Copy of Page 18 Opinion Alborn Column Hill.jpg

Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill waves to spectators at a Lake Ridge parade in 2018.

Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill has been on my radar for an interview for quite a while. I sat down with Hill and his chief deputy, Terry Fearnley, at their courthouse headquarters to explore his career and learn about the office he manages.

Hill has won the past five elections for sheriff making him the longest serving current elected official in the county. I asked Hill what his “secret sauce” is. He declined to take any credit, instead passing on responsibility for his success to his team. The “secret sauce,” according to Hill, is to hire and surround yourself with good people.

Hill stressed that close contact between the sheriff’s office and the community it serves is important. You see the sheriff or his staff members at pretty much every county event. For example, this interview started as a conversation with Fearnley at the Equality Prince William Pride 2021 event in Manassas, where he and other deputies were manning a booth.

Hill is a fellow veteran. He joined right out of high school, and served with the U.S. Army Security Agency at Vint Hill. Hill credits his time in the Army with preparing him for his law enforcement career. Over five decades, he has literally watched the town of Manassas become a city and Prince William evolve from a rural community to the busy urban county it has become today.  

The sheriff is the only locally elected constitutional law enforcement officer in Virginia and is chosen by the citizens every four years. The duties of the sheriff are not spelled out in any one document, law or regulation.  

Hill said he has an excellent working relationship with the county and city governments and the police departments that serve them. In Prince William, the local police departments focus on criminal matters, while the sheriff’s office focuses on civil matters.

That being said, deputy sheriffs have full law enforcement powers and rise to the occasion when they see criminal activity. Anyone wishing to do a “deep dive” into the Prince William Sheriff’s Office should check out it FY2020 Annual Report.

Fearnley is Hill’s number two. He has been with the sheriff’s office over 28 years. In a private moment, I asked Fearnley what it was like working for Hill. Fearnley shared that he has attended a number of law enforcement schools over the years, including the FBI National Academy, but the “Glen Hill school of management” is the best education he has ever received. His education isn’t over yet.

The sheriff’s office is hiring. Hill stressed that the office needs to continually expand to keep up with the county’s growth. If you want to become part of Hill’s team, check out its employment opportunities. Volunteer opportunities are also available.  

The Glen Hill school of management is open for business and looking for new students.  From what I observed, it may be one of the best schools of management that someone aspiring for a career in law enforcement might attend.

Thank you, Sheriff Hill, and the members of the Prince William Sheriff’s Office for your service.

Al Alborn is an award-winning columnist and member of the Virginia Press Association. His column appears every other week. You can learn more about Al at and LinkedIn.


(2) comments

Ralf Bee

20 years ago we first moved here to PWC and it was very nice. Now, I can not say that. The reasons are most obvious. We will be departing soon. Sad.

Fix Prince William

Between the continued rampant growth from the Demo-rats on the BOCS, and the police shaming from the liberals, can't imagine this is an easy job to be in. Police Academy enrollment is dropping nation wide. Not good!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.