I worked at the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years, the last eleven as a sergeant on patrol. People need to compare and contrast these candidates and look at their actual experience and qualifications. Neil Kester has already shown leadership weakness by saying he will hire retired Staunton chief Butch Wells to help him run the department. He speaks of no supervisory experience, or budgeting experience. Donald Smith is immature, inexperienced, and it shows every time he speaks. I supervised him, and I can assure you what he portrays to the public is not how he truly is. Many deputies are afraid to weigh in on this race because of him. Both of these candidates have had to clarify statements, which should make people question just what they are actually saying.
Derek Almarode claims leadership in community policing, and K-9; Todd Lloyd asserts supervision in narcotics investigations, and warrant service. The community policing division has only one deputy, which is Almarode himself, and when I left in 2014 the K-9 units were assigned to work for patrol sergeants. Lloyd was one of two supervisors in the narcotics task force that had multiple people from different agencies assigned to it. He now serves as the sole supervisor over a warrant service team of at least four deputies, one of which is a K-9 handler.
Lloyd has worked in or with every division of the office, and supervised two. He has people that actually work under his direction, and he has working relationships with federal, state, and local agencies. Rest assured we need a sheriff who will be in control of the department, one who knows through experience how the department works and the knowledge to move it forward. Todd Lloyd is the clear choice; he will get my vote in November.
– Letter from Tony Shifflett/Augusta County