Ronnie Sprinkle announced this week he will not seek re-election for a sixth term as Sheriff of Botetourt County.
“It just time for me to move on,” he said. “Being a leader, you’ve got to step up, and also you have to know when it’s time to step down.
“I’ve enjoyed the support of the people I’ve gotten over the years, and I appreciate them allowing me to do this,” he continued. He said not running next year was not an easy decision.
Sprinkle, who turns 60 years old in March, has spent his life around law enforcement— the past 20 years as sheriff. He also grew up in a law enforcement household. His father, Norman Sprinkle, served as Botetourt County Sheriff for more than 30 years before retiring in 1991.
Sprinkle was elected to his first term in the November 1999 General Election. He’s an FBI Academy graduate, was a Botetourt deputy, then worked for the Salem City Police Department prior to being elected sheriff.
While he has another year on the job, he wanted to let the community know that it will be his last so others interested in running will have a chance to consider doing that.
What he will do when 2019 ends is “decompress,” he said. “I’m looking forward to changing gears… to have more time with my wife, daughter and my dog.”
When asked about the changes since taking office in January 2000, he said “Growth; that continues to come. You don’t have as many true Botetourt people that we used to.”
There are a lot of people from other areas, he said, that bring ideas of how they think things should be.
“Still, it’s a relatively quiet county…. Botetourt is a good county.”
He said he would like to see the Sheriff’s Department continue in the same direction, which includes being accredited. The department has been accredited for the past 20 years and is going through the process for another accreditation.
He doesn’t take credit for the department accomplishments. “It’s not just me,” he said. “Anything that’s been accomplished here is attributed to everybody here. It’s been a collaborative effort,” he continued. “I appreciate the work these folks have done the last 20 years. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
When he first became sheriff, he said he realized the existing jail posed a lot of problems. It was built to house 35 prisoners but had 100 to 115 folks in the jail at any given time.
With the help of the county administration and then State Sen. Bo Trumbo, the county got some state funding to build what is a regional public safety building with Craig County.
He said the department has been able to upgrade its technology, too. “We’re pretty much on the cutting edge of technology now,” he said.
He also worked on the state level to get hazardous duty pay for deputies, and he said the department has been able to provide better training.
When ask about a possible successor, he said he’s uncertain if he will become involved. There have been rumblings in the community about department officers who may seek election, and Mike Vineyard of Troutville started campaigning for the office earlier this year.
Besides picking a new sheriff, next fall Botetourt voters will also chose a Commonwealth’s attorney, commissioner of the revenue and treasurer. The House of Delegates’ seats and State Senate seat will be up for election. Also, voters in the Blue Ridge, Valley and Fincastle Election Districts will pick Board of Supervisors and School Board representatives. Town of Troutville voters will also elect three council members.