Culpeper Town Police Chief Chris Jenkins seemingly violated the town's personnel policy manual by appearing in uniform on town property in a new television political advertisement, endorsing Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger for reelection.
The ad, called "Shocked," shows Jenkins, a Republican, endorsing Spanberger for reelection in Virginia’s 7th District in his chief uniform at the Culpeper Town Police Station.
To view the full ad, go online to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_9gdagCqG4.
Culpeper Town Policy 4.3. outlines perimeters for political activity both appropriate and not for town employees.
The applicable subsection of the policy in this instance is outlined in section C.
"Town employees may participate in political activities while they are off duty, out of uniform and not on the premises of their employment with the Town...Town employees shall not engage in other political activities while in Town uniforms or clothing. Employees shall not engage in political activities while performing official duties for the Town or use any Town property or equipment to engage in political activity."
In a statement provided by Town Manager Chris Hively, the council recognized the purported violation.
The full statement:
"It has come to the Town of Culpeper’s attention that an employee of the Town has publicly endorsed a political candidate in political advertisements while wearing a town uniform and while on the premises of their employment with the Town.
Although Town employees may participate in political activities, they are prohibited from doing so while they are on duty, in uniform or on the premises of their employment with the Town to minimize any appearance of endorsement by the Town of Culpeper.
The opinions expressed by this employee are his personal opinions and are not endorsed by the Town of Culpeper. The Town of Culpeper does not endorse any political candidates.
The employee has been informed of this policy and directed to cease any activity not in compliance with this policy."
According to the policy, there is no specified disciplinary action. However, since this is a "personnel matter," Hively continued, he cannot discuss due to labor laws.
Jenkins was unable to be reached for comment by press time.