Page County Sheriff Candidates share top priorities if elected

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - Anyone who has driven through Page County over the last year has likely seen a number of yard signs for both of the County’s Sheriff Candidates. The race is one of the Valley’s most discussed local races this election season as incumbent Sheriff Chad Cubbage is seeking a third term and is facing a familial foe.

Stanley Police Captain Aaron Cubbage is running against the sheriff, the two men are also cousins. Both candidates have had long careers in law enforcement and WHSV spoke with both of them about their top priorities if elected and how they would address the challenges facing Page County.

“I love being sheriff of Page County, I’m really excited about this next term. Being sheriff is not about the title it’s about serving the citizens of Page County with the very best law enforcement and I just want to continue to serve the citizens of Page County,” said Sheriff Chad Cubbage.

Sheriff Cubbage said that his record as Sheriff speaks for itself and cited the recognitions that his agency has received.

“There are 450 law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia, only 101 of those are accredited. The Page County Sheriff’s Office is accredited and we just went through a recent reaccreditation. We’ve received 8 consecutive 100s in our jail, 8 consecutive years in a row, so things are running very smoothly here,” he said.

Stanley Police Captain Aaron Cubbage said that he believes the Page County Sheriff’s Office needs a change.

“I would argue that it’s time for a change. We’ve had a lot of the same status quo over the last eight years and I think it’s time for a change. I think there are a lot of things we can do better and be more efficient with and I think it’s time to make those changes and I look forward to leading that change,” said Aaron.

Aaron said that if he elected he will be a servant leader and bring a culture of transparency to the office.

“I want to focus a lot on being accountable and being transparent so the public has a better understanding of what’s going on especially with critical incidents. I believe it’s time to start doing press releases where we are interviewed by the press and we also answer questions so that people can be more informed of what’s going on,” he said.

Aaron said that being accessible to county residents is a big part of what he hopes to bring to the office of Sheriff.

“The general thing that I continually encounter is that as sheriff people want to be connected with me. That’s why I’ve put out my personal cell phone number and I’ve tried to be as accessible as I can. I can assure everyone that my cell phone number will not change if I’m elected Sheriff of Page County,” said Aaron. “I think people just want to be connected with their sheriff, they want to feel like they can reach out to them. They want to make sure services are provided as efficiently and effectively as possible and those are the things I plan on delivering as the Sheriff of Page County.”

Aaron said that the Sheriff’s Office has an overspending problem under the current administration and said he would look to change that.

“Our current administration has the most overspent budget in the history of the Sheriff’s Office so we’ve got to get back to grass roots enforcement along with conserving the money that we have,” said Aaron.

Sheriff Chad Cubbage refutes that claim, saying that while there are certain cases where his office has to go over budget, that has not been the case as of late.

“With the budget there are a lot of things that, I don’t care who the sheriff is, that are unforeseen costs. So last year we gave back $200,000 we were under budget, we’ve actually been under budget the last three years,” said Sheriff Cubbage. “When I have an inmate for example that comes in and is on dialysis and I have to take them for dialysis treatment three times a week, that’s money that hasn’t been appropriated from the beginning of the year.”

Sheriff Cubbage said that these kind of budget overages can also come from emergency incidents like the manhunt for Timothy Comer earlier this summer.

“Those things aren’t free but all hands are on deck when you have something like that, we have a dangerous criminal in our community and we have to address that issue aggressively. I can’t sit back and say ‘we don’t have the money in the budget to address this issue’ I can’t put the budget above the safety of the people,” he said.

Aaron said that the Page County Sheriff’s Office currently has no active shooter training program for Page County Public Schools. He said that if elected he will implement an active shooter training program for all teachers and school staff.

Sheriff Cubbage said that his office has offered active shooter training to civilians and that it hopes to expand that program in the near future.

“With our active shooter training we’re wanting to expand our active shooter training and branch it out to more of the businesses as well as continue to train within our schools with our school staff to make sure that they’re trained as well,” he said.

Sheriff Cubbage said his office also wants to work to help combat human trafficking.

“We’re working at possibly getting people certified in human trafficking awareness and teaching that at our local businesses to make sure that they can look for things to identify people that may be trafficked,” he said.

Both candidates said that the biggest issue facing Page County is its drug problem and shared how they will work to address that.

“We’ve got a lot of things coming down the pipeline that I think are going to be great for Page County. We’re going to continue to address the drug problem that Page County faces, that seems to be the hot topic right now. I’m looking at expanding our drug interdiction team,” said Sheriff Cubbage. “My staff and I are working diligently at addressing that drug problem. We’re making hundreds of arrests a year and we just want to make sure that we’re getting these drug dealers off the street as well.”

Aaron Cubbage hopes to take a different approach to the problem.

“Right now there is a lot of effort made toward people that have possession of drugs with them. I want to focus on the larger distributors that are bringing it to our county to cut off that flow,” he said. “I also believe in the prevention side and that’s why I’ve written what’s called the Dove project. What I would like to do is connect all of our community resources together so we can help people that are in a position where they want to be helped and get them connected with the resources they need.”

Page County voters will make a decision on which of the Cubbage cousins will serve as sheriff at the ballot box on November 7.