Of the Constitutional Officers elected by the citizens of Botetourt County, it is the office of sheriff that is likely to impact individual voters the most. Leadership in law enforcement is many times more complex than when I began my career in 1995. Add to that the expanse of responsibility the sheriff of a full- service agency such as ours entails (jail, law enforcement, civil process, court security), and it should be clear that the task awaiting our next sheriff is not an easy one.
I believe that Jeff Stritesky is the best candidate to replace Sheriff Sprinkle. Qualifications are easy to measure and you can see those on his resume posted on his website. Rather than waste space repeating this, I would like to speak to the personal characteristics that I think are an even better judge of his abilities to serve in this office.
Leaders must be good communicators. While it’s not intended this way, sheriffs are often the most visible public representatives of their community. They must be able to advocate for their deputies and relay critical information to the public, often in times of extreme crisis. I have witnessed Jeff’s ability to communicate effectively in public many times and served along with him as a crisis/hostage negotiator where he is trusted to be the point of contact to people in potentially violent, high stress situations.
Leaders must be good at leading people. Seems obvious, but it should be stated that Jeff has positive experience as a leader. Even more telling than the position one holds is what one does with the opportunity of leadership. As a result of his performance, Jeff’s responsibilities have increased over time. He has advanced in rank and responsibility and the functions he has charge over have performed well.
Leaders must possess and value high integrity. This is even more important in law enforcement where they are entrusted with great authority. While I firmly believe that “good cops” far outnumber “bad cops,” the damaging effect of the bad actors is tremendous. For those of us who have worn a badge it is especially shameful to see it tarnished by those abusing the trust placed in them. I’ve served alongside Jeff for nearly my entire career and I know that his first priority is to take the right path over the easy one. I know Jeff to be a man of high integrity and he will run an office that puts integrity and accountability first.
It was my privilege to have served the people of Botetourt for 21 years as a sheriff’s deputy. My duties took me to many agencies around the state to evaluate them for the purpose of accreditation. I saw communities benefiting from good leadership and also observed the tremendous cost of its absence. I genuinely want what is best for our community as well as the people of this office as they have meant so much to me. I endorse and support Jeff Stritesky for sheriff. I hope you’ll join me in voting for him on June 11.
Botetourt County Deputy Sheriff, 1995-2016