Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia - Sheriff's Exhibit
Preserving the Sheriff Department History: In the fall of 2016, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office (SO) contacted the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia (CHSV) to inquire if they would assist them in creating a History Museum Exhibit at the main Courthouse. During the Spring of 2017, several local business leaders came forward and donated funds for the SO History Project and the Sheriff's Office began collecting items (e.g. display cases, artifacts and replica artifacts). The first five display cases were ordered in the Fall of 2017 and CHSV Board of Directors took a tour of this small exhibit on July 19, 2018. By 2019, four (4) new cabinets were purchased and over 100 more items (artifacts and/or replica artifacts) were added to the collection. CHSV’s fundraising account for the Sheriff's Office History Project officially ended on August 8, 2019. However, it was not until October 2019 that all nine (9) display cases were completed - complete with items on display with information placards.
The exhibit is avaliable for Public View. Please Note: Entering the Chesterfield County Courthouse requires strict security procedures. Follow the established guidelines posted at the main entrance. The Sheriff’s Office may verbally screen all individuals entering the courthouse for COVID-19 illness symptoms. A good measure of a visit to the County Courthouse is to leave everything but car keys, your wallet or purse and a pen and tablet if you plan to do research. It makes a good day for our dedicated and friendly deputies.
About the Exhibit....
The Sherriff's Exhibit at Chestefield Courthouse at the corner of Courthouse and Ironbridge Roaads is an active court. There are security procedures best to be followed when entering the courthouse. You will be met by a team of Chesterfield's finest deputies who will assist you upon entering the facility. The exhibit is located on the ground floor. It is the work of the Sheriff's Department guided by the research and display of many sheriff's department artifacts and the history since Chesterfield County was formed in 1749. Our thanks for the research and completion of the exhibit goes to Captain Russell Lescault (Retired Chesterfield Police Captain). He had a vision and saw it through its completion. It is an amazing exhibit about all of the sheriff's and deputies from 1749 to the present. You are encourage to visit the exhibit when you are in the Chesterfield County courthouse. the exhibit is free.
Chesterfield County Sheriff's Monument
After roughly five years of planning and approximately $36,000 fundraised, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office opened a memorial in honor of its officers killed in the line of duty on Friday. Over the 272 years that the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office has been operating, it has lost three officers in the line of duty. Those men are Sheriff Benjamin Branch killed in 1786, Deputy Archer T. Belcher killed in 1912 and Chief Deputy Gilliam H. Cogbill in 1969. Historian Russell Lescault said he searched through court records, county inquest records, old board meeting minutes, family interviews and national archives to learn about these officers and their deaths. Russ Lescault even worked with descendants of the fallen officers to gather artifacts, such as their badges and a family portrait. He said that he was approached by Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard in 2014, shortly after Lescault himself had retired from the police department.
“Sheriff Karl Leonard wanted to look at line-of-duty deaths that may have been forgotten or overlooked.” “Law enforcement at the best of times is dangerous, and the sheriff’s office has been around for some of the country’s worst times in its many years of service.” The memorial, first unveiled on Friday, displays the men’s names along with a large star-shaped badge on top. It’s made of granite and weighs roughly 1.5 tons. It is placed outside of the Historic 1917 Courthouse Building on Iron Bridge Road, within view of the Chesterfield County Police Memorial. (Posted Updated: Olivia Jaquith)