How time has flown! It seems like it was only recently that Sheriff A. A. “Tony” Lippa, Jr. was elected to office, but we are rapidly approaching the end of his second 4-year term of office. When he was originally elected, his platform was that he thought the citizens needed a sheriff who was “…more responsive to the needs of its citizens.” The voters in 2004 agreed, granting Lippa 66% of the vote against a 12-year incumbent, then re-electing him by a 70% margin of victory during a three-way race in 2008. Lippa has decided to seek a third term of office.
When elected to his second term, Lippa had several stated goals, including starting more programs aimed at assisting the citizens of his adopted home for over 25 years, Caroline County. Chief amongst those goals were gaining accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. This was accomplished, and in fact the office is now in the process of preparing for its first re-accreditation.
For the first time in the history of our office, a member has been selected to attend the FBI National Academy. This management-level school is highly sought after, and attendees are not only from all over the US, but frequently from other countries. Attendees must apply and compete for slots in the school. Lieutenant Angel Lambert graduated from the 245th session of the FBI National Academy in June. In addition to being the first from the Caroline Sheriff’s Office to attend the FBI National Academy, Lieutenant Lambert also holds the distinction of being the first female supervisor in the history of the agency. Honing her management skills at this prestigious school will assist her in leading members of this office far into the future.
Other programs initiated since Lippa took office include Project Lifesaver, the program that provides mentally challenged residents who tend to wander off with a radio bracelet that specially trained deputies can find with tracking equipment. This program to date has been accomplished solely through donations – no taxpayer funds have been needed.
Also, Project Checkmate has been initiated. This program allows those who live alone to have daily contact with a member of the office to check on their well-being. Additionally, Caroline is now a member of the nationwide seniors program called TRIAD.
A grant-funded domestic violence investigator has been added to the cadre of sworn employees. This position, filled through our investigative division, handles virtually all domestic and sex related crimes occurring in our community. We were also able to secure funding for a full time DARE instructor in our schools.
Through some generosity and networking, the Caroline Sheriff’s Office canine program was resurrected during Lippa’s first term. In the past 8 years, we have had 3 narcotic canines, all of which were donated. Bringing the canine unit back to life has been a great idea, allowing us the added benefit of having the dogs for search warrants, school checks, and even everyday traffic stops.
When Lippa took office, no one in the agency was an intoxilyzer operator. This meant that every time a driving under the influence arrest was made, we had to rely on a trooper or a deputy from another agency meeting us at the regional jail to run our breath tests. Now, about 75% of our deputies are intoxilyzer operators, and we have had our own intoxilyzer machine installed in our office by the Department of Forensic Science. This has had the net effect of increasing our conviction rate for impaired drivers, since before a great deal of time was lost trying to locate an intoxilyzer operator. One of our employees has even been invited to attend an intoxilyzer instructor’s course.
Lippa also began a Caroline County Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy. This school, about to begin its third year, permits citizens to gain a better understanding and an appreciation of what local law enforcement is all about. Held at minimal cost using our own personnel as instructors, the class has been a true public relations tool, as well as increasing the interaction between our staff and our citizens.
Initially funded through grant monies and donations, Sheriff Lippa began the first ever Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) in Caroline History. The initial equipment and training was paid for by a grant, while most of the long arms were funded by the generous donation to the office from Mr. Bob Niccum, a Caroline resident and lifelong law enforcement supporter. The team, who train every month together, have been utilized on a number of search warrant and other high-risk assignments throughout Caroline.
3 years ago, Sheriff Lippa, a fitness buff himself, instituted annual fitness testing for all full time sworn appointees. Following a model from the Lawfit testing, each appointee completes in 6 fitness tests each April. The net effect is a more fit group of deputies serving the public. Employees who are more fit also statistically are injured less frequently and use less sick leave overall.
Every year since taking office, Sheriff Lippa has seen that the Caroline Sheriff’s Office is a big supporter of the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics. One of the few chief executives in Virginia to personally run with the torch each year, Lippa also sees that each deputy is provided with a Torch Run hat or t-shirt that is personalized with the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office logo and motto – “Community Committed – Service Oriented.”
Lippa commented, “When I ran for this office initially, I said this was what I wanted – to be community comitted and service oriented – the same initials as our department – CCSO. I later adopted a second slogan that we still strive for every day – “For a safer place to live, work and raise a family.”