Today, voters across Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Virginia will have the opportunity to select a Republican candidate for sheriff. The choice is between Kurt Boshart and Bryan Hutcheson. The winner of this contest will go on to face Independent candidate C.M. Hess in the general election.
When speaking with various voters in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, I’ve been stumped by one question. Let me back up for a second. From reading this blog, you’ll quickly discover that I try to know just about everything I can about politics. Therefore, when I don’t have the answer to an inquiry, I research until I find it. However, I cannot figure out why the voters select the sheriff.
Isn’t the sheriff primarily responsible as the chief law enforcement agent in the city or county? If that assumption is true, wouldn’t the best sheriff be the person who most efficiently and effectively promotes the laws of a particular locality? Shouldn’t experience be more important than popularity? Why, therefore, is the sheriff position subjected to the political process?
Although I know some states have popularly elected judges, I find the idea distasteful. The creation of the law is a highly partisan process, but shouldn’t the application of the law be uniform? Isn’t one of the primary purposes of both judges and sheriffs to maintain the law? If a Republican, Democrat, or Independent chose not to uphold the law of the land, we ought to be outraged. Need I remind you that legislators alone have the ability to craft laws and not judicial figures?
Now, maybe I just don’t really understand the position of sheriff all that well. Does he (or she) have some sort of political role to play too? Is that the reason why parties nominate candidates and voters go to the polls to pick their sheriff?
I could go on here, but I’m hoping a reader can offer comments that will enlighten both my fellow citizens and myself regarding this matter. Even if you don’t have any firm knowledge, educated guesses are always welcome.
Don’t take me for a fool for asking, but why do we elect a sheriff?