- Last Updated on Saturday, 29 January 2011 17:54
- Published on Saturday, 29 January 2011 17:54
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King George Sheriff Steve Dempsey had hardly been sworn in, gotten the new stripes sown on his uniform and comfortable in “Moose” Dobson’s chair when he found he is going to have a challenger for his seat in the November elections.
Long-time law enforcement officer Freddie Hottle, recently a part-time deputy in the King George Sheriff’s office, announced today he is going to challenge Dempsey for the coveted seat of Sheriff of King George County. “I’m running,” he said.
He gave the news to Dempsey last Friday, just three weeks after Dempsey took his new position.
Hottle said Dempsey brought him into his office, asked him if he intended to run and “I told him yes,” said Hottle. “Dempsey told me that was a ‘slap in his face’ and that if I intended to run, he would fire me. I asked him to put that in writing, but he wouldn’t.”
Dempsey told The Journal that he did not fire Hottle but accepted his resignation on Monday, Jan. 24.
As of last Friday, Hottle joined the ranks of the unemployed and plans to spend his time on a door to door campaign for the Sheriff’s seat.
Sheriff “Moose” Dobson, who held the seat for many years, had just taken retirement which gave Dempsey time to get settled in to the job before he had to make the run for office. Dobson said Saturday that he had seen petitions on business counters for people to sign for Hottle to run and heard that he had been soliciting support from people in the community. Dobson said that Hottle had not spoken to him about his candidacy. When asked his opinion, Dobson said, “It is his constitutional right to run. I have no quarrel with that, but there is a right way to do something and a wrong way. He should have gone to Dempsey and told him he didn’t agree with the way the department is being run and that he was going to challenge him, but he did not do that.”
Dobson is an old friend of Hottle’s and the two of them were even together chopping wood when Dobson’s hand was cut off several years ago.
As for Dempsey’s firing Hottle, Dobson said, “When you are running a department and someone doesn’t like what you are doing, that is not good. Everyone has to pull together to make it work. You can’t have someone working against you like that.”
Hottle began his law enforcement career in Shenandoah County, then became a Sheriff’s Deputy in Shenandoah before he took a position in King George as game warden in 1979 which he held for 23 years.
He has been with the King George Sheriff’s office for the past eight years where he has been working part-time for the courts. He was certified as a deputy, handled court work and civil process. He also had served on the Tri-County drug, gang and terrorism task force which served King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania and the City of Fredericksburg.
He ran for Sheriff in Shenandoah in 1999 so his yearning to be Sheriff is not something new to him.
And to the credit of Sheriff Dempsey, it is not something new that an old-time Sheriff like Dobson will relinquish his job early to give his successor a chance to get entrenched before he has to run for office or to fire a contender who intends to challenge him for his position.
On Saturday afternoon Dempsey was out getting signatures on petitions so he could run for the job he feels he is qualified to do.
- Ruth Herrink