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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Candidates for Fairfax County sheriff speak at Annandale forum

Independent candidate Chris DeCarlo.

All of the candidates for Fairfax County sheriff and most of the House of Delegates candidates for districts that include the Annandale/Mason area appeared at a forum in Annandale Oct. 17 co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area and the Mason District Council of Community Associations. This report covers the sheriff’s race. We’ll report on the other candidates in a later post.

There are four people running for Sheriff of Fairfax County: Stacey Kincaid, a 25-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, who’s been endorsed by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee; Bryan Wolfe, the Republican candidate, who has 26 years of experience in the Fairfax County Police Department; and two independents: Robert Rivera, a former deputy sheriff in Arlington, and Chris DeCarlo, the rapping candidate.

Kincaid gave an outline of the Sheriff’s Office’s main responsibilities: managing the Adult Detention Center, acting as a process server in civil lawsuits, and providing security at the courthouse. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office oversees Project Lifesaver, a program for electronically monitoring people prone to run away and get lost, child safety seat inspections, and other programs.

If elected, Kincaid said she would strengthen the Sheriff’s Office’s outreach within ethnic communities. 

Wolfe told the audience he was angry and in a bad mood because his car had been vandalized four times in the past two weeks. After he calmed down a bit, he said his priorities include putting video recorders in the Adult Detention Center and providing more crisis intervention training to help sheriffs deal with mentally ill inmates. 

Rivera proposed a mentorship program for first-time offenders convicted of non-violent crimes. He also called for a tutoring program for youths to stop the cycle of criminal activity in families. As a Latino, Rivera touts his credentials as the only minority among the candidates.

And then there’s DeCarlo, who brought a saddle as a prop and delivered a cowboy-theme rap, beginning with: “I’m not with a party; I got my own voice. Don’t vote to the left or right, you got a better choice.” He also has a campaign rap on You Tube with a Star Wars theme. Later, DeCarlo explained that he uses raps to get attention, because independents usually aren’t taken seriously. “All the other candidates have to listen to me,” he said.

At the forum, DeCarlo, who’s in the propane business, said his goal is “to protect the Constitution” and fight corruption. “Money has taken over the government,” he said, and the political parties are supported by special interests. As a result, the nation is “headed for George Orwell’s 1984.” This is his fifth campaign, and he’s actually simultaneously running for the House of Delegates in the 41st District, which includes parts of Springfield, Burke, and Fairfax. 

When someone in the audience asked the candidates how they would deal with the rise in human trafficking in the county, both Wolfe and Kincaid noted that it’s the Police Department that’s in charge of law enforcement. Kincaid said it’s important to make sure sheriff’s deputies have appropriate training so they will be sensitive to those types of crimes when they interview incoming inmates.

In response to a question about guns, Rivera said, “gun violence is a tragedy” and people who sell guns should be trained and licensed. 

Wolfe, a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, said gun ownership is a constitutional right and you cant infringe on citizens rights to bear arms. He said he visited Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after the mass shooting last December, in which a local man used assault rifles to kill 26 children and adults. Wolfe said the Newtown police officers he spoke with still support the constitutional right of citizens to own guns.

Kinkaid also said she supports the Second Amendment, but also spoke about the need for “responsible gun ownership” and background checks.  

DeCarlo urged the audience to watch his rap video, where he stages a gunfight to battle political corruption, which ends with: “A straight shooter by your side, yippie yi ohhh, he can fight crime and he can ride, Yippie yi aye. This ain’t his first rodeo, yippie yi ohhh. For sheriff vote Chris DeCarlo.”

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