Last week, we invited the candidates running in competitive races in the June 20 Democratic primary to write a post about why Arlington residents should vote for them. Find information on how and where to vote here.
Below is the unedited response from James Herring, candidate for Arlington County Sheriff.
“Number of years of experience” – anyone who has applied for a job has seen these words and sat there mentally calculating a number to put down. In running for Sheriff, I have been questioned about my experience in a similar manner. In the case of my opponents, their years in office as middle-to-high-ranking deputies have been in a dysfunctional agency that’s unable to meet minimum standards of care for inmates, loses competent deputies, and has minimal connection to the community.
I am the only Sheriff’s Office outsider – and the Office needs a leader from outside now more than ever. Communities across the country are voicing ways that law enforcement needs to change, then electing those with decades of experience in the same system and expecting different results. I decided to run for the same reason I decided to join the police: I want to serve my community and help people. I entered this race after hearing and seeing (during my time as an Arlington Police Officer) the way those in our custody and the deputies providing their care have been mismanaged; it’s time Arlingtonians were made aware of the situation.
There have been eight in-custody deaths in the last ten years. These deaths have different circumstances, but one commonality: the Sheriff’s Office did not provide adequate care. Even after the most recently- concluded investigation, information has been withheld from the public on what (if anything) is being done to prevent deaths from occuring in the future. In addition to providing poor medical and mental health services, the jail’s low staffing levels mean that inmates are perpetually on lockdown; defense attorneys have approached me and expressed exasperation that this makes it extremely difficult to meet with their clients. This results in cases being continued unnecessarily, and people being held in jail longer – simply because the Sheriff has not prioritized their 6th Amendment rights. This means victims and defendants have to wait longer for their day in court; witnesses, attorneys, and judges have to constantly rearrange their schedule for a trial that could have long-since concluded, and the taxpayers have to foot the bill for someone whose outcome is needlessly deferred. This is unacceptable.
It is time we stop looking at how long someone has been doing the job, and instead look at what they’ve been doing with the job. My entire career has been in public service since the age of 18. I served in the Virginia National Guard for eight years, where I safely guided soldiers at the platoon level during an overseas deployment and acted as an executive officer for a light infantry company – learning how to lead as well as how to serve. I have trained rookie police officers on what it means to be a good cop for your community. I have been a police officer for nearly ten years, during which time I have learned patience and compassion for those who are likely having one of the worst days of their lives, and I have come to recognize they will continue to have those issues if we do not do everything we can to help them while they are in our care.
As Sheriff, I want to ensure that those in our custody are treated as an extension of the community so that when they are released they have a support system in place, preventing recidivism. We need in-house physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists to ensure those with mental health and medical issues receive the care they need. We need to connect them with community services, medicaid, and local job centers. We also need more help – the Deputies are overworked and underpaid. Collaborating with Arlington County Police Department, focusing on retention efforts, and making sure our Deputies are given competitive pay, benefits, and working hours are all ways we can improve.
Experience in a dysfunctional agency, in a culture that has stagnated over the years, is not the type of experience that encourages change – change that is needed vitally in the Sheriff’s Office. With your vote, I hope to make Arlington Sheriff’s Office an agency that can serve as a model for what ‘right’ looks like, and make Arlington the new standard for others to aspire to.
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About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to