Ahlemann "Willing to openly discuss the issues that leave my opponents ducking for cover"

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This story from the FRONT PAGE of yesterday's Post - along with the Loudoun Times-Mirror, certainly among the area's foremost political advocacy organizations - deserves thoughtful comment which I unfortunately am not yet in a position to provide.

(Day jobs are a killer, and this is one of the periodic weeks when I can't break away to do a lot of "free" work such as this blog surely can be.)

But I will try and get to it late tonight.

Just on the facts contained in the article it should have raised eyebrows among careful readers about what exactly the reporter, Brubaker, or his editors were trying to accomplish. It should also raise SERIOUS questions about why anyone would trust either of the old guys running for this office. More later ....

In the meantime, below the fold is a response from the Greg Ahlemann camp.

Ahlemann Stands By His Candor & Continues His Open-Book Campaign


Ahlemann: “In the race for Loudoun County’s next Sheriff, where integrity and honesty matter more to me than my own political gain, I have once again shown that I am willing to openly discuss the issues that leave my opponents ducking for cover…”

Leesburg, VA – October 29, 2007, Republican Nominee for Loudoun County Sheriff, Greg Ahlemann, held a press conference at the Loudoun County Government Center with print and television media to address questions about his stance on the issues of officer discretion and the debates surrounding an officers’ ability to reject and dismiss tickets.

In recent interviews with print and television media, including today’s press conference, Ahlemann spoke frankly and truthfully about the practices of officer discretion among law enforcement officials. In particular, Ahlemann noted that, “It is common knowledge that many law enforcement jurisdictions allow their officers the latitude and opportunity to use their good judgment in determining which traffic offenses are ticketed and which are not.” Ahlemann continued, “When it comes to writing tickets, there is generally no exclusion against officers using their discretion to issue, or not issue, tickets.”

When asked about Ahlemann’s own use of discretion to dismiss tickets, Ahlemann indicated that “certainly there have been instances where I have dismissed tickets.” Ahlemann continued, “For example, I have given a break to individuals who have had the most minor traffic infraction and moving violations, such as going a few miles over the speed limit. However, I have never given anyone a break when they are involved in any driving hazard that rises to criminal charges like DWI or DUI.”

In stark contrast to Ahlemann’s candor on the issue of officer discretion and the dismissal of tickets, Democrat Mike George and Independent Stephen Simpson both made their best attempts to put on their best face on the issue. George emphatically stated to The Washington Post that in all his years of service, he “never fixed a ticket.” Simpson conveniently forgot whether or not during his many years of service as a law enforcement officer he had ever dismissed a ticket stating simply, “I don’t recall.” [The Washington Post, Oct 28, 2007, “Sheriff Hopeful in VA Says He Dismissed Tickets”]

Ahlemann is not surprised by his opponents comments on these subjects and stated that, “In the race for Loudoun County’s next Sheriff, where integrity and honesty matter more to me than my own political gain, I have once again shown that I am willing to openly discuss the issues that leave my opponents ducking for cover as they continue to make statements ripe with half-truths in an unscrupulous attempt to win them votes.”

Ahlemann continued, “I can tell you with great certainty that Simpson is not being truthful on that matter. In fact, Simpson has come to me personally while I was still at the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and he asked me directly to ‘fix’ tickets that he wanted to go away because of his relationship to the individuals that I’d issued a citation to. It’s appalling to me, that as the leader of the current Sheriff’s Office administration, Simpson would aim to deceive the public by his attempts to suggest that he has never ‘fixed’ a ticket.”

As the election season draws to its close in just over a week in the contest for Loudoun County’s next Sheriff, the Ahlemann for Sheriff Campaign reminds voters that it’s important for the Sheriff to be transparent and honest; and that matters involving officer discretion and the latitude officers have to dismiss tickets should be as open a discussion as any.

The Ahlemann For Sheriff Campaign also points out that Ahlemann’s openness in discussing officer discretion and the dismissal of tickets is not unlike his openness in discussing the sometimes more charged, controversial subjects such as illegal immigration. Ahlemann has continued to maintain a consistent message on bringing Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) training to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office while his opponents have waffled and flip-flopped repeatedly over the past months on this issue allowing the political winds to toss them to and fro. Ahlemann added that, “Political expediency continues to motivate my opponents. Whether it is their position on the use of officer discretion, the need for ICE training, the issue of tax-payer funded day labor sites in Loudoun, my opponents have continued to shift their positions as they see the political landscape shift. This is not leadership.”

Ahlemann closed by stating that, “I’m proud of my record of service to Loudoun County because I have helped to make our communities and neighborhoods safer. As your next Sheriff, I will remain committed to taking a pro-active approach to keeping our roads and highways safe. I also will continue to empower Loudoun County’s finest men and women in law enforcement to carry forth their responsibilities by practicing good judgment, officer discretion and care.”

