Herndon officer to run for sheriff

Mark Butler, a Herndon Police Department officer and private business owner, recently became the third person to declare candidacy for the 2019 Warren County Sheriff’s race. 

Correction: A previous version of this article should have stated that Butler is an active member of the Herndon Police Department.

Mark Butler, a Herndon Police Department officer and business owner, recently became the third person to declare candidacy for the 2019 Warren County Sheriff’s race.

Butler, 48, joined the Army after high school, serving six years active duty and two years inactive. He then moved to Front Royal to start a family and became employed by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office in 1999. His work there included investigations, civil enforcement, transportation, patrol and court security. He also joined a special unit that identified terrorist cells and organizations.

About six years later, he began working for the Herndon Police Department and his duties spanned various areas including drugs and gangs. He was also tasked with starting a Special Problems Unit that focused on illegal immigration.

Butler said over the phone that he became a U.S. Customs undercover agent investigating human trafficking, resulting in international cases that led him to Thailand. While investigating one of the largest human smuggling cases in the country, he said he was also a defensive football coach at Warren County High School.

With so many duties and associated time constraints, Butler said he eventually became “burnt out” of the overseas human trafficking investigations. But he “was not finished” with human trafficking and founded 3D Professional Training and Consulting, a business that travels the country lecturing on the issue.

If elected, Butler said he would be a proponent of “true community policing” by “getting to be one” with the community and residents.

“That way, you get the intel you need to combat the criminal element,” he said.

He noted that opioids and heroin are destroying the area, adding that the latter is not growing in the Shenandoah Valley. He said the only way to solve the issue is locating smugglers rather than local dealers. While investigating human trafficking, Butler said he suggested tracking the “snake’s head” rather than its tail and that he would apply this theory to quelling the drug epidemic.

He said that he would not allow politics to intertwine with his sheriff’s duties and he would simply enforce the laws. He said he would be a candidate “for the people…all of the people” and not driven by personal or political forces.

Butler added that he is proud of his career up to this point and “it would truly be an honor to be sheriff of Warren County,” noting that citizens would receive “110 percent” of his effort.