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Browsing Posts tagged Mark Davis

Ron Speakman, Mike Chapman and Verne Dickerson at April 26 debate
I have a full plate today so no full “report” on last night’s debate, but will put down some random thoughts below and invite all who are interested to comment. (Photos by Matt Vecchio added at bottom of post).

Main impression: All three candidates – Ron Speakman, Mike Chapman and Verne Dickerson – presented themselves well, spoke cogently, and provided a couple hours of interesting, civil discussion before a packed conference room. I don’t know how many people but it was probably in the neighborhood of 100+ with standing room only … the photos may give a better idea. Anyway, it was the best-attended and most substantive local political event not conducted under party auspices in at least a couple years (based on personal experience). Nice work by the organizers!

Impressions of the candidates – in the order they were sitting:

Ron Speakman: Best public speaker of the three; he was the only one who had actual applause lines. He made some good points about management at the Sheriff’s Office – why DO they have so many deputies manning the metal detector? One of his challenges was to tell how his extensive stretch of time in the business world would translate to being a good sheriff, and I think he did that well by referring to the inherent, unique difficulties of being at the top of any large organization. His proposed “self-deportation” solution to illegal alien crime is unique and has rightfully received a good amount of discussion. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: Prior to the debate, I had heard from people who follow law enforcement issues that Ron’s numbers regarding the increases in various types of crime in Loudoun County may need to be fine tuned. He referenced a fair amount of data and I could not judge how much of it was accurate – he was corrected on one point by one of the other candidates. He seems to be a very clear-thinking individual and I would like to feel certain that his information has been double-checked.

Mike Chapman: One of his strongest arguments is the importance of recent service in law enforcement and experience in various levels from local to international, and he made it well; in the answers to a few questions he pointed out innovations of the past ten years that would come into play if he was the sheriff and practices he had seen elsewhere that could apply here. His closing statement, delivered without notes, was by far the strongest. As my neighbor noted, “he seems the most confident.” Because of my caveat regarding the next candidate, Mike seems to be the one who could best walk into the Sheriff’s Office and speak the same language as the deputies, and he noted he would look to promote from within. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: Sometimes Mike gives the appearance of having a clearer idea of what he wants to do than he is able to communicate, and sometimes when the question only requires a 10 second answer he will try not to waste the rest of the allotted time. Plenty of public speakers do this, and they don’t need to, in my opinion; there are probably coaches who say otherwise. Most of his law enforcement experience is beyond the local level which connotes both positives and negatives.

Verne Dickerson: On the difficult question of “what would you do to address youth crime?” he was the only one who had a really substantive answer – involving new programs, one in collaboration with retired athletes. Though soft-spoken, Verne projects that he knows what he is talking about, has a quiet confidence that I would imagine deputies would pick up on – he seems like a reticent public speaker but when he speaks he is articulate and makes perfect sense. For every question his response indicated he was competent to handle that issue. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: He needs to explain exactly what the deal is with Mark Davis (candidate who dropped out and is now supporting Verne, and brings the “recent, local experience” element). Unless I am missing something, I think Verne still has to spell out whatever the position is that Mark will hold, because otherwise the combining of resumes is confusing. As with Mike Chapman, Verne has to really explain the positive aspects of bringing experience primarily from other levels – in Verne’s case, FBI.

Photos of the individual candidates are by Loudoun County’s own renaissance man, Matt Vecchio of the Loudoun Times Mirror. Thanks, Matt!

Verne Dickerson, photo by Matt Vecchio

Ron Speakman, photo by Matt Vecchio

Mike Chapman, photo by Matt Vecchio

Mark Davis, candidate for the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Sheriff, held a campaign fundraising event on Saturday evening which brought 43 attendees to Market Salamander in Middleburg, Virginia.

