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The Roanoke City Police Association gave the candidate its endorsement for sheriff.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
A group of Roanoke police officers has endorsed one of its own in the city sheriff’s race.
The Roanoke City Police Association, which counts about 220 sworn Roanoke officers among its members, unanimously voted to endorse independent Travis Akins in his bid to oust Republican incumbent Octavia Johnson.
“He’s a great guy, he’s great in the community, he’s very active, he’s always smiling and he’s extremely friendly,” said Andrew Ashby, president of the association. “With his experience, given that he’s worked for different departments … he’s very knowledgeable.”
Akins cites 19 years of varying law enforcement experience, including as a deputy at the Roanoke County-Salem Jail, where he was a training officer and member of the department’s tactical response team. He’s currently a Roanoke police officer who works as a crime prevention specialist.
“It’s outstanding,” Akins said of the police association’s nod. “I really appreciate their support.”
Akins was previously endorsed by the Virginia Crime Prevention Association. The nonprofit, based in Richmond, has never before endorsed a candidate for the Roanoke sheriff position.
Tim Allen, the Democratic challenger in the race, was endorsed in late September by the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter. With more than 300 members, that group includes many Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office employees in its rolls.
Allen worked in the city sheriff’s office for 21 years, where he served as lieutenant before resigning to take a captain’s position at the Western Virginia Regional Jail in 2008. In 2010 he was promoted there to major, before resigning this spring to run for office.
Johnson, who is seeking her third term in office, is the first woman and first minority to be elected sheriff in Roanoke.
She has been endorsed by several local politicians, including U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, and state Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Bedford County.
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