Getting to Know Your Virginia Sheriffs – Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl S. Leonard
In January I formally announced that I am running for re-election as Chesterfield County’s Sheriff this November. In my 6 years of having the honor to serve as Chesterfield’s Sheriff, and more importantly Sheriff for its 380,000 citizens, we have had many significant accomplishments. Most notable of these being the creation a recovery program for addicts, HARP, which has received local, national, and worldwide recognition. To follow-on with its success, in September of 2018 this program which was originally established to address the opioid and heroin epidemic, was changed to help those with any and all addictions to include alcoholism.
While HARP has saved many lives, it does not singularly define the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office. It is but one of many programs initiated to help those entrusted to our care. While there are some genuine bad people who need to be incarcerated for long periods, I know that not all inmates are bad people and therefore we will continue to work on helping those individuals to become productive members of our society and help reduce recidivism which not only has impact on people’s lives but also the financial burden taxpayers must bear the burden of. In the last 5 years we have reduced our overall inmate population by over 500 saving Chesterfield taxpayers millions of dollars.
In 2018 we created the first ever K-9 Program in the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office and, after seeing very positive results, we will be expanding the program in 2019 within existing budget capabilities and without additional demand for taxpayer monies.
We will continue to operate our many community programs such as Seniors-In-Touch where qualified seniors in our community receive daily phone calls and/or visits from Sheriff’s Office personnel for updates on daily events, health and needs. This is just one of many community programs we have.
Last but certainly not least is to continue to work for the great men and women who make up this premiere organization. A very diverse and skilled group that I will continue to fight for what they deserve. Over the last three years we have made great strides with compensation, expanding career development, and creating a greater variety of assignments within the organization, yet there is more to do.
As Chesterfield County continues to grow and demands for service increase there’s more work to be done and I am asking to be re-elected to my second full, four-year term this fall so that I may continue to serve the citizens of Chesterfield County.
There are no words to describe the honor I had last night after being asked to read the names of the law enforcement officers who lost their lives in 2018 from the states of Utah, Vermont, and Virginia at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial’s 31st Annual Candlelight Vigil. Looking over the masses of law enforcement members and supporters on the National Mall was uplifting at a time we were recognizing the many ultimate sacrifices that were made. And meeting the families of many of those who lost loved ones was humbling to say the least. We are a Nation fortunate to have so many brave men and women who willingly enter a profession where not everyone will respect them, thank them, or even acknowledge them. But after events such as the candlelight vigil last night and the National Law Enforcement Memorial on the lawn of the US Capital today I remain even more in awe of everyone who serves in law enforcement and public safety. No matter what is said in front of the badge the heart of the person behind the badge will always be ready to protect and serve our communities. And for that we are blessed. As it is stated in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”.