By Diandra Spicak
Chris Blalock is the new Rockbridge County sheriff.
For the past 19 years, Blalock served as chief deputy for the retiring sheriff, Bob Day.
Blalock received 75 percent of the votes, handily defeating his opponents, Vernon Reynolds and Roger Clark. Reynolds received 21 percent of the vote and Clark garnered 4 percent.
“Being the second in charge … I just assumed that at some point I’ll step forward and run,” Blalock said before voters went to the polls. “I think the sheriff needs to be out front in the community.He needs to take a leadership role in law enforcement issues, and always be accessible to the public and available at all times.”
Blalock has attended both the Virginia Forensic Science Academy and the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico. If elected, he said he wantsto bridge the “disconnect”between the citizens and the deputies.
“I hope to get the deputies out in the community more, maybe get them out of the cars more, have them involved in community activities and make people feel more comfortable in being able to approach them,” he said.
Clark, a Rockbridge County native, has worked in law enforcement since 1986, starting as a dispatcher for the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista. He now serves as the administrative assistant for the Lexington Chief of Police.
Reynolds,a Rockbridge native, has 36 years of law enforcement experience working in the Buena Vista Police Department, the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Department, the Virginia Department of Corrections and at the Middle River Regional Jail. He retired from his job as lieutenant colonel at the state prison in February.
Reynolds’ father, Sylvia, was the Rockbridge County sheriff for eight years. Vernon, the son, grew up as a fixture in the sheriff’s office, celebrating his first few birthdays there, he says.
“It’s not a party issue,” Clark said. “It’s who’s got the best platform and who’s going to do the most.”