Robb: We Must Protect Jail from Terrorists

Sheriff Ed Robb is concerned about the jail. Not about people breaking out but, rather, about terrorists attacking the jail. He’s issued a report recommending that security fence be built around the…er…security fence and, around that, build camouflaged cement walls, put barbed wire on the roof of the building, have a video monitoring system for the jail to see what’s going on outside of the facility, and build large pillars at the entrance to prevent cars from driving into the building. None of this is to ensure that people don’t break out — it’s all to keep those nefarious terrorists from leveling an attack on the jail. The proposal is reminiscent of the Albemarle County office building’s installation of boulders for the same purpose, only a whole lot more expensive — at least $60,000, presumably a lot more.

Some may recall Ed Robb’s last brush with the media. In March of 2003, his deputy, Stephen Shiflett, claimed to have been shot at by a mysterious black man, which Robb immediately declared to be a “hate crime.” Shifflett turned out to have made up the whole story, which prompted his resignation. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos refused to file charges against him. It emerged that Shiflett had attacked and arrested a couple who had reported an unlocked convenience store when Shiflett was a Louisa deputy in 2000, with a federal judge consequently awarding half a million dollars to the couple for having their constitutional rights violated. Robb refused to admit any problem with his having hired this guy, pointing out that Shiflett was very punctional, and concluding that that he’s “ready to put this behind us.” Reed Williams wrote a damning profile in the Progress, speculating that Robb could lose reelection in November of ’03 as a result of it all. But Robb had two challengers who split the vote, and he won with 49% of the vote.

Liesel Nowak has the story about Robb’s proposal. Remember: if we don’t build a new fence around the jail fence and a new fence around that, then the terrorists have already won.

4 Responses to “Robb: We Must Protect Jail from Terrorists”


  • “Camouflaged cement walls”? What, like the location of the county jail is going to be some kind of a state secret?

    This would be funny if it were isolated. But this kind of ‘thinking’ has become mainstream conservatism. Tinfoil-hat paranoia about terrorists attacking laughably minor targets, leading to outrageous spending on absurd security measures and usually some kind of compromises on individual freedom. Fortunately in this case freedom is pretty much a non-issue what with it already being a jail and all.

    It’s actually the opposite of traditional conservatism when you stop to think about it.

    I guarantee you that if this becomes a big issue, the Republican response to the critics will be that we hate America and are helping the terrorists by questioning the budget.

  • cville_libertarian

    Our very own Bernie Kerrick…

    This is so in keeping with the horseback-ride-to-Richmond schtick he used to do before Emily Couric handed him his hat.

    He’s a flake of the paramilitary mucho-macho law-enforcement variety, but he’s our flake…whatever that’s worth.

    The WoT, like the WoD, in the “homeland” context, is just a pretext for a lot of giveaways to LE…from the so-called “Patriot Act” on down to the pork being handed out for stupid things like camoflaged walls…all of which has absolutely nothing to do with making us more secure.

  • I just can’t stop laughing about this camouflaged wall business. Couldn’t we pick it out as the four-story tall green-and-gray-mottled tower next to 250? I’d think that’d really stand out.

    I happened to meet an employee of the state’s Office of Commonwealth Preparedness yesterday. I told her about Robb’s proposal, and, fighting to keep a straight face, she informed me that, to the best of her knowledge, there have been no directives from the state to secure jails, including camouflaging them so as to disguise their location.

  • “I’m not intelligent enough to be able to predict when or where terrorists attacks are going to occur. I don’t have a crystal ball. I want to make us as prepared as we can be,” said Robb

    So he’s going to start his preparations by making it harder for somebody to break into the jail? Kind of makes me yearn for the days when there was at least an illusion of “adult supervision” in our government.

    The fact that he was unwilling to specify which “viable targets” there are in this area is pretty silly and amusing. Can’t you just envision the band of terrorists coming into town, checking us out to see where the “viable targets” are, then discounting Monticello, UVA, NGIC, Bodo’s, and the pink warehouse and declaring “We must capture the local jail! That’ll teach these infidels a lesson they’ll never forget!”

    Of course, they won’t be able to even find the jail, thanks to the camoflauged jersey walls.

    Doesn’t this sound like a Vonnegut book?

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