Home The role of sheriff: Augusta County sheriff candidates discuss different ideas toward running office

The role of sheriff: Augusta County sheriff candidates discuss different ideas toward running office


augusta-county2editsThe Augusta County Sheriff’s Office has a roughly $6 million annual operating budget and 83 employees, and its products and services are in demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

At the head of the flow chart is the sheriff, who would be the president or CEO if the sheriff’s office was a business with a similar budget and staffing.

How the sheriff should approach running the office has come up as a matter of discussion between the four candidates in the Nov. 3 election.

To Derek Almarode, a 21-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, the job is “specifically administrative.”

“Yes, there are times that I want to be in the public, and will be in the public. But to be in the public every day, for instance, in a patrol setting, it doesn’t work like that. You are an administrator of an enormous agency, and that’s an enormous responsibility,” Almarode said.

Donald Smith, a 12-year veteran of the agency, has a different view.

“No organization runs because a CEO-type person sits behind a desk,” Smith said. “Whatever kind of organization you’re talking about, a corporation, an agency, whatever, that person needs to be engaged. If you’re not engaged with the people who work in the day-to-day operations, you don’t know who’s doing the job, who to promote, what the problems are.

“You need to have your finger on the pulse of the organization to know how to make it run,” Smith said.

Todd Lloyd leans more toward the engagement side of the leadership equation.

“I plan to have an open door policy, not only for the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, but also for the public,” said Lloyd, a 19-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. “I want the residents of Augusta County to believe that their opinions matter. I will lead by example, and will encourage the members of our department to become active in various organizations throughout the community and will urge all employees to lend a helping hand to others whenever possible.

“Encouraging my staff to go out and engage themselves with the citizens and business owners of this county is beneficial for everyone. These actions build community relations, trust, and show the community that we truly care,” Lloyd said.

Neil Kester is also on the side of being a more publicly visible sheriff.

“We’ve got to get the community involved in what we do, make ourselves more visible,” said Kester, a senior conservation officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “And that’s from the sheriff on down. That builds the public trust, and it makes our job easier. We have to work hand in hand with our community.”

– Story by Chris Graham



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