Culpeper police Sgt. Anthony E. “Andy” Berry isn’t waiting until the last minute this time to throw his hat in the ring to become Rappahannock County’s next sheriff, as he did in 2011.
Berry, a 40-year-old Sperryville resident, publicly announced his November 2015 election bid for the Rappahannock sheriff’s post last week.
“It’s a dream,” said Berry. “I started my law enforcement career [in Rappahannock County] and want to end my career and leave the office in a better direction.”
Berry, who was born in Warren County and raised in Washington, thinks the community isn’t involved enough with the sheriff’s office.
“I want to get the community more involved,” the 1992 Rappahannock County High School graduate said.
Berry lost his bid in 2011 to replace two-term Sheriff Connie C. Smith, who said this week that she hadn’t planned to make a formal announcement until early 2015 of her intention to run again. “But there was never a question in my mind whether I was going to run or not,” she said. “I’m committed to this county in many, many ways.”
Berry,the father of two children, Abigail, 13, and Anthony, Jr., 11, has served 15 years in law enforcement. He is active in the Rappahannock community, volunteering as a fireman with the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department. He also is a member of the Rappahannock Lions Club and serves as a coach for the Rappahannock Youth Basketball Recreation League.
Berry has been a member of the Culpeper Police Department for nine years, with a promotion to sergeant in 2011 after he initially served as a patrol officer. He now supervises five personnel and is responsible for organizing the department’s response for special events, concerts, parades, traffic details and dignitary protection.
“I also am in charge of the Department of Motor Vehicles grants,” said Berry.
During his time as a uniformed patrol officer, Berry was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his enforcement of DUI laws. The Salem Ruritan Club recognized Berry twice as Police Officer of the Year, and the American Legion recognized him once as the police department’s officer of the year.
Berry thinks the Rappahannock Sheriff’s Office has lost the respect of the community and wants to restore it. He also believes the office needs to be more accountable to the taxpayers.
“It is my belief that the office needs a passionate and dedicated leader who is vested in the community,” said Berry. “As a lifelong resident of Rappahannock, I value this county and what it represents. As sheriff, I will not only uphold all constitutional laws but will also treat every citizen with courtesy, respect, dignity and compassion through impartial enforcement.”
Who: Anthony “Andy” E. Berry Sr.
What: Candidate for Rappahannock County Sheriff
Family: Daughter, Abigail, 13; son Anthony Jr, 11
Education: Rappahannock County High School, 1992; attended Lord Fairfax Community College
Employment: Culpeper police sergeant; Luray police officer; RCSO deputy
Organizations: Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department, Rappahannock Lions Club, coach at Rappahannock Youth Basketball Recreation League
The candidate, who served as a Rappahannock deputy for four years and as a Luray police officer for two years, vows to make himself available to citizens and employees alike. He says he is willing to listen to and review concerns brought to his attention.
“I will never ask anyone to do a task that I would not undertake myself,” said Berry about his leadership philosophy.
He also thinks that the sheriff’s office employees should be held to a higher standard both on and off duty.
Berry said that he has studied the county budget and where the money is spent. He said that he will ensure that taxpayer funds are spent responsibly and wisely.
“I am not going into it blind,” said Berry.
If a situation arises requiring additional assets and resources, Berry said that he will ask for assistance from other agencies.
“Together, we will find the answers,” he said.
Besides leadership training, Berry has specialized training in active shooter incidents, gangs and workplace violence. He also is trained in federal motor vehicle inspections, crime scene investigation, accident reconstruction, advanced narcotics detection and radar calibrations.
Berry is a certified general instructor and has served as a certified field training officer for rookie officers.
The candidate understands the diversity in the community.
“Cattle farming gives me a great deal of satisfaction,” said Berry about his love for agriculture. “Understanding this culture is vitally important to many citizens of our community.”
Berry knows he has to work hard to win over voters and achieve his dream of being sheriff.
“I have learned a lot,” he said after his first bid for elective office. “You have got to knock on doors.”