Governor McAuliffe named ‘Honorary Virginia Sheriff’

VSA President and Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan, Governor Terry McAuliffe and VSA Executive Director John W. Jones

Governor Terry McAuliffe has been named an ‘Honorary Virginia Sheriff’ by the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association. “This is a first time a governor has been recognized at an annual meeting as an ‘Honorary Sheriff.’ The sheriffs expressed appreciation to the governor for keeping his promises on funding and public safety policies,” said VSA Executive Director John W. Jones.

Comments from John W. Jones, Executive Director, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association:
“On February 5, 2014, early in Governor McAuliffe’s term, he had the occasion to appear with leadership of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association and about 800 citizens from around the Commonwealth in Greensville County at the funeral of Deputy Sheriff Percy Lee House, III, who died in the line of duty.

“During his comments at that unfortunate event, Governor McAuliffe said, “I’ll be the best governor the sheriffs have ever had.” Fast forward almost four years later, and we look at the list of accomplishments made at the request of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association. Governor McAuliffe:

  1. Provided additional funding to the Compensation Board to ensure deputy sheriffs got off food stamps by increasing the starting pay,
  2. Removed language in the budget that grabbed local fines money that derived from local ordinances, and
  3. He maintained the current state definition of state-responsible inmates and opposed increasing the time in the definition of state inmate to more than a year in order to avoid substantial cost to local jails (it did not happen).

“Basically, Governor McAuliffe is a man of his word, so we are recognizing his promises kept.”

Comments from Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan, President, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association:
“There is much more to the story. In addition to keeping the promises he made originally to the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, Governor McAuliffe has been easily accessible to the association throughout his entire tenure as governor. He has been available to the association by text, email and phone, and he has encouraged us to visit anytime we needed him. The Governor provided an across-the-board pay raise for sheriffs, deputies and support staff. He also proposed the much-needed compression pay raise and career development funding that was ultimately approved by the General Assembly this year.

“Governor McAuliffe has vetoed every bill we have asked him to veto. For example, he vetoed the license plate reader bill, so we can continue to fight crime using license plate readers. The bill also provided that public license plate numbers would become confidential like medical records. It was a bad idea. The Governor vetoed it, and his veto was sustained in the General Assembly.

“Governor McAuliffe vetoed immigration legislation that would have meant a reduction in funds for localities through the Compensation Board for any locality that would have been dubbed a ‘sanctuary city’ — something that we cannot seem to find the definition of but is often used by the federal government. Most recently, he vetoed a bill that allowed switchblade knifes to be carried by anyone for ‘recreational purposes,’ and we all know that recreation can be almost any activity.

“Governor, thank you for supporting law enforcement, and thank you for being the ‘Sheriffs’ Best Governor Ever’ — and for that we are going to make you the first ever ‘Honorary Sheriff’ of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.”

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