Letter: Supporting Berry’s stance on drug task force

Members of our community seem to be keenly aware that drug manufacturing and trafficking is a problem, not only in Rappahannock, but throughout the entire Piedmont region. Surrounding county law enforcement agencies have benefitted greatly in combatting the spread of drugs by participation as members of narcotics and gang task forces.

Task force officers work closely with local, state and federal agencies in an effort to identify, target, arrest and convict those individuals or organizations responsible for distributing or manufacturing illegal narcotics. Though these task forces have been credited with massive drug and illegal gun seizures, as well as property forfeitures and getting some pretty bad folks off the streets and out of our communities, Rappahannock no longer participates in any drug task force.  

I’m having a hard time understanding why the chief law enforcement officer in our county would not want to take advantage of a resource that offers state and federal assistance to combat a growing problem that causes serious social and economic harm to our communities. Results in other counties have proved the program pays for itself. Sheriff Connie Smith seems more intent on issuing speeding tickets to tourists in the town of Little Washington than she does on investigating the more serious illegal drug manufacturing and distribution crimes that plague communities and damage economic growth.  

The job of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office is to protect and serve. I am privileged to be a “come-here” resident of this beautiful county. I’ve been a business owner, employer and shopkeeper in Rappahannock for two and a half years — first in Amissville, and now in Sperryville. I’ve never been visited by, nor met, Connie Smith. A sheriff should know and have a relationship with the business owners in his or her community. We have a personal and financial stake in the county’s economic and social well-being, and my confidence is low in our current sheriff’s interest in or acknowledgment of that fact.  

This November, I’m voting for Andy Berry, candidate for sheriff. Andy’s interest in hearing from local business owners is encouraging and welcomed. What’s crucial is that Andy wants to bring back Rappahannock’s membership in a narcotics task force, and he’ll work with the commonwealth’s attorney to go after the bad guys who would cause our communities harm.

Cindy DeVore
Co-founder and CEO,
Valley Green Naturals

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