For more information, contact the Ahlemann for Sheriff Campaign Office by phone at 571-223-7661 or via email at info@ahlemannforsheriff.com or visit the web site at www.AhlemannForSheriff.com

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24 Comments

Common Idiot said:

Kudos to Ahlemann for admitting his involvement in fixing tickets. It stinks of corruption, but obviously Simpson participated (in fact, directed) some of the ticket fixing, too. His denial, if you want to call it that, is unconvincing. Similarly unconvincing is George's denial that he ever participated in what apparently is a common practice in police departments around the area.

Common Idiot said:

There is no wiggle room in fixing "minor" tickets: corruption is corruption. Kudos to
Ahlemann for admitting his involvement in the practice, but I would have expected that a pledge to end the practice once elected. I haven't seen that from him or any of the candidates. Until that happens, none has my vote.

BlackOut said:

That moment of candor is the deathblow for Greg's hopes for winning this election. I didn't think he had much of a chance to begin with.

The honorable thing to do at this point is for Greg to admit defeat and throw all his support towards Mike George.

Let me say one other thing. I have a lot of respect for Greg, and I think he's run an admirable campaign. Sans Sunday's F/UP. From what I understand he'll get his job back and I hope to see him some where down the road running for Sheriff. He needs more experience to be considered as a viable candidate and it looks like George is willing to give it to him.

Oh, yeah, BlackOut, that's rich. I'm sure your advice and opinion will be highly valued by the Ahlemann campaign after your record of opinion on his candidacy.

To make your comment more accurate: in your mind the deathblow was when he announced his candidacy (or else when Help Save Loudoun started touting it).

But I'm sure the campaign is truly grateful for your well-considered counsel.

arwillow said:

Why would Ahlemann concede defeat, BlackOut? Things are truly just now getting interesting. The story hasn't been told yet on this election by any means....

My own take is that momentum and support for the Ahlemann campaign has been building and the Wash Post, some selected whisper campaigns, etc. are now attempting to pull out all their tricks of the trade to waylay a good candidate and a Republican to boot with the objective of giving his clean campaign a black eye. Unfortunately, among voters, the Ahlemann message has had months to resonate with voters...an attempted drive-by ambush by the media is fully expected at this 11th hour.

Billy said:

Common Idiot:

Are you also ready to indict all major league ballplayers for using steroids? I'm betting you're a big supporter of racial profiling in law enforcement as well...

Just because some people say that it's prevalent does not mean that every officer (or even close to every officer) is doing it. Let's wait to see if somebody credibly claims knowledge of Mike George fixing a ticket before we hang him for supposedly lying about it.

arwillow said:

To Billy -

I'll let someone who's currently working at the Sheriff's Office take a swing at this one. I think he/she does a pretty good job covering the bogus-ness of the Post article and the bogus-ness of both George and Simpson's claims to their "never" "never" statements about dismissing tickets.

Read the post by "Loudoun Watchman" at:

http://tooconservative.com/?p=1604#comment-83436

Billy said:

To arwillow:

I would refer you to comment #52 at the same "tooconservative.com" link. A post that appears to be from Mike George himself. To me it's rather convincing evidence that he holds himself to a higher standard than Ahlemann when it comes to police ethics. What do you think?

Common Idiot said:

Billy,

You'll note that George does not say that he'll end the practice. That, to me, indicates complicity.

MARJORIE said:

IT'S PRETTY MUCH COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT TICKETS DO GET"FIXED" IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.

BUT THE ISSUE HERE IS GREG ALHEMANN CAME FORWARD IN AN HONEST AND DIRECT MANNER ABOUT THE TICKET FIXING SITUATION. WHILE HIS OPPONETS CHOSE TO BE EVASIVE AND DISHONEST ABOUT THE SUBJECT.

BY ALL THE POSTED COMMENTS HERE I HAVE TO WONDER WHAT BLACKOUT SEES IN MIKE GEORGE FOR SHERIFF, PERHAPS HE CAN FILL US IN ON HIS THOUGHTS.

WHAT MATTERS MOST IS THAT LOUDOUN COUNTY ELECTS A MAN WHO HAS THE COUNTY AND THE PERSONEL OF THE SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT A PRIORITY.

WHAT I FIND WHEN LOOKING AT SHERIFF'S SIMPSONS RE-ELECT WEB SITE, ALL PHOTO SHOTS WITH HIGH RANKING OFFICIALS AND FOREIGN GUESTS. WHAT DO THESE SUPPOSED IMPORTANT PEOPLE HAVE TO DO WITH MANAGEING THE WELFARE OF LOUDOUN COUNTY?

