January 10, 2015
I have enjoyed the past 7 years serving as Sheriff of Albemarle County and will seek the office again this November. I anticipate this will be the last time I run for public office.
When I ran for office in 2011, I promised to do the following 5 things (in blue). I feel that I have stayed true to those promises. If re-elected this year, I promise to continue to work on these same promises.
Continue to deliver top-notched services of the current office to the citizens of Albemarle County. Keep core service delivery at a high level, stay accredited and always look for ways to expand our enhanced programs with our volunteer workforce.
Recently Sheriff Harding said he is very pleased to know that professional outside assessors have taken a close look at the policies and practices of the Sheriff’s Office and found that they are acceptable to the VLEPSC high standards. The accreditation team leader reported that not a single file (of 190) needed a correction. He said this high degree of compliance occurs in less than one percent of the agencies reviewed. The Albemarle Sheriff’s Office is one of only 10 in the State of Virginia (out of 123) that has been accredited for 12 years or more. Less than 20% of Virginia’s 400 plus law enforcement agencies have received VLEPSC accreditation. See report summary below.
We passed all state financial audits with no problems noted.
Our Search and Rescue Volunteers contributed 2,000 hours to the Search for Hannah Graham and hundreds more to other searches over the past four years.
Continue to improve Virginia’s largest Reserve Division Programs. Almost all of the programs could be improved with additional financing. We have developed a new Albemarle Sheriff’s Office Foundation” and hope to develop a strategic fund raising plan developed by this summer.
We expanded our Sworn Reserve Division to 60 members – keeping it the Largest of any Sheriff’s Office in VA. They contributed approximately 60,000 hours over the past 4 years. They assist around the court rooms and they oversee our community programs.
Our Foundation has in the past 3 years raised over $125,000.00. We now have a large, well furnished command trailer and truck to pull it obtained from contributions. This year we are increasing funding to Project Lifesaver and buying ballistic vest for the reserves.
Continue to champion the expansion of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Expand and improve our awareness and education efforts while encouraging local, state and federal government to contribute more assets to address this growing safety concern for our children.
We developed continue to provide educational/prevention programs upon request.
Continue working towards implementation of an expanded inmate workforce. I think we are getting close to the implementation of a new and expanded “Inmate Workforce Program.” I will continue to work to try and win the approval of all seven local judges. They are the ones with the legal authority to implement the program in their respective courts.
I facilitated this initiative and it was implemented in 2012. It allows certain qualifying non-violent inmates to work and receive credit towards their court cost and fines. The jail reports that over $150,000.00 in credits have been approved for work to date.
Continue the support of proper and expanded use of DNA technology and the DNA Databank in identifying criminals and freeing the innocent. I will champion databank expansion. I will try to find ways to assist the “Innocence Project” in insuring law enforcement/prosecutors learn from mistakes made in the past that caused innocent citizens to be wrongfully convicted.
I assisted in the investigation that freed Mike Hash after he had pulled a decade in the penitentiary l for a Culpeper murder. Federal Judge Turk stated in his conclusion “the court is disturbed by the miscarriage of justice that occurred in this case and finds Hash’s trial is an example of an “extreme malfunction in the state criminal justice system.”
I have been pushing statewide initiatives for DNA Databank expansion and for a Justice Commission to use lessons learned from DNA exoneration cases to improve criminal justice practices.
Sheriff Chip Harding
Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office
411 E. High Street
Charlottesville, Va 22902