Davis’ speech focused on what he considers key failures by Sheriff Steve Simpson over the past 10 years – most notably delays in addressing the gang problem in Loudoun County and participation by the Sheriff’s Office in the federal 287(g) immigration enforcement program. Davis took questions for almost 25 minutes after his 10 minute speech, covering a variety of topics including budget challenges, morale among the deputies, leadership in the Sheriff’s Office and the ongoing issue of criminal aliens in the county. Mark Davis is a decent public speaker but he shines in the Q & A format. He is very good speaking off the cuff, communicates a clear sense of what he wants to do as sheriff and gives the impression of not having to reach for answers, which I think will serve him well in the April 26 candidates’ debate.

You can hover your cursor over the photos for a partial list of who is in them and click on each for a larger version. Click here to see all the pictures from the event.

Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Crowd at Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Sheila Johnson Hosts Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Gary Clemens Welcomes Audience At Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Greg Stone Asks Question At Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Audience At Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

Dean Settle, Dennis Husch and Bob Wertz At Mark Davis Campaign Event In Middleburg

continue reading…

In the interest of keeping facts straight, this seems like a good time to provide a brief overview and timeline of the “civility pledge” issue in the Republican contest for the Loudoun County Sheriff nomination. As more people begin paying attention to the candidates they are likely to see references to the controversy. For the benefit of voters and also the four campaigns, it is to everyone’s benefit that going forward our conversations reference facts rather than suppositions.

In the first comment to a recent discussion thread, a local blogger asked why one of the candidates had not yet signed the civility pledge, and implied she had inside information that the pledge had been forwarded to one of the other campaigns. During the further discussion on that post, we have seen the suggestion that certain parties are permitted to refer to the controversy when they think appropriate, while others who do so are guilty of causing a distraction.

Some clarification obviously is needed. Here are the basic facts:

In late February 2011, the Mike Chapman campaign sent out a direct mail postcard that included a chart purporting to compare the four candidates’ qualifications for the office of sheriff. This campaign mailer depicted Mike Chapman’s qualifications as superior to those of the other three candidates.

For those who have not seen it, the campaign postcard is featured prominently on Mike Chapman’s Web site. (For a full size version of the card, click here).

On February 28, 2011, Verne Dickerson addressed the Loudoun County Republican Committee and criticized the Chapman postcard. Mr. Dickerson’s speech is reprinted in full on his campaign Web site. Regarding the postcard, Mr. Dickerson said:

…let me take care of a troubling issue:

I received a hand-addressed postcard in the mail from an opponent this past week. In a race that all candidates pledged would be clean and positive, this opponent sunk to a new low, skewing the truth to smear fellow Republicans.

To the one responsible: Shame on you.

Loudoun County and the Republican Party deserve better from its public servants, especially those that espouse an upgrade in professionalism. As an actual long-time citizen of Loudoun, I warn you that Loudouners can spot a hypocrite when they see one…

I will not slam my fellow Republicans without provocation. After all, I value my integrity…

On March 8, 2011, the Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson campaigns announced their civility pledge in a joint press release which can be found on the Mark Davis campaign Web site:

Davis and Dickerson Call For Civility in the Republican Nomination Process for Sheriff

Middleburg, Virginia — March 8, 2011 – Republican Sheriff’s candidates Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson have made a public pledge to run clean, positive campaigns in the race to be the next Sheriff of Loudoun County. In a joint statement, the candidates committed to providing the citizens with the information needed to make an informed decision on Election Day without the filth.

“When the Republican candidates met in January, we made a pledge to keep our campaigns positive. Today the campaigns of Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson reaffirm that commitment.

“The people of Loudoun County know that the Sheriff’s Office needs a change. We believe that the decision to elect the next Sheriff of Loudoun County is too important to allow slander and attacks to muddle the race.

“We stand together to reject the type of negative campaigning that divides fellow Republicans and demoralizes the electorate.”

On the morning of March 19, 2011, as noted above, a local blogger suggested that the civility pledge had been sent to candidate Ron Speakman requesting he sign on to the pledge.

As of March 22, there is no mention of the civility pledge on either Mr. Speakman’s Web site or Mr. Chapman’s Web site.

