BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – Botetourt County Sheriff Matthew Ward is speaking out after he says he received multiple calls surrounding recent proposals to “defund the police.”
This comes after Gov. Ralph Northam called for a special legislative session this month to focus on criminal and social justice reform, as well as the state budget in the wake of the pandemic.
The “defund the police movement is dangerous because it will put our communities at greater risk for criminal activity and will limit our ability to effectively police criminal conduct,” Del. William Wampler, of the 4th House district, wrote in a letter about the special session.
Ward said he agrees with this sentiment, saying that we are seeing the consequences of this movement in larger cities across the country.
“Make no mistake, if these demands become law it will drastically affect our ability to keep you safe,” Ward said in a statement on Facebook. “Our fundamental duty is to serve and protect the public in a responsive and respectable manner. These proposals will greatly diminish our abilities to accomplish this task.”
In his statement, Ward laid out several proposals he claimed were presented by social advocacy groups, including defunding operational budgets, removing school resource officers from schools, ending “no-knock” warrants, dismantling and defunding SWAT teams across the state and stopping the use of “kinetic energy projectiles” such as bullets, rubber bullets, tear gas and other non-lethal deterrents.
You can read a full list of proposals that Sheriff Ward has concerns with and his full statement below: