Twice-elected Virginia sheriff quits the Democrats over ‘relentless’ calls to defund the police

The Four Percent


Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler said cops were the victims of an 'unprecedented assault'

Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler said cops were the victims of an ‘unprecedented assault’ 

A twice-elected Virginia sheriff has become the third in the state to quit the Democratic Party over its relentless calls to defund the police. 

Sheriff Chip Shuler announced on May 26 that he was quitting the party he normally represented, saying in a statement that it had been ‘difficult to watch his deputies’ trying to work during the ‘unprecedented assault’ on their profession.  

‘My deputies work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. 

As sheriff, it has been difficult to watch my deputies try to move forward during this ‘unprecedented assault on our profession. 

‘We (law enforcement) remain an honorable profession and should not be judged by the bad acts of a few. 

‘I have always been a conservative throughout my law enforcement career of 38 years,’ he said. 

He is the third Virginia sheriff to make the switch. 

Last year, Sheriff Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County and Sheriff John McClanahan of Buchanan County both quit over the same issue.

Shuler was welcomed with open arms by the Virginia GOP. 

Sheriff Chip Shuler is shown filing his membership application to join the Republican Party in Smyth County, Virginia, after quitting the Democrats - the party he ran with twice and was elected with - over its repeated calls to defund the police

Sheriff Chip Shuler is shown filing his membership application to join the Republican Party in Smyth County, Virginia, after quitting the Democrats – the party he ran with twice and was elected with – over its repeated calls to defund the police 

‘I congratulate Sheriff Shuler on taking this bold move to leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party. 

‘We are thrilled to have him as a member of the Republican Party in Smyth County,’ Smyth County Republican Party chairman Adam Tolbert told WJHL.

Hieatt told Fox News in a recent interview: ‘When we hear talks about defund the police, take away resources, the bottom line is, you get what you pay for and that’s with any profession. 

‘So if you take away money and have to pay bottom dollar for certain for all the service and not have the resources to properly train, not have the money to properly test all the new applicants and new people coming in, then you’re not going to get the best. 

Sheriff Brian Hieatt

Sheriff John McClanahan

Sheriff Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County (left) and Sheriff John McClanahan (right) of Buchanan County both switched to the Republican Party over the same issue

Sheriff McClanahan posted this on Facebook when he quit the Democratic Party in September. He said in part he could no longer be associated with the party

Sheriff McClanahan posted this on Facebook when he quit the Democratic Party in September. He said in part he could no longer be associated with the party 

‘If you want better people in law enforcement, then there needs to be more funding to be able to do more testing, to be able to offer better pay as the people come in.

‘When we arrest somebody, when we convict somebody, there’s been a victim of a crime.

‘When you’re changing laws to try to make things better for [criminals], what’s making things better for the victims who had to suffer?’ he said. 

Virginia – where Democrats have a slim majority – has passed multiple police reform bills. 

There is a ban on no-knock warrants and now there is statewide, mandatory racism training for officers.   

Sheriff John McClanahan said in his statement in September: ‘As we know, Law Enforcement is taking a hit in this country. 

‘There is unrest in areas and there is a cry for police reform. This I can agree with, our field is an ever-changing field that requires constant changes and updates to effectively do the job and protect our citizens.

‘The Democratic Party that we know today is no longer the party my grandfather was involved in. 

‘The ideologies of the party have shifted away from those traditional values.

‘Currently, the Democratic Party is going against everything I stand for, pushing for defunding the police and the taking away of safeguards that have been in place for us.

‘If law enforcement is defunded, we will not have the proper means to adequately protect our citizens.

‘This will also mean less training for your law enforcement officers.

Last year there was an uprising of calls to defund entire police departments across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd. Police departments largely welcomed calls for more antiracism training but they said the way to improve their forces was to invest more in them – to pay for such training – rather than cut budgets that would end up putting people’s safety at risk 

‘I can no longer be associated with the National Democratic Party due to them introducing bills that negatively affect my community and my livelihood,’ he said. 

Last year there was an uprising of calls to defund entire police departments across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd.

Police departments largely welcomed calls for more antiracism training but they said the way to improve their forces was to invest more in them – to pay for such training – rather than cut budgets that would end up putting people’s safety at risk.

Biden won in Virginia 54 percent to Trump’s 44 percent. It has been a blue state since 2008 and its General Assembly is also controlled by Democrats. 

The State Senate is controlled by Democrats 21 to 18, and the State House of Delegates is controlled by Democrats 55 to 45. 

Governor Ralph Northam was slammed last year by House Republicans after calling the ongoing efforts to ‘defund the police’ a matter ‘semantics’.  

House of Delegates Minority Leader Todd Gilbert responded saying it did matter and was not just ‘semantics’. 

‘Respectfully, Governor, the effort to “defund the police” is about more than ‘semantics.’ It’s a clear attempt to punish all law enforcement officers for the actions of a few, rather than providing them with the resources they need to keep our communities safe — a task made more difficult by your decision to release murderers and other dangerous felons before they finish their sentences.

‘House Republicans will work to make sure our law enforcement professionals have the resources and support they need to do their jobs.’ 

The next election in Virginia is in November.  



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