ElectionsPolitics

Third Virginia sheriff steps away from Democrats over ‘attacks on law enforcement’

Sheriff Chip Schuler. (Snip from Sheriff’s department’s Facebook page)

A third county sheriff in Virginia has publicly “stepped away” from the Democratic party in that state because of what he called in a statement a “relentless attack” on law enforcement officers.

Smyth County Sheriff Chip Schuler made it official by switching parties, as reported by WJHL News. He ran in 2015 and again in 2019 as a Democrat but that’s finished.

“I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” Shuler said in a statement quoted by the station. “My deputies work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. As sheriff, it has been difficult to watch my deputies try to move forward during this unprecedented assault on our profession. We (law enforcement) remain an honorable profession and should not be judged by the bad acts of a few. I have always been a conservative throughout my law enforcement career of 38 years.”

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Two years ago, as noted by Fox News, Democrats grabbed a slim majority in the Virginia General Assembly. The result was an avalanche of so-called “reform” legislation ranging from banning “no-knock warrants” to prohibiting the use of certain things including “high-caliber” weapons, Fox News said.

Democrats also passed several gun control laws, which brought thousands of angry citizens to city and county government meetings, and also to the state capitol in Richmond to protest.

Schuler’s announcement was preceded by similar actions by Sheriffs Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County and John McClanahan in Buchanan County.

In an earlier interview with Hieatt, the sheriff reportedly told Fox News, “When we hear talks about defund the police, take away resources, the bottom line is, you get what you pay for and that’s with any profession. So if you take away money and have to pay bottom dollar for certain for all the service and not have the resources to properly train, not have the money to properly test all the new applicants and new people coming in, then you’re not going to get the best. If you want better people in law enforcement, then there needs to be more funding to be able to do more testing, to be able to offer better pay as the people come in.”

The news comes coincidentally to more protesting in Minneapolis, Minn., where members of a U.S. Marshals Fugitive task force reportedly shot a Black suspect wanted for a weapons violation. The dead suspect was identified as Winston Boogie Smith Jr., 32.

The fatal shooting came just over a year after Minneapolis was rocked by violent protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody. One officer has already been convicted of murder in that case.

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