John W. Cassell of Ridgeway, a longtime law enforcement officer, has announced his candidacy for sheriff of Henry County.

In a statement, he said he has the dedication, leadership skills, and ability
“to lead the Henry County Sheriff’s Office to a higher level of professionalism and integrity to face the challenges and issues that victimize our community on a daily basis.”

He says he will work hard to make schools safer and combat drugs by utilizing proven aggressive problem-focused strategies while providing a strong community-based commitment. He says he will lead his office by example in a respectful and professional manner based on a strong community-oriented and proactive strategic foundation.

After graduating from Bassett High School in 1986, Cassell entered the Army and served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. During his service, he graduated from the U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Training Course with honors.

Upon receiving an honorable discharge, Cassell left the Army to pursue his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. After receiving an associate degree in administration of justice from Patrick Henry Community College in 1994, Cassell worked at the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office, taking on additional responsibility, and was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2000 and 2001.

He then worked 15-plus years with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, rising through the ranks there, too. In 2014 he was named the office’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2014.

He earned two master’s degrees: one in adult education from Averett University and one in emergency management/homeland security from Arizona State University. While at ASU, he traveled to Jerusalem for a two-week study program focusing on international terrorism.

Upon his retirement from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. he worked as a designated defensive marksman (sniper) on an emergency response detail on a U.S. State Department contract in Afghanistan. He completed his U.S. State Department obligations in November 2018 and since has been employed as a police sergeant with the Carilion Police Department in Roanoke.

He and his wife of more than 20 years have three children.

— Paul Collins

Martinsville Bulletin (4-23-19)