Prince William County Sheriff Glen Hill is seeking a fifth term on the ballot Nov. 5. He is being challenged by Democrat Josh King and independent candidate Rhonda Dickson.
The sheriff ’s office provides security at the county’s courthouse, transports prisoners and patients and serves civil paperwork, including subpoenas and eviction notices, according to the office website. The sheriff ’s jurisdiction includes the county, the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and the towns of Dumfries, Occoquan, Quantico and Haymarket.
The sheriff’s office budget for fiscal year 2020, which started July 1, is more than $11.8 million, according to the county’s budget. The office has about 106 employees.
In fiscal year 2018, deputies served 71,694 civil process papers, transported 2,673 prisoners, and transported another 1,317 people with mental health illness. In fiscal year 2020, the sheriff’s office budgeted to complete 80,000 civil process papers, transportation for 4,500 prisoners, and transportation of another 2,500 people with mental health illness.
Hill was first elected sheriff in 2003. The Army veteran has more than five decades of experience in law enforcement in the county and Manassas.
King is a deputy sheriff in Fairfax County, a general law enforcement instructor and also an Army veteran. He ran in the Democratic primary for Virginia delegate representing the 2nd House District in 2017 and narrowly lost his bid for the same seat in the general election in 2015.
Dickson’s law enforcement experience includes working for Prince William County Police Department and the county’s sheriff’s office. She is an Air Force veteran and previously served in the Air National Guard.
Hill and Dickson support the county’s program that checks the immigration status of people who are arrested, holding detainees indefinitely if requested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Hill, who has been chair of the jail board for nine years, renewed the agreement this year. He previously said the jail board could vote to get rid of the program, but the sheriff alone couldn’t end the program.
Hill said if a federal agent asks for assistance, “as long as I’m sheriff, I will assist them.”
King said as a member of the jail board, he would advocate to end the program and would work with the board of county supervisors to stop funding the program.
He said the county is one of only two in Virginia that cooperate directly with ICE. He said the program targets immigrants, who are often minorities, and he believes in keeping people safe, but he doesn’t support the program, because it is costly and pulls families apart.
If re-elected, Hill said he would continue to focus on his office’s mission and support local leaders and other public safety agencies. He also said his priority is to recruit, retain and train qualified personnel.
“I will use my leadership skills to continue to operate the sheriff’s office in a cost-effective manner,” he said. “Public safety, enforcement and providing meaningful programs to the community will still be a priority.”
Dickson said she would push to get body cameras for sheriff deputies. The sheriff ’s office staff said getting body cameras for deputies is a budget goal in coming years.
Dickson said she would establish a grievance policy for deputies who are disciplined or fired.
She said this would improve the working environment for deputies.
She supports getting a bomb and drug detecting canine to enhance courthouse security. She said she would seek federal grant money for that.
If elected, Dickson said she is committed to serving no more than two terms. She said she would aim to prepare someone else to run for sheriff after she served.
She said when deputy vehicles are replaced, she would search out for vehicles that have better A/C and heat for the backseat.
King said he would improve training for deputies to interact with people with special needs.
He said he would work on improving trust between law enforcement and the community. He said he would hold events to build that trust with kids and the community.