While the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Sheriff likely will be determined by how well each of the candidates present themselves to potential voters and talk about a variety of issues, the controversy over the civility pledge boils down to the simple question of whether one believes the Mike Chapman campaign postcard deserves a reprimand.

[UPDATE: New venue now listed.]

Via press release:

You are invited to the Loudoun County 2011 Sheriff’s Debate

Mike Chapman, Mark Davis, Verne Dickerson, Ron Speakman

April 26, 2011, Tuesday, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Executive Conference and Training Center
22685 Holiday Park Drive, Dulles, VA 20166

Sponsored by:
Loudoun County 912 Tea Party
Loudoun County Young Republicans
Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Virginia

The following just arrived from the Mark Davis For Sheriff campaign with the subject line “Integrity Matters”

March 18, 2011


If a Sheriff does not have integrity, nothing else he has or does matters much. Your sheriff must uphold the highest ethical standards. A large part of that is keeping your word when you have given it.

In 2007 Incumbent Sheriff Simpson faced a primary challenger. All candidates took an oath, and signed a statement, in which they pledged to support the Republican nominee.

As it was, Simpson lost the nomination at the 2007 Loudoun Republican Convention. He publicly conceded defeat and offered a motion of acclamation (affirming) his support for the nominee. Within hours he broke that pledge, and ran as an Independent.

I am a Republican because I am a conservative, and the home of conservatives is the Republican Party. The problems in our country are serious and getting worse. Government spending is out of control, resulting in unsustainable deficits. The problem isn’t just at the federal level, either, as several states are in trouble too. Government at all levels must learn to do more with less. We must manage our finances better at the federal, state and local levels.

As a Lieutenant in the sheriff’s department I saw poor management up close. There are problems with morale. The Adult Detention Center was built too small. There are too many unfilled positions, and those who have been recently hired are attending another academy and which and cost our taxpayers more money because we are not a participating agency of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy.

I pledge to be a Sheriff who brings change to the department. I will uphold the highest standards of integrity, I will seek to do more with less, and I manage the department in a way that will make Loudoun citizens proud. For more information on me, or if you would like to help my campaign, click here.


Mark Davis

Republican Candidate for Sheriff

The email press release below just arrived from the Mark Davis For Loudoun County Sheriff campaign, apparently as a joint effort with the Verne Dickerson campaign.

While the press release gives no details of any “filth” or “slander and attacks” that may have given rise to the statement, there was an instance at the recent Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting in which Mr. Dickerson took issue with a direct mail piece that had been circulated in late February. That same controversy could be the reason for this joint statement.

If there are any public statements on this matter from either of the other Loudoun County Sheriff campaigns – of Mike Chapman and Ron Speakman – they will be reprinted here at NVTH.

Davis and Dickerson Call For Civility in the Republican Nomination Process for Sheriff

Middleburg, Virginia — March 8, 2011 – Republican Sheriff’s candidates Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson have made a public pledge to run clean, positive campaigns in the race to be the next Sheriff of Loudoun County. In a joint statement, the candidates committed to providing the citizens with the information needed to make an informed decision on Election Day without the filth.

“When the Republican candidates met in January, we made a pledge to keep our campaigns positive. Today the campaigns of Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson reaffirm that commitment.

The people of Loudoun County know that the Sheriff’s Office needs a change. We believe that the decision to elect the next Sheriff of Loudoun County is too important to allow slander and attacks to muddle the race.

We stand together to reject the type of negative campaigning that divides fellow Republicans and demoralizes the electorate. Instead, we promise to run clean, constructive campaigns that focus on the important issues. Our campaigns will feature our backgrounds, experiences and visions for the future of the Sheriff’s Office. We will challenge each other fairly and with respect.

By running positive campaigns, we will keep the focus on repealing and replacing the incumbent Sheriff and ensuring a Republican victory in November.”