IN MY BOOK, SERVING LOUDOUN COUNTY SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PRIORITY TAKING UP ENOUGH OF SHERIFF SIMPSON TIME THAT HE WOULD'NT HAVE HAD ENOUGH EXTRA TIME FOR PUBLICITY SHOTS.

ACTivist said:

I think that you need to realize that "ticket fixing" as it may not be condoned, is also NOT an illegal practice. For MINOR offences (and especially with newer drivers) it should be thought of as having a "character" witness in court. Sometimes cops have bad days; sometimes there are "quotas" to be made. It is a tool and valuable at times. It only need not be abused. Corruption? There is none. When you are sworn to "uphold the law" there also follows "latitude". After all, are you looking for a "police state" or members of the community that are civil servants? You decide.

Anonymous said:

Marjorie!

CAPS LOCK!!! ;)

Common Idiot said:

ACTivist,

It IS corruption to ignore criminal activity as a for "favor" to someone you know. It's that simple. It is NOT following the law and applying it equally as officers are sworn to do.

MARJORIE said:

Anonymous said:
Marjorie!

CAPS LOCK!!! ;)

I KNOW,JUST BETTER FOR ME TO SEE WHAT I WRITE:
SORRY FOLK'S JUST DEAL W/IT OK :}

ACTivist said:

Common Idiot,
"It IS corruption to ignore criminal activity as a for "favor" to someone you know. It's that simple. It is NOT following the law and applying it equally as officers are sworn to do."

Are you saying that it is NOT corruption if you do a favor for someone you DON"T know? Also, how about when YOU receive a warning where someone else gets a ticket from the same cop for the same infraction. Does that mean that warnings are illegal? You are not making sense or a valid arguement.


Common Idiot said:

ACTivist,

It is corruption to circumvent the legal process on the basis of an exchange of favors. Obviously, an officer will know the person who is asking the favor whether that person be a fellow officer or someone else. It is tantamount to bribery except that favors are exchanged instead of cash.

You ask me to decide whether I want a "'police state' or members of the community that are civil servants." Aside from the fact that the statement doesn't make any sense, we all deserve and expect a society where the rule of law is applied equally and without regard to "who you know." Frankly, I don't see how anyone could support such a practice or consider such abuse "a valuable tool." It completely subverts the legal process.

ACTivist said:

Common Idiot,
I see by the name it does need explaining.

Small towns with small populations have some type of civil authority. When you know most people there tends to be more discussion and advice rather than infractions and fines. These are called civil servants and part of a community.

A police state is them againest you. The "brotherhood" sticks together and YOU are on the outside. This is a paid job with the guise of civil servant.

Now, you try a little experiment and see what you get for results:
Wave to EVERY law enforcement employee that you come across on the road and remember what agency that they work for.
For the most part, you will see more friendliness coming from the sheriff's dept then anywhere else. A shame as it is, the sheriff's deputies are ALSO starting to turn and become part of the "brotherhood". This isn't LIBERALTOWN and you don't have to always enforce the law with a heavy hand.

"Frankly, I don't see how anyone could support such a practice or consider such abuse "a valuable tool." It completely subverts the legal process. "


By analogy, if you go to a tourist area, you are going to pay full price for everything. If you are a LOCAL, you will find that the prices are different (less). Is this treatment "fair" for the tourists? Try to apply things across the board. If you want to stick to rule of law, we can talk about free health care, homosexual marraige, anti-gun rights, illegal aliens. THESE topics and their incumberances ALSO subvert the legal process.

Again, corruption? Show me the law that says so.

Common Idiot said:

ACTivist,

Interesting that you equate corrupt police activity with homosexual marriage, but I'll leave that one alone. On the other hand, maybe they are the same.

Anyway, since you asked for it, below is a clip from the Code of Conduct of the International Chief's of Police. And please don't tell me that it's not the "law" either. There's something called integrity that goes far beyond any statute. If you want to say that you are above such a code of conduct, just go ahead -- you make my point for me.

Integrity
A police officer will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will an officer condone such acts by other police officers. The public demands that the integrity of police officers be above reproach. Police officers must, therefore, avoid any conduct that might compromise integrity and thus undercut the public confidence in a law enforcement agency. Officers will refuse to accept any gifts, presents, subscriptions, favors, gratuities or promises that could be interpreted as seeking to cause the officer to refrain from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law. Police officers must not receive private, or special advantage from their official status. Respect from the public cannot be bought; it can only be earned and cultivated.


ACTivist said:

Common Idiot,

"Interesting that you equate corrupt police activity with homosexual marriage, but I'll leave that one alone. On the other hand, maybe they are the same.

You were talking rules of law and equal enforcement. Those things mentioned are not equally enforced as the law dictates.

