said, because “I bring a unique set of skills.  I think I bring youth, I think I bring enthusiasm, but along with that youth comes a wealth of experience that I don’t think we’ve had in Fluvanna County for a while…and I think Fluvanna County can benefit from it.”

Sheriff Eric Hess, 57, said he was pleased when the Board of Supervisors approved one of his key campaign points – an additional school resource officer.  Having a positive role model –especially within law enforcement – makes a difference in the lives of impressionable young children, he said.  The school resource officer also plays an important role in educating children and parents alike on tricky issues such as Internet safety.

Hess also wants to “crank up” the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program, especially for the younger folks in the community who “constantly” apply to the sheriff’s office.  “We’re so small it’s hard to hire somebody and then wait 18 weeks while they’re at the academy, six weeks while they’re training, and then another year or so before they’re able to actually function and work on their own,” Hess said.  But if volunteers can attend the academy through the VIPS program, they can hit the ground running, which is good for them and for the sheriff’s office.

Already Hess is working on implementing the proactive community policing model, in which officers spend part of their days in the community, meeting people and developing relationships, so that when problems occur a foundation already exists between law enforcement and citizens.  “That’s the number one thing I heard from people,” he said, “that they want to see the deputies in their neighborhoods more, to know who they are.”

Fluvanna voters should support Hess, he said, because “the folks of Fluvanna deserve someone that is proven.  You’re talking about 32 deputies, a two-and-a-half million dollar budget, and the responsibility for a little over 26,000 people in the county.  Would you want to turn that over to someone who’s not experienced?  After running the show [as chief deputy] for eight years I think I have that experience.”

In between chatting with voters and munching on barbecue sandwiches, some of the politicians took a moment to offer their perspectives on Fluvanna County.

“Fluvanna is such a special place,” said Hurt.  “It’s just really exciting to see a focus on agriculture and forestry.  Both of those two things together are the largest economic drivers for the state of Virginia… If we want to see job growth, economic expansion, and economic opportunity here in Fluvanna County we have to focus on those things.  So I’ve…focused on problems that farmers have with the EPA or the Corps of Engineers.  They’re very real, very costly, and they affect farmers – and farmers’ customers – since costs oftentimes get passed onto the consumers.”

Bell offered a perspective on Fluvanna’s “dramatic change” over the last two decades.  “In my tenure Fluvanna County went from a rapidly growing community with the Lake transforming itself from sort of a vacation home set-up for seniors into a bedroom community that people plan to spend the rest of their lives in… Obviously, most people who live in Fluvanna still don’t work here, so that means they spend more time commuting.  It also makes it hard for the taxpayers because all the money has to come from residential property taxes.  So I’m going to certainly work with local officials to do what we can to promote Fluvanna as not only a place to live but also a place to make a business and grow it.  I think that’s the next step here.”

Shaun Kenney, the head of the Republican Party in Virginia, observed that Fluvanna is “a bit of a bellwether county.  As Fluvanna goes, so goes the rest of the Commonwealth… Fluvanna’s somewhat interesting.  We’ve got a good cross-section of Virginia.  You’ve got a very good suburban core at Lake Monticello, you’ve got a very good rural base outside of it, so if you were to try to create your own demographic of what average Virginians think, you couldn’t get any better than Fluvanna County.”


Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138