By Linda Cicoira
Capt. W. Todd Wessells, of the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), announced Wednesday he will run for sheriff as an Independent candidate in the November general election.
“I have more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement” with ACSO, Wessells said in a prepared statement. Sheriff Todd Godwin has held the post since 2011 and plans to retire when his term ends in December.
Wessells, a native of Accomack, has worked his way up the ranks. He graduated from Arcadia High School in 1988 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. While in the service, “I gave 110 percent becoming the best Marine and leader I could be,” Wessells said.
He earned “the Navy Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Certificate of Commendation, Meritorious Mast for being Marine of the Quarter in September 1990, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Certificate of Appreciation.”
Wessells “also participated in Operation Desert Storm – Saudi Arabia.” He was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1993.
Wessells returned home to work in ACSO’s Corrections Division. A year later, he was assigned to Patrol, where he took a “proactive approach.” In 1998, he was promoted to investigator. He was assigned to the Eastern Shore Drug Task Force while continuing to do general investigations. Wessells was promoted to Patrol Ser-geant in 2000. “I was responsible for the day to day operations of the Uniform Pa-trol Division, SWAT team, and K-9 units.”
Eight years later, he became Lieutenant of Patrol and Operations. In 2011, Wessells was promoted to captain. “I am responsible for supervising the day-to-day activities of Corrections, Investigations, Patrol, K-9, Animal Control, Eastern Shore Animal Control Facility, Civil Process, Court Services, School Resource Deputies, Communications, and DARE.”
Wessells received basic training at Hampton Roads Regional Academy of Criminal Justice. He also took courses for entry-level jailor, courthouse and courtroom security, state Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) general and firearms instructor, Smith & Wesson Sigma Armorers, Smith & Wesson Pistol Armorers, Domestic Drug Interdiction, and DCJS Basic Drug Investigation.
Wessells took additional course through the FBI National Academy, Virginia State Police First-Line Supervisors School, Blackwater Training Center High Risk Warrant/Hostage Rescue Tactics, Blackwater Training Center Bushmaster Carbine Instructor, FBI Department of Justice Law Enforcement Officers Killed/Assaulted, Virginia Institute of Government Setting Priorities & Time Management, taser electronic device training, Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist & Instructor, DCJS Visual Tracking, Revive Law Enforcement Officer Training, and in domestic terrorism. He also attended seminars for DEA Advanced Drug Investigator and Maryland State Police Criminal Patrol.
For 20 years, Wessells served with several youth organizations holding titles from coach to president. They include Central Accomack Little League, Chincoteague Youth Football League, Nandua Soccer Club, Beach FC Soccer, and Nandua High School Booster Club. He is a member of Central Lodge 300 A.F. & A.M.
Wessells lives in the Painter area with his wife, Shannon Wessells, owner of Shore Administrative Services LLC. They have two sons, Dustin Wessells, a third-year medical student at UVA, and Trevor Wessells, an officer of the Virginia Marine Resource Commission.
“I have served my country and community my entire adult life,” Wessells said. “I respectfully request your support to continue that service as your sheriff.”
By Linda Cicoira