"Police officers must, therefore, avoid any conduct that might compromise integrity and thus undercut the public confidence in a law enforcement agency."

This paragraph says it all. So that there can be no mistakes, many officers will AVOID talking or interacting with the public for fear of a "slip" that may be conscrued as a lack of integrity. If you can't interact with the public, how will you earn there respect? Hand candy out at parades? Clean parks in certain parts of the county? This is how you get a police state. Cops are human too. They need latitude from fear of doing something not "politically correct".

Corruption is cops from New Orleans and other agencies across America taking away your legal guns and rights during a disaster at the direction of the mayor of the city. Some of those cops were from Maryland.

Tearing up or fixing tickets IS a useful tool for MINOR traffic offenses for previously mentioned reasons. You still haven't shown me the "corruption". Ever read 1984?

Common Idiot said:

Nice to see that you think cops are above the law.

MARJORIE said:

COMMON IDIOT AND ACTivist;

DESCRETION:TO ACT ACCORDING TO ONE'S JUDGEMENT

IT REALLY IS UP TO THE OFFICER/DEPUTY{S} DISCRETION TO HAVE A TICKET IS VOIDED OR REDUCED. I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS EXCEPT WHEN IT DEALS WITH OFFENSES SUCH AS DUI AND OTHER ENDANGERING ACTIONS TOWARD OTHERS.

THINK OF IT THIS WAY,
YOU GET PULLED OVER FOR A MINOR TRAFFIC OFFENSE, SAY YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN YOUR TAGS UPDATED. THE OFFICER/DEPUTY SAY'S OK, GO GET IT DONE, HOWEVER NEXT TIME I'LL WRITE YOU A TICKET. OR HE WRITES YOU A TICKET AND YOU GET THE TAGS, CALL HIM UP AND SAY, HEY I GOT MY TAGS, CAN YOU DROP THE TICKET? ALL OF THIS IS DESCRETION ON THE OFFICER/DEPUTY'S PART....

MY GUESS: BE NICE AND RESPECTFULL TO OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT IF YOU SHOULD GET PULLED OVER, THEIR
DESCRETION COULD SAVE YOU FROM GETTING A TICKET.

ACTivist said:

Marjorie,
That's my take. Minor traffic offenses. No harm, no foul.

squirrel said:

Common Idiot,

"Integrity....gifts, etc" Have you ever been to the Parcher Ave 7-11 George always talks about (Where the daylaborers are)?? When Mr George walked out with his FREE cup of coffee, he took a gift! Well then again, I'm sure in George's 22 years of law enforcement he never took a free cup of coffee. I bet Ahlemann is the only one to speak truthfully on that as well. Maybe the Post will see this and put it on Sunday's front page. That would be a story!

MARJORIE said:

FOUND THIS ARTICLE INTERESTING AS IT WAS WRITTEN BY A FORMER DEPUTY OF LOUDOUN COUNTY IN THE LOUDOUN CONNECTION PAPER.

Letter: Without Cause
October 24, 2007


To the Editor:
In regards to Sheriff Simpson's claim during the debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters on Sept. 25, 2007, that he never "fired" or demoted anyone for political reasons.
After every election all deputies must be reappointed by the sheriff. If you are not reappointed you are out of a job. You are "fired," without recourse.
Shortly after the 2003 election, Simpson had the dispatcher notify me over the radio (I was on duty at the time) to meet him at the Round Hill substation. I met with Simpson in the roll-call room where he notified me that I was not to be reappointed. He gave no reason or justification. In effect, I was "fired," without cause.
Over the past few years, I had learned a lot about Simpson's past, specifically incidents, which took place during his service with the Vienna Police Department. I was very disappointed in Simpson and the system that hired him and elected him.
These incidents from the past combined with Simpson's failure to fulfill his professional duties and responsibilities as the current sheriff, led me to be an outspoken opponent to his re-election.
I was not alone. Three of his deputies Chris Harmison, Mark Davis and Chris Jones resigned to run against him. If this was not an indictment of Simpson's failure as a sheriff, I do not know what would be.
… As an Army Officer (retired), I served two tours in Vietnam as an attack helicopter pilot, flew 1,300 combat hours and was awarded more than 40 combat citations. I fully appreciate and respect the right and duty to defend ones beliefs. I have the Purple Heart to prove it.
I believe that citizens should be free to express their beliefs without fear of retaliation, especially from someone elected by the people.
I am not the only deputy to be removed for opposing Simpson politically. Simpson has retaliated against a number of his personnel for political reasons. …
I do not believe any of us were undermining the mission of the agency. Quite the contrary, I believe we were upholding the freedoms that make this country so great. We were standing up for our beliefs. We were trying to make a better agency.

Dennis M. Patterson
Ashburn


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