# # #

Davis Campaign: Caleb Weitz 703-408-5043
Dickerson Campaign: David Wachsman 703-828-7549

NOVA TownHall is conducting interviews with the candidates for the office of Loudoun County Sheriff in the 2011 elections. The first interviews are with the Republican candidates. NOVA TownHall will offer the same opportunity to any Democratic candidates for sheriff who may enter the race, and also extends an open invitation to Sheriff Steve Simpson to be interviewed and to rebut any criticisms which may be leveled against him on these pages.

Click here to read the interview with candidate Verne Dickerson.

Click here to read the interview with candidate Ron Speakman.

Click here to read the interview with candidate Mike Chapman.

[Editor's note: Mr. Davis has withdrawn from the race for the Republican nomination].

Click here to learn more about Mark Davis at his campaign Web site.

NVTH: Why do you want to be Sheriff?

Mark Davis: I want to be sheriff because I see a problem in Loudoun that needs to be solved, and that problem is a broken Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department. I have the skills, the experience, and the knowledge to fix the problem and transform the Sheriff’s Department into a 21st century crime-fighting unit that our citizens can be proud of.

NVTH: How long have you lived in Loudoun County?

Mark Davis: My parents, brother, sister and I moved to Round Hill in 1972.  I graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 1978.  I attended Criminal Justice classes at Northern Virginia Community College and began working for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in December of 1980. I joined the Leesburg Police Department in July of 2004 and am currently a Sergeant in the Patrol Division.

My wife, Betsy and I were married 20 years ago, and we live in Middleburg with our youngest daughter, Lauren, who is in college studying Criminal Justice… following in my footsteps!  Betsy has lived in Middleburg all of her life and is currently the Mayor.  We have raised 3 wonderful daughters here and now have 3 precious grandchildren…. we are blessed.

NVTH: Why are you more qualified than the other Republican candidates?

Mark Davis: I am the only candidate who is an active duty police officer in Loudoun County. I was with the Loudoun Sheriff’s department for 23 years and have been a Leesburg Police officer for 6 years. What this means is that I have known the problems we face for a long time, and I’ve been working on solutions for them for years. I can hit the ground running with solutions to protect the people you care about.

In addition, I am the only candidate that has the experience in all areas of the Sheriffs’ office. I am the only candidate that has the experience in the Constitutional areas (Court Security / Civil Process / Jail) and has actually worked with our Loudoun County Constitutional officers.

I have been a patrol officer, and as a sergeant I currently supervise patrol officers. I also did this when I was with the Sheriff’s department. I was a 2nd Lieutenant at the Adult Detention Center. I have worked courtroom security, served warrants, and was even an instructor Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy for seven years.

In addition, I have worked inmate transportation and, of course, traffic enforcement.

Not only that, but I have also been a certified EMT Shock – Trauma Technician. I started out with the Round Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, and when Betsy and I moved to Middleburg I joined the Middleburg Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. Also along these lines I am a founding member of the Sheriff’s Office Underwater Search and Recovery Team.

Why is this important? Because the Sheriff’s Department and EMT teams need to work together, and only a sheriff with experience in both departments can understand the problems unique to each and the challenges inherent in coordinating operations in difficult environments.

What my experience in Loudoun also means is that I know the problems we have with crime in all parts of the county. I am also already intimately familiar not only with the inner workings of the sheriff’s department, but with the Leesburg Police Department, which is the largest police department in Loudoun.

Because of my experience throughout the count and my experience in all areas of law enforcement, I have a plan to bring reform to everything the sheriff’s department is responsible for.

My solutions are therefore Loudoun-specific. I will not need any “on the job training.”

NVTH: Why are you a Republican?

Mark Davis: I am a Republican because I am a conservative, and the home of conservatives is the Republican Party. At both the national and local levels we see governments whose tax and spend ways are out of control. Government just gets bigger and bigger, and wants more and more tax money. We’re running deficits that are unsustainable. We need to lower taxes and reign in government. We are even seeing it here locally.  The tax and spend liberals on the board of supervisors keep trying to raise our taxes and restrict our freedom. This must change.

