Sheriff Matt Robertson and Chris Hartless run for Staunton Sheriff

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - The Staunton Sheriff’s race is heating up.

Sheriff Matt Robertson is hoping to continue his work as sheriff for the fourth year, but opponent Chris Hartless says it’s time for change.

“There’s some things going on in the sheriff’s office that I didn’t agree with professionally and ethically. I felt like my background, my training, my experience gave me the opportunity to change those things,” Hartless said.

One of the biggest things Hartless is hoping to bring the office is more training.

“Making sure that the guys and girls have absolutely all the resources they can have at their disposal to do their job more effectively, more proficiently for the citizens that we all serve,” Hartless said.

Sheriff Robertson said his team now has over 150 years of law enforcement training combined, and his goal is getting the sheriff’s office accredited.

“It’s going to hold this department to a higher standard with training and being held accountable,” Sheriff Robertson said. “I want to show the citizens of Staunton that we’re willing to work hard for them and go through this process because it’s not an easy process. It’s long and drawn out and it takes usually a couple of years to get accredited.”

But he said his top priority is community engagement and education.

“I’ve been involved in the community more than any other sheriff that’s been in this office, and that’s important to me because community, that’s who we are,” Sheriff Robertson said.

He added that he’s also looking at the possibility of getting body cams for the deputies in the sheriff’s office to be more transparent with the community.

“It comes with a big price tag, and I’m working on that now trying to find ways to secure those body cams for this office because I think it’s important. I think the citizens need to know what we do and how we do things,” Sheriff Robertson said.

Hartless said if he is elected as sheriff, one of the things he would start working on right away are building better relationships with neighboring agencies.

“And then we’re going to start looking at moving the office forward, into the future as far as getting in some advance trainings for the folks that are working there,” Hartless said. “Getting some in house trainings done for emergency situations that may or may not occur, hopefully don’t occur, in the courthouse with the courthouse staff who are in there everyday working so that they know how to react, they know what we’re going to do.”

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