Longtime Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur retired last year, creating an opening for the first time in a job overseeing the county jail and a staff of 160 sworn deputies. During Arthur’s tenure, seven men died in prison over a period of seven years.
That record has been broken repeatedly as her successor and acting sheriff faces two other candidates in the Democratic primary. There are so far no other candidates for the general election.
James Herring is a corporal with the Arlington Police Department who has emphasized his street law enforcement experience as a police officer in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood and his outsider perspective, saying he is the only candidate who did not build his career in a system that has need to change.
He highlighted the recent deaths at the Arlington jail and said the sheriff’s office has suffered from a lack of discipline. He also claims that the acting sheriff was effectively “handed the job” due to the timing of Arthur’s retirement.
Herring has lived in Arlington since he was a child, attended local public schools and lives in South Arlington with his wife.
Jose Quiroz, who took over as the county’s acting sheriff in January, is seeking full time. He has emphasized his relationship with other county leaders, his staff and local nonprofits that partner with the jail, saying he wants to increase the office’s diversity and bring “community-based solutions” to improving security at the facility.
He highlighted his work helping inmates struggling with substance abuse withdrawal, creating a new public information officer role, implementing de-escalation and implicit bias training, and implementing drug screening for individuals committed to the prison. He also said all personal mail for inmates now go through a third party to block contraband.
Quiroz grew up in Arlington, attended local schools and lives in the county with his wife and two children.
Wanda Younger, the former director of the trial in the Arlington sheriff’s office, has highlighted her three decades of work there, including time as a deputy sheriff and head of the training section. She says she would bring a track record of community involvement, compassion for inmates and a passion for staff development, noting that the Arlington prison has experienced recent drug-trafficking incidents.
Younger has lived in Arlington for three decades and lives in the Douglas Park neighborhood with her husband.