April 22, 2024

Crystal Cline, candidate for Warren County Sheriff, with Ronald Napier. Courtesy photo.

WARREN COUNTY, VA – Warren County Sheriff candidate Crystal Cline has received the endorsement of Ronald Napier, a prominent retired Virginia Circuit Court Judge.

Judge Napier said of the Republican candidate, “Crystal Cline is a proven and highly respected law enforcement officer. Warren County desperately needs law enforcement leadership in the Office of Sheriff…Captain Cline has a record of demonstrating she can meet the challenges on all levels.”

Napier, who notified Captain Cline of his endorsement in an Aug. 22 letter, stated that he is “confident that Captain Cline is well qualified and, most importantly she is proven to confront and effectively address the many tough issues that lie ahead.”

Cline noted in a recent press release, “As a proud public servant for over two decades, it is an immense honor to have the support of a community leader as esteemed and respected as Judge Napier. I look forward to living up to those words by restoring leadership to the role and making sure our community knows that we have the integrity this office demands.”

Captain Cline, a Front Royal Police Department veteran of over 22 years, currently handles operational command of the patrol and investigations divisions, supervising all critical response areas, including the Emergency Services Team (SWAT), Crisis Negotiations Team, and the Civil Disturbance Unit. She also supervises the drug and gang task force efforts of the FRPD.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Roanoke College and is currently completing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of the Cumberlands.

Cline previously told The Shaw Report, “I have spent 22-plus years in public safety in this community and have seen a lot of changes throughout the years between the town and county governments and with both law enforcement agencies. I have been dismayed by the current state of these vital relationships and will fight to do my part to improve them. I know I am more than qualified to be the next Warren County Sheriff and I will prove it on day one when I am elected.”

Cline, who has the endorsement of the Warren County GOP committee, is challenging first-term incumbent Mark Butler, a former Herndon police officer, who kicked off his campaign in April.

Butler has faced public scrutiny for several issues during his first term, including his January 2021 decision to remove the Warren County Sheriff’s Office from the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force. The withdrawal was the first in the agency’s 37-year history.

The task force was created in 1986 by then-Warren County Sheriff Lynn Armentrout and Clarke County Sheriff’s Investigator Tony Roper (currently Clarke County Sheriff).

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the Winchester Police Department & Front Royal Police Department–along with Virginia State Police–were the original members of the regional agency. The Page County Sheriff’s Office, the Strasburg Police Department and the Luray Police Department have since joined the task force.

Members of the task force were sworn in as Virginia State Police Officers and cooperatively work across the region to reduce drug activity. They have solved and significantly reduced violent crimes since the agency was formed.

10th District Congressman Frank Wolf (R), who saw the value in creating a multi-agency task force, was instrumental in securing funding along the way. He also helped establish the presence of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the valley as well as establishing a federal courthouse in Harrisonburg.

Because he noticed increasing gang activity in Northern Virginia, Wolf secured funding for the task force to create a gang task force component. Since its inception, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force has played a significant role in reducing crime across the region.

Officials say the task force has been a model for many others across the state on how cooperation and shared resources can more effectively combat crime.

The task force’s 2022 year-end report, released earlier this year, stated that it had seized a total of $1,899,043. worth of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, and seized $182,567.00 worth of assets and 42 firearms.

The task force also made 191 felony arrests and indictments and identified, dismantled, and disrupted six drug trafficking organizations.

Cline has stated publicly that one of her first initiatives as Warren County Sheriff would be to rejoin the task force. Speaking to the Blue Mountain Property Owner’s Association earlier this month, Cline said that pooling resources has allowed the task force to focus on surveillance “and take down big operations” funneling drugs into the region. She cited the task force’s August seizure of $31,000 cash, 30 pounds of marijuana and two pounds of meth as proof that the agency plays a significant role in reducing crime in the community.

In the last three years, Cline stated, “61 of our community members have died of a drug overdose in Front Royal and Warren County. We have to fight the fight or its going to be an open-air drug market—that is not what we want here.”

Drawing upon her campaign slogan, a clever use of her first name, Cline stated that she is “Crystal Clear” about serving Warren County and Front Royal citizens by using her “leadership experience, education, training and perseverance to make the Warren County Sheriff’s Office an agency that is once again respected and trusted by the community, the rest of the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the State of Virginia.”

Cline and her husband, George, are residents of Warren County. They raised eight children together, all of whom attended and graduated from Warren County Public Schools.




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