Scandal in Chesterfield's Sheriff's Race?
The Sheriff’s office pulls a bunch of inmates out of the county lockup and brings them over to the house of a relative of the Sheriff’s to clean up the yard and carry away loads of trash. Sound like something out of “The Dukes of Hazzard” or “Porky’s”? Actually it was the fairly recent practice in Chesterfield County, or so alleges Perry DeMay, candidate for Sheriff of Chesterfield County.
He alleges that. In violation of state law,
On February 1, 2000, the Sheriff’s inmate work force performed work at Sheriff Clarence Guy Williams’ Jr. cousin’s house.
• A fallen tree was cutup and removed
• Snow was cleared from entrances to the house.
• Salt was applied to walkways.
• Three loads of brush were taken to the county landfill
• Sheriff’s Office trucks transported the brush
This is a clear violation of the laws of our Commonwealth and the trust of the citizens of Chesterfield County. The Sheriff’s Office does not perform these services for all of their county taxpayer’s.
There was an attempted cover-up for the work performed at the sheriff’s cousin’s residence and it has taken seven years to break the veil of silence to expose this corruption. The deputy who supervised the inmates on the job was advised by a member of the sheriff’s administration to keep quite, “He instructed me not to speak to anyone about this matter.”
At a recent debate at the county library the three candidates for Chesterfield County Sheriff stated their positions and qualifications, answered questions from a moderator, and from a packed audience. Apparently half packed by members of the Sheriff’s Department and their families and friends. The back half of the room all spotted large Proffitt signs and after the debate I spoke with a mix of those attendees to confirm that. The same Sheriff’s Department employees that are alleged to actively man the campaign tables at the polls. Note: all the circular blue “Proffitt for Sheriff” labels on the right shoulders.
The debate was well run. The audience was well behaved and attentive. The questions were fair and all three candidates gave a good showing.
The current Sheriff, Dennis Proffitt is alleged to have been handed his job on his friend’s, prior Sheriff Williams, early retirement so as to give Proffitt an incumbents advantage in the election. In fact, a main tenant of DeMay’s candidacy is that the county is riff in good old boy politics where plum jobs are passed one white Republican man to another in a very ingrained and patronaged way – such that jobs are more often based on the interconnection of networks rather than on qualification.
Independent candidate Ken Hall positioned himself as the true conservative among the contenders and is running a strong platform of anti illegal immigrants, although he admits that there are major limits on what a local jurisdiction can legally implement. He is an ardent admirer of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona – the self described "Nations Toughest Sheriff".
Allegations were also made that local developers and builders were financing the campaigns of the status quo as it helps insure a steady flow of low wage illegal aliens to work at their housing and shopping center projects.
DeMay contends that decades of one party control has lulled the county into a system of inefficient operation, created a dispirited Sheriff’s Department, and pursues poor policies of advancement and promotion – all resulting in a department that does not reflect the diversity of the community.
Will the electorate see a need for change? Will Hall and Proffitt split the conservative vote and open an opportunity for DeMay? Or will the county continue its decades long status quo? We’ll know in less than three weeks.