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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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The new sheriff has competition, already

A month into his term as sheriff of King George County, Steve Dempsey is facing some competition. Former deputy Fred Hottle, who served as a game warden in the area before he joined the King George force, says he’s planning to run for sheriff.

Hottle told me that Dempsey called him into his office and asked if he was running against him. When Hottle said yes, Dempsey told him to resign or he’d fire him, according to Hottle.

Dempsey wouldn’t say if he threatened to can Hottle. “I’d rather not discuss it,” he said this morning. He did acknowledge he asked Hottle to do the “gentlemanly thing and resign.”

Hottle resigned on Jan. 24. He’s already picked up his pack of information from the registar’s office and plans to gather signatures of those who support his quest to become sheriff.

Dempsey said he’s enjoying his first weeks in office, but wishes the job didn’t include the “political controversy.” He’d like to be able to concentrate on his role as sheriff.

Read more about the sheriff’s race in an upcoming story in The Free Lance-Star.


  • Lynda

    WOW! Sounds like we may have the wrong “gentleman” in there. Let’s see what you’ve got Hottle! Hopefully its a better reputation than the Dempsey family.

  • jennifer

    what a jerk i agree with Lynda

  • Doc

    Kinda rings of the TC Waddy, Ron Knight campaign clash

  • Sandy

    Glad to hear the new sheriff has some competition!
    What a wuss to fire his competition! Someone needs to do some serious digging on this guy and his family and give him a real taste of what “political controversary” is all about:) Win or lose the election, he now retires at a sheriff’s rate. Dobson helped him out there.

  • Leah

    It sounds like Dempsey is creating such “political controversy.” Telling someone they must resign or be fired simply because they are competition, and aspire to be Sheriff is nothing but unprofessional.

  • cv

    It is common practice in all Virginia counties for a deputy who is going to run against the sheriff to resign from the office first. It would be difficult to campaign against your boss and work for him too. Sheriff Dempsey had every right to ask for Hottle’s resignation -

  • Barney Fife

    Can you read? Does it not say that Hottle is claiming he was told he would be FIRED if he didn’t resign? What kind of common practice is that?

  • nomoose

    I can believe he did that! He is SCARED!, Yes, King George you need to look who you want to be your Sheriff! It is your vote do the right thing and protect your community dont destroy it.

  • outofkg

    Im NOT surprised!!! I wish the Dempsey the best of luck… They will need it. As my momma use to say what you do reflects on all of us. So the bad name comes not just from him but from his whole family.

  • mike honcho

    Sheriff Moose Dobson turned the sheriffs office over to Steve Dempsey who has the respect of all the men and women who work for him. It is common practice to do this, how would you feel if the employees that worked for you couldnt be trusted. If you have never worked for a sheriffs office or placed your life in the hands of another fellow officer then i dont feel it is right for you to comment on things you will never understand.

  • Jacksbud

    Check out Hottle’s Alaska hunting trip!!!!!

  • 10-41 10-8

    Sheriff Dobson! What have you done!? We go from a Moose to a Midget? Hurry up November! Whether it’s Hottle or someone else who steps up, we need someone to defeat Dempsey! To the citizens of KG…….Please do your homework and ask many, many questions before casting your vote in November! Go Hottle!

  • MCDonald

    The men and women who work for KGSO have no respect for Dempsey. They have been in fear of him, as it has been known for years that Moose would give him the reigns. So no one wants to rock the boat or be made an example out of. A successful and good leader should stay out of their employees personal lives…someone needs to why so many many deputies with live-in boyfriend/girlfriends are now engaged to be married…since Dempsey looks down on those ‘living in sin.” KG Citizens need to do their homework this time, the days of checking the only block listed on the Sheriff’s ballot are long over! At least Dempsey is sure that the local paper “The Journal” and Mrs. Herrink are in the tank for him, just read the article there and see for yourself.

  • outofkg

    Why would he past judgement when his own daughter did the same thing…? I would not want to work for him, then he is a hipocrite! MMM King George… better beware of a man who tells his employees how to live there personal lives. Because your personal lives are in his hands….

  • DAK

    This smells and reflects poorly on KG. Why should Dempsey be able to retire at the sheriff’s rate now? Is he already the sheriff and not just ‘acting” or on an”interim” basis until the election? Hope Dempsey goes down in November.

  • hunter

    Maybe you all should be looking into to Mr. Hottle’s drinking problem. He was a dirty Game Warden and still a dirty hunter. He ran for Sheriff for in his own hometown and lost, really bad. Grew up with the family, Mr. Dempsey and his father are too most upstounding, honest men I know.

  • Leah

    Well Hunter, you should probably know just what you’re talking about before making such accusations. I know Hottle very well, and he is one of the best men I know. Perhaps, YOU should look into his “drinking problem” and what really has happened in the other two situations. Because until you know the facts or truth you are in no situation to say such things.

  • http://msn RON KNIGHT

    Well then, why won’t some one tell us the truth?

  • James Weedon

    We need a Sheriff that serves the people of King George and does not have the sarcastic attitude that the Deputies now have to the public. Sheriff Dobson should have served his term as he was elected by the people to do and let the people vote in a new Sheriff. It is time for a change now as it was when Mr Dobson beat Sheriff Powell some 30 years ago. Fred Hottle has the traing and experience to make our Sheriff’s Dept one of the best.

