Clarke has qualifications necessary as sheriff

Published 3:58 pm Saturday, July 21, 2018

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On July 24, the citizens of Isle of Wight will be asked to make an important decision that will directly affect the quality of life in the county. As a result of my retirement at the end of February, a special election is being called to fulfill the office of Sheriff. While I had originally planned on completing my term and retiring, life circumstances made that impossible. The decision was difficult, but made much better knowing that there was an extremely competent and qualified individual who could seamlessly step into the position. That person was my chief deputy now Sheriff James Clarke.

I have had the distinct honor of knowing Sheriff Clarke for more than 20 years. He is a lifelong resident who has a deep commitment to his faith, this country and this county. His service in the United States Marine Corps, in a local church as an ordained minister, and his service to the citizens of this county at the Smithfield Police Department and later with the Isle of Wight sheriff’s office, demonstrate that deep commitment.

Succession planning is always important in a healthy organization. Upon my election in 2011, one of the first tasks was to ensure that continuity of operations was in place. Having worked with Sheriff Clarke for two decades, I knew there was no better person for his role as chief deputy under my administration. As a result of his acceptance, many firsts were achieved.

Sheriff Clarke is the first person from the Isle of Wight sheriff’s office to attend and complete the prestigious FBI National Academy. He played a pivotal role in getting the sheriff’s office to accreditation and most recently reaccreditation. He finished out and has overseen the implementation of the public safety radio system. Most importantly, he established a level of professionalism within the organization that centers on integrity demanded by all who serve under his leadership.

There are numerous examples and testaments to the extraordinary work by this man. Having worked with him for over 20 years, I know firsthand his deep sense of compassion and care for this community. He works tirelessly to ensure that the sheriff’s office delivers a high quality level of service to all citizens who live or visit this county. The citizens of Isle of Wight would be well served by continuing the great work he has delivered to the county.

Without any reservation, I endorse Sheriff Clarke’s candidacy and know that he would continue the progress made over the last six years. I urge all citizens to make your voice heard. It is an important decision. Sheriff Clarke has the qualifications requisite for the position and demonstrates it on a daily basis. Please continue the progress and vote for Sheriff James Clarke.


Mark A. Marshall

Eastern Shore