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Virginia Sheriffs’ Association
The Voice of Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies

In celebration of Women’s History Month, VSA shines a spotlight on Salem Sheriff April Staton, a trailblazing leader in Virginia’s law enforcement community. Breaking barriers and defying stereotypes, Sheriff Staton embodies the spirit of resilience and empowerment. Join us as we explore her remarkable journey, from her pioneering achievements to her enduring commitment to serving and protecting her community.

In an interview conducted with Kelly Noon, we are delighted to spotlight Sheriff Staton’s achievements in honor of Women’s History Month. Please reading on to learn more about the hard work and dedication she has contributed over the years.

What inspired you to pursue your career/profession and how do you see it contributing to the advancement of women in your industry?

There is nothing spectacular about my beginnings in the Sheriff’s office. At the time, I was working for the City of Salem in the Streets Department, and I needed a more lucrative job. So, I applied despite my hesitations. I was clueless about law enforcement and honestly, I figured I would not even get an interview. Fast forward 21 years and here I am as the Sheriff!

Entering the field of law enforcement as a woman is intimidating. As you know, a majority of the workforce is male, and the work is considered by most to be dangerous. Each time a woman enters the field, I think we all cheer for one another. When a woman gets promoted to a supervisor role, we cheer. And when they become the Chief or Sheriff, we really cheer!

Every day a woman is proving herself worthy to be in this profession and each time we do, it makes it a little easier for the next woman to succeed and be recognized as one of the best in law enforcement, despite our gender!

Can you share any experiences or challenges you have faced as a woman in your field and how have you overcome them?

The first challenge I faced as a woman in this field was in the academy. It was our first day outside for our physical agility course where we had to climb/jump over a four-foot wall. The instructor says, “Most women won’t make it over the wall.” It was an absolute trigger pull for me and instantly activated intense determination. I can remember slamming into that wall, pushing and pulling, and dragging body parts over the wood, and finally surmounting the wall. It was awful but I was not about to prove the instructor right.

As I reflect on this feat and more recent challenges, it is with this same determination and mindset that I have conquered all obstacles throughout my career. I love to be challenged!

In what ways do you believe your achievements or contributions have made a positive impact on other women or aspiring professionals?

I hope my achievements offer women, especially younger women and girls, a chance to see themselves in a leadership role someday. As women, we should all support one another in our efforts to be great because there is something special embedded inside us that makes us far more driven for success. There are women out there silently making their way to the top because of their hard work and dedication to the job. These women are who inspire me!