As a former police officer and Prince William County Sheriff’s Deputy, public safety will be one of my top priorities. Public safety is paramount to ensuring the quality of life we all desire in Prince William County.
Eye on Crime
There is no such thing as a victimless crime. Aside from the direct impact it has on actual victims, crime can cast a shadow on an entire county or community. If left unchecked, high crime will prompt families and individuals to move to a more secure location that better fits their needs. Statistics show that businesses are also much less likely to invest in communities with high rates of crime.
Our Sheriff’s Office and Police Department have done a great job cutting crime nearly in half since 2003 – not coincidentally the year my former boss, Sheriff Hill, assumed office.
However, that number did tick up in 2017, and while our homicide rate has fallen in the last two years, we’re not that far removed from 2016 which saw twenty-one homicides in the county.
There’s no doubt that the dramatic decrease in homicides from 2016-2017-2018 was at least partially a result of our local law enforcement having a helpful ally in Washington that has been more willing to enforce our laws.
We’ve seen encouraging trends the last two years, but we must remain vigilant to keep Prince William County as safe as it can be. If the Democrats are successful at taking control of county government their weak-on-crime ideology will inevitably lead to higher crime rates for the county.
Adequate and Efficient Funding for Law Enforcement and First Responders
Protecting the citizenry is the most basic function of government, and as Supervisor, I will make sure our police, sheriff, and fire departments are adequately funded to the levels needed to keep us safe.
Prince William County currently has fewer police officers per capita than any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia. It doesn’t require a former cop to know we cannot continue with such a distinction.
However, merely providing more money to any government agency is never the solution in and of itself. Even law enforcement must be willing to stretch every dollar as far as it will go when the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill.
One of my responsibilities at the Manassas Park Police Department was to oversee the department’s budget and ensure every dollar provided to us by the taxpayers was being spent as efficiently as possible.
Even on issues of which I am the most passionate – public safety certainly being one, I will bring a fiscally conservative approach to the Board of County Supervisors.
Respect For Those Who Serve
I served during the final two years of the Obama Administration when local law enforcement seemed to be under constant assault by those in power because of the questionable actions of a few (in many cases, the police were later proven to have acted justly once the media hysteria passed).
Local law enforcement officers don’t do what they do for public recognition, but rather a genuine desire to serve and protect others. They rank among the most selfless individuals you’ll ever meet.
But I can tell you, nothing hurts the morale of police officers and deputies more than having their motives and commitment to serve the community questioned by politicians that have never put their lives on the line to defend that community.
As Supervisor, I will always stand with our men and women in blue, and brown, and will never disparage their service by questioning motives or commitment. It’s the least we can do as local leaders. We must foster a culture of respect in our community for those who serve and protect us. A safer Prince William County will be the result.
The opioid crisis is in a word – heartbreaking. From January to June of 2017 more than one person per day overdosed on opioids in the greater Prince William County area according to the County Community Services Board.
As a Police Officer I was oftentimes called to be the first on the scene following an overdose. As a Sheriff’s deputy I saw first hand the results of those who arrived at the courthouse under the influence and the excruciating detox phases they underwent.
These individuals are our friends and neighbors. Family members, siblings, and parents. At the root of most drug use is a general feeling of hopelessness and despair.
Personally, I believe the solution generally has a spiritual element to it – but that does not fall under the purview of county government.
However, there are things we can do to try to alleviate these citizens pain and provide hope.
Nothing provides an individual with greater self-esteem and self-worth than the dignity that comes from having a job. That’s why we must implement pro-growth policies and incentives to help grow our economy so that anyone that wants to work can find a job they take pride in (Please read more about my plan for economic growth under the Taxes/Economic Growth tab on my website).
Second, we must continue to utilize the Department of Health and Development in conjunction with local non-profits that are committed to serving those with drug addiction and mental health issues.
Finally, I support the board’s recent decision to authorize the County Attorney to begin the process of researching potential legal action to be taken against opioid company manufacturers.
Sanctuary Policies and Violent Gangs
Democrats in the county have made it clear that they want to follow in the footsteps of the most liberal jurisdictions in the country and turn Prince William into a so-called ‘Sanctuary’ for violent criminals in the country illegally.
This is dangerous. And it is wrong.
As a second-generation immigrant myself, I’m well-aware of the disinformation campaign pushed by some in order to adopt these dangerous policies.
The great irony is that the people sanctuary policies hurt the most are oftentimes other immigrants. I have witnessed this first hand, with the under reporting of crimes in immigrant communities. Such policies only enable these criminals to control their victims by fear and intimidation.
Native born Americans have without question been harmed by these policies as well (we just saw a police officer in California murdered as a result of its statewide sanctuary policy), but the group of people that violent criminal aliens target the most are overwhelmingly fellow immigrants.
Any person that violates the civil rights of another person in this county, native born or immigrant, must not be shielded from the consequences of their actions, which is exactly what sanctuary policies do.
All our current 287g agreement essentially allows is for the federal government to request Prince William County to hold a violent criminal in the country illegally for up to 72 hours in custody so they can be held accountable for their crime.
By withdrawing from the 287g agreement the Democrats will leave the most vulnerable among us even more vulnerable to attacks from the violent criminals in their neighborhoods.
This is reprehensible.
I will work arm-in-arm with Sheriff Hill to make sure the Democrats never turn Prince William County into a sanctuary for dangerous criminals who are in the country illegally.
We must also continue to deal with the presence of violent transnational gangs that maintain a real presence in the county, like MS-13.
While not in the numbers we saw in 2015 and 2016, every few months we hear about another person in the county being brutally murdered by members of MS-13. The most recent example was last year when a Woodbridge man was literally burned to death by the gang.
In addition, they push poison, extort small businesses, and force young girls into sex trafficking.
I understand some may feel uncomfortable talking about these issues, but it is necessary to take action and keep our citizens safe. Acknowledging sanctuary policies are wrong and that we have a problem with MS-13 in the county is NOT an attack on all immigrants. Far from it. Again, by taking these issues seriously we are actually helping to protect those in our immigrant communities the most.
We must ensure our law enforcement is properly funded to tackle this issue head on. Having the fewest numbers of police officers per capita in the region is not an option when having to contend with thugs like this.
We must also equip our schools to be able to handle this issue to the extent they can, as well.
Anyone that pays attention to their tactics knows MS-13’s most intense recruitment efforts start with school aged kids. Particularly recent immigrant children, who are the most susceptible and the most vulnerable to be lured or forced into joining the gang.
Our school resource officers must be trained and equipped to identify and deal with these issues to protect our kids and help alleviate the problem.
The Impact of Overdevelopment
The growth at-all-costs strategy of the last two decades has not just impacted our roads, schools, and open spaces, but has also made the community less safe because our first responders have been stretched to the breaking point.
The Prince William County Police Department currently has the lowest number of officers per capita of any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia. And our total number of sheriff deputies and firefighters per capita is way less than it was twenty years ago, increasing critical response times to dangerous situations and fires.
We must allow our infrastructure and public safety services to catch up to the population explosion. The current path of overdevelopment is making us all less safe.