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Arlington County resident and police officer James Herring announced his candidacy for county sheriff before the meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee January 4.

“I have seen, as a police officer, two major public safety problems. The first is that the two Arlington law enforcement agencies, the sheriff's office and the police department, operate in separate silos.Secondly, the Sheriff’s department has not been immune to the understaffing and attrition that plagues many law enforcement agencies in the country, This leads to a culture susceptible to overworked personnel, shortcuts, and a department that lacks transparency and accountability."

Herring said that cooperation to achieve mutual goals would ease the burden on both departments and provide the Arlington community with better quality public service. Most importantly, Herring said, is providing transparency to give residents a clear picture about how the agencies are performing – or not performing.

Herring said that the result of these unaddressed concerns is that the Sheriff’s department has great difficulty carrying out its most basic functions, which jeopardizes the security of the courthouse complex and ultimately endangers the care of people in custody. “We’re one of the most prosperous, progressive communities in America. We should not allow this to happen,” Herring noted.

Herring said that his front-line experience, both as a police officer and an Army officer, gives him a perspective that none of the other candidates possess. “I realize that I’m running against a headwind, but this office is not one that should be handed down. A department outsider is needed more than ever, especially as these issues have persisted for many years, despite my fellow candidates’ roles within the department. A fire cannot be put out from inside the house.”

Herring is a native of Washington, DC, whose family relocated to Arlington when he was 3. He’s a graduate of the county’s public schools, and received a BS degree in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

He has been an Arlington County police officer for four years, after serving for five years with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

Concurrently, he has served as an infantry officer in the Virginia National Guard, with one deployment to Qatar, where he led a platoon of 40-plus soldiers, providing 24/7 perimeter security for a vital military installation. Upon returning to the U.S., he was assigned as a Company Executive Officer—responsible for the welfare of 160 soldiers and tens of millions of dollars of government equipment.

He is currently a homeowner in the Arlington Heights neighborhood with his wife Alyssa (an architect and urban designer), their dog Samson, and their cat Daenerys.

When not at work, he can be found at Arlington’s Washington-Liberty High School, where he is an assistant coach for the Men’s Rowing Team.

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