York-Poquoson Sheriff Q&A: Danny Diggs

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York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. "Danny" Diggs (Courtesy YPSO)
York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs (Courtesy YPSO)

WYDaily sent a questionnaire to incumbent York-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs, who is running unopposed for re-election.

Diggs’ answers are unedited and presented here.

The election takes place Nov. 3.

1. What are the three priorities for your office for the next sheriff’s term? How would you address those priorities?

Continue to enhance community respect and trust.

Continue to ensure that we do the best that we can do to reduce crime, keep our citizens safe, and increase the quality of life in York and Poquoson.

Continue training to increase our awareness of the latest trends and enhance our capabilities.

2. What do you believe to be the role of the sheriff?

The role of the Sheriff is to lead the members of the Sheriff’s Office and ensure that we are held to the highest standards. It is the Sheriff’s duty to set a positive example for the deputies to follow and to be out in the community talking and listening to our citizens concerns. Lastly, having sworn to uphold the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions, it is my job to ensure that everyone rights are upheld, especially those contained in the Bill of Rights.

3. What do you believe to be the role of the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office in the community?

It is our duty to serve and protect the citizens of York County and Poquoson. While doing that, one of our goals is to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. When we do that, the community realizes that and they in turn treat us likewise. This mutual respect builds trust between law enforcement and the community. If a difficult and controversial incident occurs, community tension is avoided or reduced.

4. York-Poquoson Sheriff’s deputies began using body cameras in the midst of a national discussion on the issue. How has the equipment improved the department, if at all?

We had been exploring the use of body cameras and had started to acquire them before some controversial events occurred across the country. We were already an agency with high moral and ethical standards, so the improvement has been small. It does seem that complaints have been reduced and many are withdrawn after the complainant is made aware that they were recorded. It makes it very difficult to file a false complaint. The body cameras have given us the opportunity to prove to any doubters that we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability

5. YPSO received mixed feedback from the community for acquiring an MRAP, or an armored vehicle, last year. How has the MRAP been used by the department? Do you see a need for more military equipment at the local level? Why or why not?

While the feedback was mixed, it was overwhelming supportive of the MRAP. It is entirely a defensive piece of equipment and we have not used it (other than training in its operation) and hope that we never have to use it. There are many uses for surplus military equipment at the local level. However, law enforcement everywhere must realize that there are limitations to its use. That’s why mutual trust and respect is so important.

6. What kind of measures are you going to take to maintain or improve the level of safety for York County and Poquoson citizens?

We will continually hold ourselves to the highest community standards. We will continue to train to be the best that we can be. We work hard to use technology to our advantage to be as efficient as possible. We currently work well with our neighboring localities, sharing resources and information in an effort to reduce criminal activity.