In preparation for the Nov. 5 general election, Fredericksburg Patch emailed three questions to the two candidates for City of Fredericksburg Sheriff.
Read Paul Higgs responses: Paul Higgs, Candidate for Fredericksburg Sheriff
Following are the complete, unedited responses from Ron Swaney.
1 - Why are you running for sheriff?
I have spent that past 17 years with the City of Fredericksburg police department. I have enjoyed my career and especially love working in the city. My attraction to the diversity, culture, and history of the city, but most importantly, my passion for the citizens have encouraged me run for the position of Sheriff.
The sheriff's office is primarily responsible for court security, service of all court documents, and execution of court orders, civil process and general public safety. If elected, I will continue to provide these responsibilities with true integrity, sound judgment and common sense.
The current Sheriff seems to limit his duties to the minimum mandates that are set by the Virginia Constitution. Further, it seems that the current sheriff has forgotten his responsibility to safeguard the citizens of Fredericksburg. He has served in the position for over a decade and unfortunately, he seems to lack vision. To move our city forward, my agenda will improve the quality of services provided by the sheriff’s office. I will be available and willing to listen to and address the needs of the people.
2 - What specific qualifications would you bring to the position of sheriff?
- 13 ½ years of service in the USMC: I obtained specialized Leadership skills in my service as a Quality Assurance Collateral Duty Inspector for the A6-Emergency Egress Mechanic department. I also served as a small-arms weapons instructor while stationed in Quantico, VA., tasked with supervision of security and safety of the shooting range.
- I joined the Auxiliary Police Force for the City of Fredericksburg in 1994 as a volunteer. In 1997, I become a full-time police officer for the city when I exited the Marine Corps to make a transition into law enforcement.
- In 1999, while still employed by the City of Fredericksburg Police Department, I joined the National Guard and was called upon to participate on active duty in the branch during Operation Noble Eagle. I was tasked with base security while serving as a Combat Engineer Platoon Sergeant at Fort McNair in Southeast, Washington, D.C. I retired from the National Guard in 2006.
- My roles as a Police Officer have included: Patrol Officer, K-9 Officer, Honor Guard member, Community Police Officer for Hazel Hill, Mayfield, and the Downtown Area, Head Armorer for the department, Firearms Instructor, Field Training Officer, Project Lifesaver Instructor, Bicycle Patrol Officer, City Homeless Advocate, Virginia State Certified Crime Prevention Specialist, and Crisis Intervention Specialist. I currently serve as a Master Patrol Officer (MPO).
- I have received numerous awards, certifications and recognition for my work with the Fredericksburg Police Department. Some of my certifications include: Crime Prevention Specialist, Project Lifesaver Instructor, The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation and Code Compliance. I have also been the proud recipient of various awards and recognition, including: The Chief Citation Award for Managing the Night Life, Officer of the Year, Law Enforcement "Policeman for The Year", Community Support Award (NAACP) and many Certificates of Commendation.
3 - What do you plan to accomplish during your tenure should voters choose you for the position of sheriff?
My vision will bring myself and my staff into the community to support and attend community meetings, events and activities. We will provide a visible presence which will enhance the safety of the community and also improve the quality of life for the citizens of Fredericksburg.
With the opening of the new courthouse, I will ensure a smooth transition and maintain the highest level of safety and security. I will also provide enhanced training to uphold professional service of court documents, execution of court orders, civil process, and prisoner transports.
I will foster a strong partnership with the Fredericksburg Police Department and strengthen existing relationships with other local and national law enforcement agencies. I will designate a liaison officer to partner with the police department for the purpose of sharing information and keeping an open line of communication. By working together, we will significantly improve the quality of law enforcement services and provide a more proactive approach as we protect, defend and safeguard the citizens. This partnership will also allow us to involve the community and businesses with our department to implement positive programs/classes that will effectively educate and inform citizens regarding their safety and security needs. I intend to remain approachable, to listen to, and address the needs of the community. In addition, I will create a crime prevention website. This website will be interactive and will promote citizen contact with the Sheriff's Office. It will give me the opportunity to keep citizens informed on the department’s progress and area crime trends.
I plan to take advantage of Government, State and private grants to supplement and fund the Sheriff's
Office in order to provide improved service, technology advancements and also
provide enhanced training to the men and women who serve proudly in the
department. Ultimately, this progression
will allow our department to save our tax payers a financial burden as we work
towards becoming Virginia State accredited, as under the current sheriff, this
accreditation has not been received.
The Fredericksburg area has significantly grown in the past 10 years. With the new bus station, schools, police department and new court house coming, there is a considerable need for a local, bomb detection team. We have major highways (Route 1, Route 3, Route 17, and Interstate 95) that run through the city. This local, bomb detection team will be used proactively and serve as a preventative measure in counter-terrorism and provide bomb detecting capabilities for area businesses, government facilities and transportation depots.
Finally, my vision includes the initiative to work closely with the police department and the school board to maintain safer schools. If we are involved and proactive, we will enable our children to have the opportunity to learn, free from fear, and without the threat of crime.