Other issues are important to me also. I am pro-life. I grew up around guns, and have done a lot of hunting, so the Second Amendment means a lot to me. We’ve got to do something to control our borders. We have had several horrible crimes committed by criminal illegal aliens in Loudoun and nearby. This cannot continue.

NVTH: Why do you think Steve Simpson should be replaced as sheriff?

Mark Davis: You can break it down into two areas: integrity and poor management. I’ll go over each one.

We saw in the 2007 election that Steve Simpson ran for the nomination as a Republican, but switched to an Independent after he lost. This violated the explicit pledge that he and all of the other candidates made, and that pledge was that they would support their party’s nominee.

More recently is the Osama El-Atari affair. In 2007 and 2008 Simpson accepted some $35,000 from Osama El-Atari as part of his reelection campaign. In August of 2010, Mr. El-Atari was convicted of multiple accounts of bank fraud and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He had defrauded investors out of $71 million total from banks around the country.

Worse, approximately $15,000 of those contributions was made in May of 2008, during the very time El-Atari was engaged in his criminal activities.

Rather than do the right thing and immediately donate the money to charities, Simpson did nothing. It was only after a sternly worded editorial in the Loudoun Times Mirror, begging Simpson to give the money back, for him to do anything. On December 9, 2010, Simpson gave $15,000 of the money to local charities rather than to the people from whom it was stolen.

These and many more things call into question Sheriff Simpson’s integrity.

Second is poor management. It’s well known that there are problems with morale in the department. Not too long ago there were 56 unfilled positions. Some have been filled mostly to work in the Jail. However, those hires are attending another academy which cost our taxpayers more money because we are not a participating agency of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy. The point is that many positions within the department are unfilled, and there seems to be little urgency to filling them. Loudoun citizens deserve a fully staffed Sheriff’s Office.

The county jail, or “Adult Detention Center,” as it’s called, is too small. This is inexcusable, and was the result of poor planning.

NVTH: If elected, what are your top priorities?

Mark Davis: My first priority is to restore integrity to the Sheriff’s office. I’ve covered the problems in that area in your previous question.

Second, gangs are a problem in Loudoun County. Citizens are worried because gangs are dangerous and they can infiltrate our schools and threaten our children. I have an aggressive strategy that targets gangs and their members.

Part of my strategy to fight gangs is to identify who they are, where they live, and what criminal activity they are engaged in. By removing the threat of gangs we remove a large part of the drug problem. We also secure the safety of our children at their schools and on the playground. And we bring security to business owners who will lose customers if gang members are known to hang out near their places of business.

Third, criminal illegal aliens threaten all of us. In 2007 Sheriff Simpson was urged to implement the 287(g) ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) program, but stalled for months before finally doing so. And when he did, his efforts were half-hearted and seemed more the result of a calculated effort to salvage his political future than a true commitment.

The 287(g) program benefits counties such as Loudoun because it allows us to identify those illegal immigrants our officers encounter while performing their standard law-enforcement duties. These criminal illegal aliens can be handed over to ICE for deportation where appropriate.

We have had several instances in and around Loudoun County where criminal illegal aliens have committed heinous crimes. We need to do a better job of identifying and detaining these people so as to prevent these outrages.

I know how important the 287(g) program is, and as your Sheriff I will make sure that this program is fully funded and operational.

Finally, Cyber-Crime is a major concern of mine. The citizens need to be informed of current trends & scams so they can keep themselves well protected. Hosting community shred events will help.

Although there are filters on most email programs, we have still received the emails; the request for your email password so as to as “to update our records,” the African banking official who needs information about your bank account so he can wire some vast sum to you, or the email that looks like it came from your own bank and which requests specific personal information… but just doesn’t look right.

It’s hard to know who to turn to when you’re not sure what’s real and what’s a scam. To help citizens answer these questions, I will host Cyber security & Cyber Crime forums and have a hot line so citizens can call and speak with a qualified detective on the topic.

We need to bring modern law enforcement to Loudoun County, and that means recognizing and addressing the most modern methods that criminals use.