Loudoun County, VA (December 16, 2020) – Today, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman announced, “Loudoun Leads”, a public safety initiative to increase transparency and enhance collaboration with government entities such as Mental Health and Substance Abuse along with an expanded number of community-based stakeholders.
While the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) has been recognized nationally for its leadership in mental health and Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), School Resource Officer (SRO) and student educational programs such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), and has earned perfect scores on two recent professional accreditations, Chapman believes the elevated scrutiny of law enforcement nationwide should prompt everyone in the profession to be introspective and strive for higher standards.
The LCSO is no exception. Sheriff Chapman recently increased the use of body worn cameras (BWCs) for greater transparency and is conducting research to place the ADC on the path to Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). In addition, he is currently working with the Virginia Department of Health by training medical practitioners at the Adult Detention Center (ADC) to fight COVID by having the ADC facility registered to receive, store, and administer COVID vaccines. More initiatives will follow.
“A harsh economy, coupled with isolation, idle time, increased drug use and overdoses, and the potential for increased crime is not only affecting the nation at large, but also taking its toll in Loudoun County,” said Chapman. “This is no time to take our foot off the gas,” he added.
Chapman has spent over 40 years in law enforcement, the last nine as Loudoun’s elected sheriff. Under his leadership, the LCSO has been designated as a “model agency” in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The LCSO was one of the first in the region to deploy body worn cameras (BWCs) and its expansion of de-escalation training, with nearly 100% of its deputies and dispatch personnel trained in CIT, has produced “use of force” numbers that are near zero. Loudoun has the lowest crime rate in the Washington Metropolitan area, and the LCSO has a citizen satisfaction rating of around 90 percent. Additionally, the LCSO has hired over 80 certified law enforcement professionals in the past two years from police departments in surrounding areas.
As an Executive Board member and Vice President of Homeland Security for Major County Sheriffs of America, and as a Board member of the National Sheriffs’ Association, Chapman is engaged in regular discussions about best practices. In many cases, LCSO’s efforts are setting the bar, and this has been recognized independent of partisan politics.
Chapman was invited to speak on Capitol Hill when the Excellence in Mental Health Act was passed, has addressed Congress on issues from community policing to gang task forces, participated in White House discussions on the First Step Act, and has been part of discussions with President Trump, President Obama, and Vice President Biden on gang violence, police-community relations, drug trafficking and opioid overdoses.
Chapman said he will focus on his responsibility as Sheriff and not seek the Office of Governor next year, as many have asked him to do. “While flattered by the encouragement I have received from so many, I feel it is best for me to keep my focus on public safety, reducing crime, and further enhancing our already outstanding relationship with the Loudoun community – especially during these difficult times,” he said.
“Our success in Loudoun is a model for Virginia and the nation,” said Chapman, “and there’s much more we can do as part of Loudoun Leads,” said Chapman. “I am also grateful for the opportunities to examine best practices across the nation and apply effective and proven methods here in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, in what is considered a premier law enforcement agency,” he said.