Name: Darrell W. Warren Jr.
Race: Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office
Biography: Darrell Warren Jr. was born and raised in the Williamsburg section of York County and graduated from Bruton High School. He joined the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office as a deputy assigned to uniform patrol in 1991, received awards for Deputy of the Year and the MADD award multiple times for his efforts in combating impaired driving.
Darrell was also trained and certified as a field training officer and general instructor. He was promoted to patrol sergeant in 1995 and joined our Special Operations Unit. He received an award for Supervisor of the Year. He was promoted to patrol lieutenant in 1998 and transferred shortly after to investigations division lieutenant.
He was promoted to captain of law enforcement in 2000 and was directly responsible for the following divisions: Uniform Patrol, Investigations, School Resource, 911 Dispatch, and Auxiliary. He also served many years as the Special Operations Unit commander and deputy coordinator of emergency services.
He was promoted to major of law enforcement in 2008 and served as public information officer. He was promoted to chief deputy in 2010 and served as the accreditation manager leading the office through accreditation in 2011. He was elected sheriff in 2012 and re-elected in 2015.
Why should residents re-elect you to be Sheriff?
I have proudly served the citizens of Gloucester County for 28 years, starting as a patrol deputy in 1991 and progressing my way up through every rank in the Sheriff’s Office until ultimately being elected sheriff in 2012.
I am a graduate of the F. B. I. National Academy, the Professional Executive Leadership School at the University of Richmond, and I hold a degree in administration of justice. I have 24 years of supervisory experience with the last 19 at the command level.
I am an active member of the Abingdon Ruritan Club and serve on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Gloucester. Since being elected sheriff, I have fulfilled my promises of aggressively pursuing narcotics dealers, being fiscally responsible, and have implemented many youth safety and crime prevention initiatives.
The Sheriff’s Office has received multiple awards for our traffic safety initiatives and has been re-accredited twice (2015 and 2019) under this administration. The crime rate in Gloucester County is as low as it has been since 2011 which is a direct reflection of the great work by the men and women who work here and the positive relationship that we enjoy with the citizens that we serve.
What are three major challenges the sheriff’s department is facing, and what will you do to address these challenges if elected?
Since my time as sheriff I have seen that many of the same issues exist at different levels, and although many of these issues may subside, it is a matter of time before they re-emerge, often presenting law enforcement with the same challenges.
The most notable of these issues is the ever so common drug related theme that plagues society as a whole. When coupling the various types, styles and/or varieties available on the market with the fact that they tend to be cyclical in nature, implementing a plan to combat this issue always presents a challenge.
I have seen new drugs such as spice and bath salts emerge within our community, and older more recognizable drugs such as heroin and prescription drugs re-emerge, being either used or sold, and even leading to overdoses and deaths.
As sheriff, I have and will continue taking a firm stance on the battle against drugs in our community and will continue proactive measures to fight those who intend to bring them into our county. Some of our efforts include education of our youth through our DARE program in the elementary schools, our public forum on opioids at the high school, and many other informative seminars.
The Sheriff’s Office continues membership and assignment of personnel to the regional drug taskforce. As Sheriff, I have approved and implemented the use of Narcan by our deputies when they encounter an individual who has overdosed from opioid use.
I have also implemented a K-9 program that has greatly assisted with the detection of narcotics and allows us to perform continuous sweeps of our county schools. I anticipate the war on drugs will always exist and I will continue to monitor and implement necessary means to eradicate the problem and keep them out of our community.
Another issue facing the Sheriff’s Office today, and it is a problem facing the entire industry, is staffing. Locating and hiring good law enforcement candidates is becoming more difficult in each passing year. There was a time when the Sheriff’s Office posted an opening, we would receive dozens of applications with a majority of those being potentially good candidates with very good backgrounds. Today we struggle to get nearly as many applicants, and we find that many of those displaying interest are often removed from the process due to issues found within their backgrounds.
Society has changed over the past 30 years, and many young men and women simply are not inclined to partake in the everyday risks associated with law enforcement. In other cases, those that are interested have regretfully participated in activities that in turn, make them ineligible for hire. Even though we are facing this problem, the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office will maintain a firm stance on not reducing our hiring criteria.
We place a great deal of effort into hiring the right people to work here and I would rather work short staffed than to lower our standards and potentially damage our excellent reputation within the community. As far as recruitment, we are continually analyzing ways to enlist trustworthy, well-rounded people to our agency and do so by never compromising our agency values, staying competitive with salaries, working with our local high school and area colleges to promote our community and agency in a positive light.
Although staffing appears to be an issue nationwide, we feel as though we have less turnover and better qualified candidates than do most agencies. This is a direct reflection of the working relationship between administration within this office, the county Board of Supervisors, and this great community. Our deputies continue to be provided with the most up to date equipment along with, competitive salaries and training which enhances both morale and job performance. In the end, the community reaps this reward.