April Staton knew at an early age that she wanted to work in a field that made a difference in the community. Born and raised in Lexington, Virginia, Staton attended Rockbridge County High School, graduating in 1998. As a teenager, she was active in many sports, mainly softball and basketball. Those experiences taught her just how critical teamwork is in all facets of life.
Staton moved to Salem when she was 20 and has called the city home ever since.
Law enforcement was a career that she never expected. When she applied for a deputy sheriff position 18 years ago, she initially thought she wasn’t going to get it.
“Sheriff Roger Surber believed in me and maybe hired me only because I played softball and he was such a huge sports fan, but his faith in me got me started,” she said. “I attribute my love of leadership to Sheriff Ric Atkins and his constant push for me to go farther and be better. It takes a village as they say, and I have certainly benefited from many around me who helped me get to this point in my career.”
After joining the Sheriff’s Office in 2003, it took Staton, a registered independent, 14 years until she was elected as the fourth Sheriff in Salem history.
Today, as the executive administrator, Staton is responsible for the planning, researching, organization, directing and evaluation of all Sheriff’s Office operations. This includes court security, civil process, transportation of inmates and mental health patients, preparation and management of the budget and development and management of policy and procedures.
The biggest challenge facing Salem today, noted Salem’s first female Sheriff, is the coronavirus pandemic.
“The ever-changing COVID-19 virus has affected us all personally and professionally. The city has done its best to minimize the damaging effects on our businesses and citizens,” she added. “While we may not be near the end just yet, we are closer to coming out on the other side and will be much stronger because of these challenges.”
Staton currently oversees ten sworn deputies and an administrative assistant. Local leaders have praised Staton for her community involvement and ability to build positive relationships.
As Sheriff, Staton has set high expectations for her people and holds all of them accountable. They have thrived in this environment, she said, because we ensure they have the mentoring and coaching necessary to be successful in meeting their personal goals and those of the office.
She added, “They strive to be the best and without their success, I accomplish nothing. I am most proud of my staff.”
On January 4, Staton announced her intentions to seek a second office term in November.
“My first term as Sheriff has been the most rewarding part of my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the most professional, kind and compassionate team of deputies that this office has ever seen,” Staton said. “I am running for re-election because I love my job and hope to continue serving Salem for many years to come.”