  • Julster

    I believe that Sheriff Dempsey is a wonderful leader and has King George County’s best interest at heart. The community should support him as the current Sheriff and if elected in November should continue to give him support. As for the personal attacks against his family, isn’t that a little petty? Should’nt the citizens of King George County be focused on who is most qualified for the job and what each candidate brings to the table, not the actions of the candidate’s family? Remember, no one is perfect and no family is perfect! Also, most instititions frown upon an employee running against his or her boss. So let’s stop the name calling/personal attacks and focus on the democratic process. November will tell us who our new Sherrif will be and remember whoever wins, the citizens of King George County need to support him or her, not sabotage him or her .

  • KGtaxpayer

    I have known Steve Dempsey for quite somtime and will tell you that he is honest, fair and highly trained in law enforcment. I believe he will continue doing a good job as Sheriff. The fact is that being the Chief Deputy for the Sheriff, lets face it, he has probably been running the office 75% of the time anyway (no offense Moose). The Sheriff’s Office will continue to excell under Sheriff Dempsey’s control.

  • Robert Farmer

    I have known Steve for over ten years. He is a man of honor, integrity, and courge. He has been doing the job for many years and doing it quite well. To even suggest turning it over to a game warden suggests questionable judgment. To say slandrous things about him in a blog represents cowardice and stupidity. Those that do such things need to remember that even while you are slandering him, he stands ready to risk his life to serve and to protect you.

  • outofkg

    Ok so lets just say this we all have known Mr. Dempsey for a very long time…Lets not make personal attacks, But If it is true? And he has asked his employees basically to marry their significant others because he does not believe in this. Well why wouldnt he look at his own family. An ask the same of them? Secondly, I know he is a good Christian man, but that doesnt mean he is good for our community!!! Questions need to be asked, and things need to be answered!!!! I would vote for anyone other then a HYPOCRITE!!!

  • sportster

    I wonder if “outofkg” is an internal person??????????????

  • outofkg

    Actually No I am not internal I dont work for the county… i am at stay at home mom… All ya had to do it ask?

  • just look

    reply Mr Farmer your comment about turning it over to a game warden suggest questionable judgement You should check an see that two sheriffs was elected in the the last few years that was game wardens .

  • just look

    I think Ron Nnight would be thinking about his on election instead of King George.

  • longtimeresident

    I have known Steve for probably 40+ years, and I would vote for you any time. You are an honorable man and would be great for KG. Mr. Hottle you would not. Your drinking problem sounds like it would get in the way. What in the world posessed you, Mr. Hottle to run for office?…I think your character speaks for itself..

  • cheap shot

    If all that Mr. Dempsey supporters have to do is throw out cheap accusations then they must be very doubtful of their candidate?

  • KGChick

    Steve Dempsey is a wonderful leader, and a good Christian man. He has King George County’s best interest at heart. He has paid his dues and has done right by King George County. He totally deserves to be the Sheriff. The ones that have the issues with Sheriff Dempsey must have been slapped on the hand by him and that is shame on you.

  • James Weedon

    If Mr Hottle has such a drinking problem I am sure Mr. Dobson or Mr. Dempsey would have had to deal with it when he was a Deputy but he was not threatened to be fired for a drinking problem but because he was running for sheriff. As far as a game warden for Sheriff I believe a Game Warden is more qualified than a Electrician. Mr Dobson was a Electrician when he first ran for Sheriff!!!

  • Mark Dempsey

    Steve Dempsey is my uncle, and I am offended that such ignorant and false accusations are being shared on this blog about him and our family. Shame on you !!. Its always evident who the cowards are on the internet, their the ones who shoot their mouth off about things they are clueless about and don’t have the courage to reveal their real name. Keep insulting my uncle, keep insulting my family, keep spewing hateful things that have no truth…and remember, every day my uncle will put on his uniform, go to work, do his job and be a good leader and sheriff in spite of all the hateful things that are being said about him Sheriff Steve Dempsey is someone that KG can be proud of .

  • Patricia Foust

    Steve Dempsey is an outstanding man with integrity, leadership, concern for his fellow citizen, and honest as the day is long. The citizens of King George are truly blessed to have a person of his caliber lead King George County as their sheriff.

  • newsflash

    Mr. Hottle has the best intrest of King George at heart an will be a great Sheriff for King George Co, we need a change in the county.

  • Todd

    You know people who wana sling mud and talk about hunt,s in AK and drinking problemsOk whatever but Mr Hottle has plenty to sling also.Your past and present Sherrif are no angles by any means.If we wana sling mud then lets talk about how certain sherrif members Excluding Hottle had a nice litte Illegal Turkey hut and shot everyone in Caledon state park or we can talk about how a deputy has wrecked 3 patroll car at his fault and is still employed .So for all you out there who wana sling Mud at Fred.THERE IS PLENTY TOO SLING BACK!!!!!!

  • Todd

    jacksbud were you on this trip NO so you have no clue what your talking about!Hunter: The only dirty hunter must be you cause you sound very angry must have got some tickets HU!!CV in these times you really think quiting is the right thing YOU must be UNEMPLOYED cause thats the stupidest thing Ive every heard.So for all you out there looking for change its comming.Dempsey made a super bad move and he will suffer from it for the rest of hislife IT WILLL FOLLOW HIM FOREVER!!!!

  • Todd