Ahead of this November’s election, WYDaily is sending out questionnaires to some candidates in contested races across the Historic Triangle.
This week is the election for the Williamsburg-James City County Sheriff.
WJCC voters will see three names on the ballot for sheriff on Nov. 5: Gerald Mitchell, Sean P. Gormus and David J. Hardin.
WYDaily is publishing questionnaires filled out by each candidate Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All questionnaires were sent at the same time, and all were given exactly three days to fill out their answers.
Candidates were required to keep their answers to 100 words each. The returned questionnaires have not been edited by WYDaily staff.
Publication is determined by the order in which questionnaires were returned
Here are Gerald Mitchell’s answers.
Why do you want to become sheriff?
I have chosen to run for sheriff in order to offer greater options to the citizens of James City County and the City of Williamsburg. Traditionally speaking the role of the Sheriff is not confined to law and order, but it incorporates community advocacy, and sees the Sheriff as more of a holistic Supporter in Chief. The citizenry must feel competent in the abilities of its constitutional officer’s to not only meet the minimum requirements of their job, but I believe they want to feel safe in knowing that their government will be there for them should the time come.
What is your plan for community outreach? How will you increase the amount of community involvement and engagement with the department’s law enforcement?
A major portion of my vision involves meeting the mandates of the Sheriff’s office, as well as creating opportunities that a enable our deputies to gain entry into the various communities throughout WJCC. Youth initiatives, Veteran’s Give Back, Senior Safety Education and other special function advocacy programs are all matters I plan to explore as mechanisms for the Sheriff’s office to become more involved throughout all of WJCC.
What are you going to do to improve the relationship between law enforcement and minorities in Williamsburg-James City County?
One of the most important factors in the role of law enforcement is to show up, in-particularly, show up ready to work. I have sat and spoke with many members of the minority community, one of the biggest takeaways noted was that the Sheriff just hasn’t shown up. I will stand alongside the many civic stakeholder’s from in-and around WJCC and participate, as well as, show my support for community action and involvement. We cannot expect others to do the heavy lifting in our communities, we all must go into our neighborhoods and provide hope for the current generation and*
Do you think there is room for improvement in the Williamsburg-James City County Sheriff’s Office when it comes to transparency as an elected official and publicly-funded department? If there is room for improvement, what will you do to make it better?
With concerns of transparency, if clarification of a given matter is needed, then there is always room for improvement. Every citizen should feel that their tax dollar is being used in the most efficient and effective matter. Under my administration we will endeavor to make our neighborhoods as safe as possible. It is of utmost importance that the WJCC keeps and maintains the confidence of the public, if the trust and or confidence of the Sheriff’s Office is ever jeopardized, I will progressively seek a solution to the matter in order to restore the bond between the Sheriff’s Office and*
What are you doing to retain the “best of the best” employees and deputies with the sheriff’s office?
Training, training, training an old military adage that remains imprinted in my thoughts. I would never-ever plan on militarizing the Sheriff’s office, however from my standpoint I can see what appears to be a lack of engagement regarding training. It is paramount that we afford our deputy’s the opportunity to seek greater fulfillment in their careers, as well as overall work and home quality of life. We must also ensure that we provide access up-to-date tools, technologies and techniques to help equip our entire staff with the very best, in order to excel in the performance of their duties.
*Editor’s note: Each candidate was given a 100-word limit per question. If they exceeded that limit, the response was cut at the 100-word mark.
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe.
Alexa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.