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20091030

Of Course I Want Paul Best To Be Sheriff! But I Might Be A Little Biased.

For at least the next four days Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement officer Paul J. Best can still hope to become the next Sheriff of Charlottesville. Come November 3rd, the final result will be in the hands of the area’s residents.

Mr. Best has made it a point that he’s running as an Independent. However, while the concept of his obviating affiliation with a particular party in the interest of John and Jane Q. Public seems sound in theory, it could be argued that what Mr. Best has essentially done is scorned partisan-loyal citizens while simultaneously soliciting their votes. Or has he merely tried to capitalize on a steadily growing Independent political movement?

Mr. Best’s centrism aside, in addition to ensuring agency accreditation and creating openings for volunteers, the candidate, if elected, also intends to put a Gang Reduction and Intervention Program (GRIP) into place. Mr. Best has publicly stated the gang program is “highly successful” and even ties it to the city of Richmond’s reduced danger rate, but in a conversation I had with him about local youth he said the following:
Detective Best: All these young kids -- a matter of time, but eventually their time comes. Few people slip by.

And whether they don’t -- they get by us -- it’s their rival gang member, or drug dealer, that ends up having a beef with them, they get shot and killed by them. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of like a cycle that’s just not ending. We dealt with their parents, now we’re dealing with their kids. And it just keeps going.

Me: I mean you don’t think you’re -- you’re going to change that do you?

Detective Best: You’re not, no. You’re not.

I mean, you look at these people and you just -- they live too much for today. They don’t think about the future. They don’t think where they want to go, how they would want their life to go or end up. They want to get married, one day, and have a family but -- you know, it’s not about that. But they end up with a family and then they don’t know what to do with them and they don’t do the right things with them. You know? And they’re seventeen years old! And they’ve got their third kid already! You know? And they’ve got their third kid, but they’re no longer with the mother. Or they’ve got a kid here with this one, a kid there with that one, a kid there with that one.

It’s…

It’s, it’s, it’s really sad.

(Audio here)

If Mr. Best doesn’t believe things can be changed for the very people a program like GRIP targets, why has he been advocating GRIP for Charlottesville?

Frankly it’s hard to conceive of anyone who’s pursuing election to a position of power not engaging in the kind of shady strategies for personal gain that typically abound in such campaigns. To be fair though, a contender may be simply na├»ve rather than intentionally deceptive. Unfortunately neither of those attributes make for a good Sheriff.