• 63°

James Clarke more qualified to be sheriff

Editor,
Remember my letter about July 24, 2018, being a day that probably won’t “live in infamy” but will stand as a day that a small group of arrogant citizens and elected officials decided that they know what is best for the county and intended to see that the vast majority of the citizens are ignored in the election of the next sheriff?

It is a shame James Pope didn’t put the same effort into education, graduating from FBI Academy, and serving in the military as he has into putting together a political machine to take advantage of most of the public not voting. It is nice to be popular but it is most important to be the most qualified. Pope is a nice guy, and his father-in-law, the Honorable Stan Clark, is now a judge out at the courthouse, and Pope’s brother-in-law is in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office at the courthouse as well; but Pope is not the most qualified to be sheriff by a wide margin.

Sheriff James Clarke has graduated from the FBI Academy, already achieved several associate degrees, served many years in the military, been in law enforcement longer, and played a larger role in making the Sheriff’s office what it is today. Sheriff Clarke is the best hope for the citizens to continue the professionalism that exists today.

If Pope were truly better qualified wouldn’t he have demonstrated it by now? Pope still has time to continue his growth and improve his skill set, but starting out by trying to short-circuit getting elected by excluding the majority of the voters is just wrong.

It is the responsibility of the citizens to ensure that they are not disenfranchised. It was always a point of pride for me that the Smithfield District that I represented had the highest or nearly highest percentage voter turnout.

I’m hopeful they will turn out again to keep the most qualified candidate, Sheriff James Clarke, as our sheriff.

Al Casteen

Smithfield