I’ve been hesitant to write a letter of support for Sheriff Smith because people will sometimes feel the support is naturally expected from the chief deputy. I believe citizens should know that I have a unique experience serving with both sheriff candidates. I served with Sheriff Smith over 20 years ago when she first became a patrol deputy. While in Culpeper, I completed the background investigation and also supervised her opponent, Andy Berry. I can easily say that I know both candidates extremely well.
I believe that if you ask any officer or supervisor of Mr. Berry to list his strengths in law enforcement, you will get the same response: Mr. Berry is completely dedicated to traffic enforcement. There has been no investigation experience, and only in the past few months has Mr. Berry began to supervise two officers.
The points I try to make should not be considered negative for Mr. Berry. In fact, I’ve never had a harsh word with Andy and consider him a friend. However, I do believe voters should focus on the background and platforms of the candidates and not assume anything they may hear secondhand. Mr. Berry’s experience is very limited and almost completely focused on traffic enforcement. He has been very successful in the area of traffic enforcement. Mr. Berry doesn’t have advanced education, management training or experience to supplement his limited law enforcement career. I think most citizens would prefer that a sheriff have a well-rounded career with experience in each division in order to better supervise and understand the challenges.
Above all, I strongly suggest that voters not choose a candidate simply for their personality, a knock on their door, or who’s winning the “sign war.” Those things will mean nothing at the moment you or your family member are a victim of a crime. You will want the sheriff who will use any available resource to investigate and bring justice. Those resources won’t always wear a brown uniform and they may not be residents of Rappahannock County. Will any of that matter when it comes down to keeping Rappahannock the quiet and safe community it has always been?
I’m the first to admit that the sheriff and I are not politically correct and may not do the things that many sheriffs and politicians do to earn votes. We both are “cops” first, and politics will always come second. If you have questions on any issue before Election Day, please come by the office or call. We serve the citizens and you have a right to ask questions. You may be surprised when you hear the other side of “fact” you’ve heard. I respectfully ask that you consider the huge progress made at RCSO in the last four years and think of what is really necessary in a sheriff. If you do, I’m confident Sheriff Smith will be reelected.
Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office