All News & Blogs
Cancer forcing Westmoreland Sheriff Buddy Jackson to retire after 31 years in office
Westmoreland Sheriff C.W. 'Buddy' Jackson is being treated for lung cancer.
Frank Delano/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
BY FRANK DELANO
Eighteen months ago, Westmoreland County Sheriff C.W. "Buddy" Jackson said he planned to seek re-election "after I get this little problem taken care of."
Jackson's "little problem" was lung cancer. After months of radiation treatments, he thought he had it licked.
In early March, he announced that he would seek re-election to his ninth term as sheriff, the job he has held and loved for 31 years.
This week, Jackson said that his disease has recurred. He recently spent a week in a hospital.
"Chemotherapy is rough. I can't fight two battles, the election and this, at the same time," he said.
The popular sheriff officially bowed out of Westmoreland politics Tuesday night with a letter declining the county Republican Committee's nomination that was his for the asking.
Jackson did not attend the meeting. He said he is staying away from groups to avoid possible infections.
Jackson, 64, served nine years as a Virginia state trooper assigned to Westmoreland before being elected sheriff in 1975.
Back then, the department had seven employees. Now it has 45, Jackson said.
Back then, deputies received little training. Now they train at the Rappahannock Regional Police Academy, which Jackson helped found.
Back then, county prisoners were locked up in an old jail designed for eight. By the time it closed in 1995, the county was paying "astronomical" rates to house 40 prisoners in other jails, he said.
County prisoners are now held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail, which Jackson also helped establish. The county pays virtually nothing to keep them there because of the income the regional jail receives from keeping federal prisoners.
"His whole life has been law enforcement," said Norm Risavi, county administrator since 1993. "He's never taken a vacation the whole time I've been here.
"He seems to know everybody in the county and who their neighbors and relatives are. His knowledge has proven extremely useful in many situations and emergencies," Risavi said.
"He's also a good manager of his budget and has always turned money back to the county."