In Virginia, sheriffs are constitutional officers elected to four-year terms. They are responsible for their community’s law enforcement, jail administration, court security and civil processing. While some sheriff’s departments handle law enforcement directly, others cede that responsibility to local police departments.
W.G. “Billy” Kidd is running unopposed for Buckingham County Sheriff, a position he’s held since 2007. In his first two elections, Kidd faced challengers, but he has run unopposed since 2011.
Though Kidd is the only candidate certified by the Virginia Department of Elections, voters can write in other candidates.
Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire for Kidd based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. He answered by email.
Editor’s note: The first version of this Q&A mistakenly said that Kidd did not respond to the questionnaire. He did, and we appreciate it.
Sheriff’s offices in Virginia function a little differently than in many other states. Can you tell us a little about the role of Sheriff? What is the office responsible for and how does it differ from the police departments?
W.G. “Billy” Kidd: The main duties of the sheriff in Virginia are to make sure the courthouse and personnel who work there are safe and to serve the many legal documents that are sent to us from various jurisdictions. In counties that do not have a county police department, like Buckingham, the sheriff and deputies are responsible to patrol, detect law violations and apprehend suspects. The main difference in this function between sheriffs’ offices and police departments are: We have a limited number of deputies, because the state limits the number they will pay for and police departments are fully funded by county taxpayers.
Buckingham County is one of several in central Virginia with an uncontested sheriff’s race. Why do you think you have no opponent for this race?
Kidd: This will be my third uncontested race in a row! Hopefully it is because the citizens here have been pleased with the status quo and are satisfied. Although a career in law enforcement has lost some appeal in recent years, I know there are competent and willing people who will step up when I am ready to step down.
What do you think about the sheriff’s office working with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement?
Kidd: I would have no problem working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I just don’t want to have to do their job for them!
Are there other pressing issues facing the Buckingham Sheriff’s Department that you’d like voters to know about?
Kidd: We are having trouble attracting recruits. Many young people are disenfranchised with the notion of becoming a law enforcement officer for obvious reasons. Due to three recent retirements we are shorthanded at the moment.
Do you have any certifications or qualifications for this position that you want voters to know about?
Kidd: I am currently in my 47th year in the law enforcement field and have always tried to treat everyone equally. I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated under similar circumstances, if they will let me! I try hard to encourage my deputies to do the same.
More links about the Buckingham County Sheriff
- Kidd’s campaign contributions, from the Virginia Public Access Project
- A story about Kidd seeking reelection, for subscribers of the Farmville Herald
As you get ready to vote, here are some key dates and links from the Virginia Department of Elections:
Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.
- Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
- Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
- Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
- Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
- Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
- Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.
Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.