My Pledge to Voters

Professional Standards

During my tenure as Chief Deputy, in 2006, I coordinated the Washington County VA Sheriff’s Office initial state accreditation and reaccreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. I will continue this accreditation process which holds the Sheriff’s Office to the highest professional standards including administration, operations, personnel, and training. These standards increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services, promotes public confidence, professionalism, and is often used by Industrial development to recruit businesses to the area, increasing economic development. Sheriff Newman was quoted as being extremely proud that accreditation was obtained in 2006 and this was one of the top two accomplishments during Newman’s tenure. 

Community Input

I will develop a Citizen Advisory Board comprised of members from the various communities located in Washington County,  including the towns of Glade Spring, Damascus, and Abingdon. This will cultivate a relationship between the people we serve and ensure the Office is attentive to the ideas, wants and needs of citizens. This will also create a more open Sheriff’s Office where we are accountable and responsive to the citizens of Washington County.

Increased Community Patrols

I will increase the number of deputies on patrol throughout the county and develop a “community meet and greet and business safety program” to ensure they are familiar with communities and available to citizens and businesses in their assigned patrol areas. “It is important to provide citizens in need with a timely response and the services they need.” I also want to utilize retired law enforcement and specialty trained veterans to increase services.  I will work with the Virginia Compensation Board to increase the funded Deputy positions from State funding therefore decreasing the Washington County citizens tax burden for funding from the Board of Supervisors.

Specialized Officer Training

Individuals in mental health crisis are 16% more likely to be killed by police than members in general public (Treatment Advocacy Center). Recent studies indicate more than 50% of persons killed by police in their homes suffered from mental illness. I will include Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Crisis Intervention Team training to patrol officers to ensure deputies are properly prepared to assist individuals and families in suicidal or mental health crisis situations. This would ensure those individuals with risk issues are provided with de-escalation techniques that are handled without deadly force with the utmost care.

Animal Safety / Cruelty prevention

I want to provide deputies who are assigned to animal control and patrol officers with specialized training to recognize and investigate animal cruelty cases. Animal cruelty often serves as a precursor to more violent crimes such as sexual abuse, school shootings, serial rapist, and murder. I also want to work with various animal rescue organizations to prevent euthanasia of adoptable animals.

School Personnel Training

I want to provide specialized training to educators, staff, and bus drivers to increase their knowledge in responding and dealing with emergency situations. I want school resource officers to be highly trained in first responder emergency medical procedures, advanced threat assessment team training, drug use and prevention, crime prevention through environmental design, and emergency response to various scenarios to protect Washington County’s most valuable asset, our children.

Drug Enforcement

Blake Andis Sheriff MarijuanaWashington County is constantly facing numerous crimes that are about 90% drug related. The Methamphetamine epidemic has increased other drug use such as heroin, fentanyl, Suboxone, methadone, and opiate derivatives. During my tenure at the Sheriff’s Office while working undercover narcotics as a Federal Agent I uncovered the largest methamphetamine distribution organization in the history of Washington County, consisting of a motorcycle dealership, fifteen major distributors, pounds of methamphetamine, and millions in assets. I have and currently work with State, Local, and Federal officials to combat Washington County’s drug problem, and I have seen the devastating community impact of drugs, including increased crimes such as murder, armed robberies, larcenies, broken families, and drug-related deaths. If elected Sheriff, I intend to increase drug enforcement efforts and launch the most aggressive enforcement against drug dealers, importers, and illegal drug manufacturers in Washington County’s history. I also want to work with the “Drug Court” and drug rehabilitation programs to assist drug users in getting needed help to recovery.

Senior Protection

I will develop a Triad group to work with older adults and their families to hear firsthand about their concerns and crimes against the senior communities. County seniors are currently scammed 100’s of thousands of dollars per year from dishonest contractors, identity theft, fake lotteries, extended warranties, medical devices, and other scams. Other crimes include sexual violence, physical and mental abuse, neglect, and intimidation often by a caregiver. I will have specialty trained officers to investigate, assist state investigators, and help older adults assess and reduce their risk in victimization. I also want to investigate marketing calls coming from unwanted scammers that often show up on caller identification as local numbers and hold the seller of the goods or advertiser responsible.

Litter Control

I consider Washington County the most beautiful County in Virginia. We are faced with increased visitors enjoying our resources such as the Appalachian Trail, Creeper Trail, Mendota Trail, South Holston Lake, Barter Theatre, State Parks, etc. These visitors spend lots of money in the area improving the economy. I want to continue the incarcerated inmate cleanup program supervised by a deputy that helps to clean roadways and illegal dump sites. I also want to increase a community work program which allows nonviolent offenders to work in the community picking up road side trash rather than spending their sentence in jail. This type of program will save the County lots of money and hold offenders responsible for their actions.