Former Fairfax County sheriff Carl R. Peed took over the troubled state Department of Juvenile Justice yesterday and promised to review the policy that taught corrections officers to use specialized kicks and strikes to defend themselves.
Peed, appointed to the job by Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R), succeeds Gerald O. Glenn, who resigned in November after months of battling over such policy issues with the Board of Juvenile Justice, a citizens oversight group.
Although the department said defensive strikes and kicks were never used on any of its more than 1,300 charges, the policy became an emotional flash point with the board, as did the deteriorating conditions at Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center in suburban Richmond. A week before Glenn announced his resignation, the board voted to strip Beaumont of its state certification because of chronic overpopulation and reports of sexual misconduct and physical abuse.
Peed, 53, a Republican loyal to Gilmore, lost the sheriff's job he had held for a decade to Democrat Stanley G. Barry in November. Peed pledged a fast start to his new job, including a meeting with the board today and a retreat to be scheduled soon.
"We're going to review all policies and procedures," Peed said, indicating the review would include the training of officers in defensive kicks and strikes. Glenn, who contended they were needed to protect officers assaulted by youths, refused to halt the policy even after the board voted to end it in October.
"We're going to try to get Beaumont certified real quick," Peed said. "My goal is to build a teamwork approach with the board and with the staff."
Peed's top deputy will be David Marsden, who retired in July after 17 years as superintendent of the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center, which is run by the county. Since then, Marsden has served as campaign manager for Del. James H. Dillard II (R-Fairfax), who praised the new leadership at the Juvenile Justice Department.
"I think it will be excellent," Dillard said. "This is going to be a good team."
Peed, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, also attended the FBI Academy in Quantico and was chosen Correctional Administrator of the Year by the American Jail Association. Peed spent 10 years as the chief deputy in the Fairfax County sheriff's department before he was elected to the department's top post in 1990. He was reelected to the position twice.
During Peed's failed campaign for reelection last November, Barry attacked him over what he said was low morale among the members of the sheriff's department, citing a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court by three African American deputies. Peed had fired two of the deputies for disobeying him, but the county's Civil Service Commission ordered Peed to reinstate them. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 18.
In May, two convicted felons broke out of the Fairfax County jail, the first escapes during Peed's tenure. Peed said deputies assigned to the jail did not lack the necessary training. Both escapees were captured.
State and local officials lauded Peed's dedication to juvenile justice. James Dedes, director of probation services for the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, said Peed consistently worked to support juvenile programs.
"He's always professional, above-board, and he's been very cooperative in helping us," Dedes said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's a great guy to have."
In announcing the appointment yesterday, Gilmore praised Peed's experience: "I wanted a proven commodity as I went to work on this very difficult issue of juvenile justice," he said.
Board member John A. Wasowicz, a Fairfax lawyer, called Peed a "no-nonsense" professional. "Carl's philosophy is not only strong law enforcement, but he also finds outreach programs to stop crime in the juvenile community before it starts. . . . I am really excited."
The Department of Juvenile Justice has a staff of more than 2,000 and a budget of more than $180 million. Peed will earn $98,517 annually for supervising the department, which runs eight facilities for troubled youths.
Priscilla R. Budeiri, of the Virginia Poverty Law Center, a persistent critic of the department, said she was optimistic about the appointment of Peed and Marsden.
"We hope that they will translate their commitments to Virginia's children into policies ensuring that delinquent children are confined in a humane fashion, are successfully rehabilitated and are expeditiously reintegrated into their communities," Budeiri said.
CAPTION: Carl R. Peed said he wants to build teamwork with the juvenile justice board and with the staff.