Get to Know Your Sheriffs – Sheriff Gary Parsons – Lee County
For the month of July, we are excited to introduce to you Lee County Sheriff Parsons. Sheriff Parsons took office as Sheriff of Lee County in 1996, and has been elected seven consecutive times by the citizens of Lee County. Sheriff Parsons proves to be a kind, fair, and courteous man, both professionally and personally. We hope you enjoy learning more about him!
When asked what he is most proud of, Sheriff Parsons said, “I am most proud of my officers- the great job they do and the respectful and courteous way they do it. I tell them all the time that they should be able to arrest someone and meet them on the street the next day and shake their hand. I am also proud that the citizens of Lee County have continued to allow me to remain their sheriff for the past two decades.”
If you’ve missed previous introductions of our Virginia Sheriffs, links to these posts may be found at the bottom of this page. We hope you will come to know and appreciate these individuals as much as we do! Our Sheriff introductions may also be found on our Facebook page, along with other interesting news items about our member sheriffs!
Get to Know Your Virginia Sheriffs – Lee County Sheriff Parsons
- On what new initiatives are you working?
We are completing a total updating of our communications and data processing systems. Each officer is now wearing a body camera. We are also working closely with our schools to integrate our communications with theirs to give us a quicker notification of an incident, which will allow for a quicker response time.
- How has COVID-19 impacted you, your office, and your work?
COVID-19 has impacted the ways we interact with the public and how we respond to different incidents. Also, we now have to meet the specific requests of our judges as to what social distancing steps to abide by in their courtrooms and in the courthouse in general.
- In light of the death of George Floyd, how can the sheriff’s office and law enforcement as a whole work to build trust among their communities?
We are very fortunate in Lee County to have a very good relationship with our community. The people here know that we will always treat them with respect and dignity, no matter the color of their skin.
- What do you like most about your job?
I love being able to help people and make them feel comfortable when they have an interaction with the criminal justice system. I am always willing to take time, be it in my office, in the hallway, or in the grocery store to talk to people and hear their concerns.
- Who have been mentors and/or role models in your life/career?
I was hired by Sheriff R.V. Chadwell, who taught me about being professional, fair, and courteous. Many of the policies and procedures he had in place when I took over 23 years ago are still used today. I was appointed Sheriff by Circuit Court Judge William Fugate. He took a chance on me when I was not the ranking person in the office at that time. He helped and guided me through my early years as Sheriff. These two men are my greatest mentors in my law enforcement career.
- What do you enjoy doing in your time away from work?
I enjoy playing golf and going off into the mountains and being alone. I think I am becoming more of an introvert as I grow older.
- What are some of your favorite songs on your music playlist?
I like all types of music, from Glen Miller to AC/DC. I especially enjoy any music that is being performed live.
- What is your favorite book?
Any non-fiction American history calls my attention.
- What sports/teams do you root for?
I really don’t have a particular team I pull for, but I have a lot of friends who do. According to what friends I’m with, I root for their team. Essentially, I root for my friends.
- What drew you to law enforcement?
I had actually just gotten out of college, and I ran into the Sheriff. He offered me a job. I needed a job and thought it would be a good life experience for a while. I actually had no desire for a career in law enforcement, but 33 years later here I am.
- What did you do before being elected to the office of sheriff?
When I was hired as a deputy, I was making great use of my college degree by being a stock clerk at a local retail store. After being hired, I worked for three years as a patrol officer and the next six years as an investigator. I was working as an investigator when I was appointed Sheriff.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to read minds so I would know what my wife is thinking.
- If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?
I would love to visit Ireland.
- What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my officers- the great job they do and the respectful and courteous way they do it. I tell them all the time, “You should be able to arrest someone and meet them on the street the next day and shake their hand.” I am also proud that the citizens of Lee County have continued to allow me to remain their sheriff for the past two decades.
- What’s your favorite movie genre?
I love Westerns.
- What character trait do you most admire in others?
Sheriff Parsons Biography
Sheriff Parsons is a lifelong resident of Lee County. He graduated from Keokee High School and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Sheriff Parsons attained an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Mountain Empire Community College. After being hired at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 1987, he attended Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Academy. Sheriff Parsons has attended numerous trainings over the years and has received many law enforcement training certificates.
Sheriff Parsons began as a patrol officer, working in that position for three years. Following this role, he worked as a criminal investigator for six years. In 1996, Lee County Sheriff R.V. Chadwell passed away. At the young age of 31, Parsons was appointed Sheriff of Lee County. Sheriff Parsons has been honored to have been elected seven consecutive times by the citizens of Lee County.
Getting to Know Your Virginia Sheriffs Archives
May 2019 – Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin Hall
June 2019 – Northampton County Sheriff David Doughty
July 2019 – Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl S. Leonard
August 2019 – Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman
September 2019 – Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland
October 2019 – Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid
November 2019 – City of Richmond Sheriff Dr. Antionette Irving
December 2019 – City of Salem Sheriff April Staton
January 2020 – City of Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts
February 2020 – Lunenburg County Sheriff Arthur Townsend
June 2020- Rapphahannock County Sheriff Connie Compton