Proven and Effective Leadership
Sheriff Ken Stolle’s 36+ years of public service began with the Virginia Beach Police Department, where he served from 1976-1987 as a patrol officer, narcotics detective and SWAT Team sergeant and earned the Silver Star for Bravery, Medal of Merit and the Silver Cross for Bravery. He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, read law and passed the Virginia Bar Exam in 1983. He began practicing law in 1987 and was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1991. He served 18 years in the Senate, shaping public policy for Virginia and leading criminal justice reforms that included abolishing parole and improving the Line of Duty Act to better care for the survivors of fallen law enforcement officers. He rose to the position of Majority Whip and Republican Leader Pro Tempore and chaired the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, the Crime Commission and the Senate Finance Public Safety Committee.
Ken decided to return to his law enforcement roots by running for Virginia Beach sheriff in 2009, winning the election over opponent John Bell with 70 percent of the vote. Since taking office in 2010 - including winning re-election in 2013 - Sheriff Stolle has shepherded in an unprecedented period of excellence, innovation and growth for the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Putting Public Safety First
Under Sheriff Stolle’s leadership, the Virginia Beach jail - the largest in Virginia - has received the highest scores possible from the Virginia Department of Corrections, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Justice (PREA). It has become recognized as one of the toughest, best-run jails in the commonwealth.
The jail is safer than ever, with drastic reductions in suicides and assaults by inmates on deputies and each other. In addition, Sheriff Stolle created a Criminal Intelligence Unit, which has successfully worked with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate crimes both inside and outside the jail. He also started a K9 Unit, which has improved safety in the jail and other public buildings, including the Virginia Beach Courthouse, and helped take hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of narcotics off the streets.
Sheriff Stolle also recognizes that empowering inmates to change is essential to reducing recidivism and keeping the community safe once inmates are released from jail. To that end, he has created a Reentry Program that prepares inmates for returning to society and has a 90 percent success rate. He also built upon programs to address mental health, substance abuse and education.
Saving the Taxpayers Money
Sheriff Stolle has increased revenue at the Sheriff’s Office by $5 million a year to offset the cost to taxpayers of operating the jail. That revenue comes from commissary sales and putting inmates to work through the Inmate Workforce, which mows along public streets, provides maintenances and landscaping services to the City and helps with disaster relief. These taxpayer savings have been accomplished while expanding medical and mental health care, increasing deputy training and pay and implementing new inmate programs. Despite coming into office during the recession, he has led by balancing the office’s $48 million budget without layoffs.
Serving the Community, Reflecting the Community
Sheriff Stolle and the deputies and civilians of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office have hearts for public service and volunteer hundreds of hours every year. They responded to help neighborhoods recover from Hurricane Matthew and the April 2017 tornado. They remain active in schools, serving as mentors and in programs such as Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs. And they are instrumental in supporting Special Olympics Virginia, the Pungo Strawberry Festival, the United Way, the American Red Cross, the food bank, senior programs, Law Enforcement United and many others.
Sheriff Stolle also recognizes the importance of law enforcement reflecting the community it serves. To that end, he has worked to actively recruit, retain and promote a diverse and talented workforce, including promoting the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s first female chief deputy and first Filipino captain and supporting Virginia’s veterans by becoming Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certified. Received the Meyera E. Oberndorf Human Rights Award “for outstanding service in creating a more inclusive community” from the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission on April 29, 2015.