Constitutional officers back Isaacs

Published 10:26 pm Friday, October 25, 2013

To the editor:

Suffolk’s constitutional officers are pleased to announce our unanimous and strong endorsement of Raleigh H. Isaacs Sr. for re-election as sheriff of the city of Suffolk on Nov. 5.

We are all lifelong residents of Suffolk and experienced both as constitutional officers and in our jobs. Our primary goal always has been to serve the citizens of Suffolk in the most effective and fiscally prudent way possible.

Sheriff Isaacs has been elected for five consecutive terms and has served a total of almost 20 years in that position. Prior to his election as sheriff, Isaacs served 23 years in the Suffolk Police Department, including 10 years a chief investigator and victim witness coordinator in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, and he ultimately rose to the rank of captain.

During his tenure as sheriff, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership, knowledge, professionalism and integrity, at both the local and state levels.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in government, an Associate of Applied Science degree in criminal justice and a business and accounting degree. Isaacs has attended 40 law-enforcement schools, including the National Sheriffs’ Institute and the prestigious police institute in Louisville, Ky.

He is a recognized leader among sheriffs statewide, evidenced by his election as president of the Virginia State Sheriff’s Association and as president of the Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers.

Sheriff Isaacs has been extremely active and supportive of the Suffolk community. He serves on eight boards of directors and is a member of 13 local and state organizations.

Sheriff Isaacs’ knowledge of law enforcement and his ability to deal with people on all levels are critical parts of his effectiveness. He is a true leader — a visionary — and manages one of the most effective and efficient offices in Virginia. His breadth and depth of knowledge about the Sheriff’s Office are unparalleled.

Sheriff Isaacs is a fiscal conservative. During his tenure as sheriff, he has saved taxpayers more than $7 million by hiring experienced, certified, retired state and local police officers, thereby saving training costs, full-time salaries and fringe benefits.

No other sheriff to our knowledge uses retired officers to the degree that Isaacs does. We have one of the most knowledgeable and fiscally prudent sheriffs in Virginia, and we need to retain him.

Recently and without notice, the Western Tidewater Regional Jail faced the prospect of losing many of its federal prisoners. Had this occurred, it would have cost Suffolk taxpayers $2.3 million. Sheriff Isaacs immediately recognized that what was happening needed to be addressed at the highest political levels.

As a direct result of Isaacs’ insight, knowledge and leadership, he made recommendations as to how to deal with the situation, and it now appears almost certain the vast majority of those inmates will continue to be housed at WTRJ, ensuring the taxpayers of Suffolk will not have to pay the $2.3-million shortfall.

In contrast to Sheriff Isaacs’ wealth of knowledge, skills and law enforcement background, his opponents have no law enforcement supervisory, managerial or budgeting experience. Moreover, they do not seem to understand even the specific duties of the Sheriff’s Office and propose expensive fixes for problems that do not exist.

His opponents’ desires to be sheriff are comparable to a first-year teacher wanting to be the school superintendent.

Further, one of his opponents quit the Suffolk Police Department twice and, according to The Virginian-Pilot, called Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson her mentor. Enough said.

The Suffolk Professional Firefighters Association, the Suffolk Police Officers Association and The Virginian-Pilot all have endorsed Sheriff Isaacs. We join them and ask that you join us in voting for the re-election of Sheriff Raleigh H. Isaacs Sr. on Nov. 5.

C. Phillips Ferguson, Commonwealth’s Attorney

W. Randolph Carter Jr., Circuit Court Clerk

Thomas A. Hazelwood, Commissioner of the Revenue

Ronald H. Williams Sr., Treasurer