Will Shewmake introduced Karl Leonard, Chesterfield County Sheriff. Sheriff Leonard served in the U.S. Coast Guard both as Active Duty and Reserve, where he commanded several units and was deployed numerous times. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from VCU he graduated from the FBI National Academy. From 1982 to 2012 he served in the Chesterfield Police Department, where his last position was Commander of the Uniform Operations Bureau.
The Sheriff’s department runs the jails, courts and civil processes. Chesterfield County usually has 1100 to 1200 in its jails with 16,000 incarcerated yearly. It has 15 courts and serves 87,000 papers annually.
Sheriff Leonard talked about his programs to give back to the community despite no funding to do so. He had handouts on the:
•Pre-Release Center and Community Reentry Programs
•Work Release and Employment Opportunity Network Community Partnership
•Heroin Addiction Recovery Program
Sheriff Leonard emphasized that heroin addiction is a major problem in Chesterfield and it reaches into middle school with the average age when it is first tried at age 13. It is the easiest and cheapest drug to buy. When it is tried just once it has been shown to change the brain. He says that “everyone of us know a heroin addict.”