The letter was written by law enforcement leaders: Kim Slayton White, Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney; Ken Stolle, Sheriff of Virginia Beach; Michael Brown, Bedford County Sheriff; Lisa Caruso, Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney; Octavia Johnson, Sheriff of the City of Roanoke; and Gary Close, Culpeper County Commonwealth's Attorney.
To the Editor:This letter was a good reminder of George Allen's leadership and accomplishments for the betterment of Virginians and America.
It’s clear that we need a leader in Congress who will work hard to make both Virginia and America safer for our law-abiding citizens and their families. When crime threatens the safety and well-being of our communities, it’s essential that our elected officials do not hesitate to step in and crack down on the problem.
As our governor, George Allen demonstrated a proven and thorough record of helping to bolster public safety in the commonwealth, working alongside law enforcement officials to ensure that common sense, effective approaches to addressing crime problems were in place and helping make our communities safer.
When George Allen took office in 1994, violent crime in our state was at an all-time high. The skyrocketing crime rate in Virginia was in part the result of the soft approach being taken in the granting of parole, making it easier for violent criminals to get out of prison. Many criminals were serving only one third of their sentence, with three-out-of-four violent crimes being committed by repeat offenders.
One of George Allen’s key accomplishments while serving as governor was his successful initiative to abolish the dishonest and broken parole system and enact truth-in-sentencing laws. These proposals helped close the revolving door in our prisons and keep violent criminals behind bars, where they belong.
George Allen also fought as governor to reform our antiquated and broken juvenile justice system. Under the old outdated system, teenagers who committed heinous violent crimes such as murder or rape were effectively given only a slap on the wrist. Juvenile murderers at the time were serving less than six-year sentences. Under then-Governor Allen’s reforms, juveniles 14-17 years old charged with murder would be automatically tried as adults. Those charged with other serious violent crimes such as armed robbery and rape could be tried as adults at the discretion of the commonwealth’s attorney. These and other common-sense approaches helped hold violent criminals accountable for the fear and destruction that they cause to our communities.
These successful initiatives had a dramatic effect on crime in Virginia. Our violent crime rate stood at its lowest level in more than a decade at the end of Governor Allen’s term in office.
Fifteen years after parole was abolished, the violent crime rate in the Commonwealth was down 37 percent. These necessary reforms continue to improve public safety here in Virginia and make our communities a better place to live and do business.
As a senator, George Allen continued the fight for public safety and security for law-abiding citizens throughout the United States. Allen served as an advocate in the wake of 9/11 for the military men and women who serve, defending our security abroad as well as the first responders who protect our families here at home.
We stand by George Allen and his campaign for U.S. Senate. George is a strong conservative who we know will work hard to serve and represent the people of our Commonwealth. As a proven leader, he will continue his going fight to keep Virginia and America safe.