Meet the Sheriff-The Honorable Vanessa Reese Crawford

On December 15, 2005, The Honorable Vanessa Reese Crawford was sworn in as the first female Sheriff for the City of Petersburg. Sheriff Crawford was born and raised in the city of Petersburg. She attended the Petersburg Public Schools and Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her BS degree.

She was re-elected on November 3, 2009 and started her 2nd term as Sheriff, January 1, 2010. She ran unopposed for the office of Sheriff in 2013 and began her 3rd term January, 2014. On January 1, 2018, Sheriff Crawford began her 4th term as Sheriff in the city of Petersburg.

Sheriff Crawford is married to Leon, a retired military officer and they have 5 children, Latricia, Roderick, Cornell, II, Leon and Courtney and 14 Grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Her mother is retired educator Esther T. Reese (deceased in 2000). She believes the scripture “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.


Sheriff Crawford's Credentials include but are not limited to:

  • First Female to run all male facility in the Virginia Department of Corrections, Retired with over 28 years of service. — From 2014 until 2017, only African American Female Sheriff in the United States.
    — Only Sheriff in the Commonwealth of Virginia to attain the certification by the Department of Justice as a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) Auditor
  • Trustee at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg, Va.
  • Liaison for Security Ministry at Good Shepherd Baptist Church, Petersburg, Va.
  • President of the Petersburg High School Boosters Club
  • Past President of the Petersburg Kiwanis Luncheon Club
  • Unanimously elected by all Sheriffs in Virginia as President (2017-2018) and is the currently the Immediate Past President of the Virginia Sheriff’s Association
  • Elected as President of the Virginia Correctional Association-2016-2018; Currently, immediate Past President

  • Formerly a Member and Vice Chair of the Petersburg School Board-2001-2005 (Resigned because elected Sheriff in 2005)

  • Formerly unanimously elected as President of the Virginia Sheriff’s Institute

  • Honored in the General Assembly-House of Delegates in 2018 with Joint resolution, HJ 274, in her honor and for her service.

  • Vice-Chair of the Petersburg Task Force on Domestic Violence- 2017-present

  • Selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Virginia Correctional Association-2016

  • Served 4 terms as President of the Petersburg-Dinwiddie Crime Solvers Board

  • Named “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” by YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety) 2013

  • Selected as Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen Law Firm Hometown Hero

  • Elected to serve on the Board of FeedMore, Richmond, Va. 2013-2018

  • Received Medal of Merit for the National Sheriff’s Association "Sheriff of the Year" Award-2014, 2015, 2017

  • Appointed by the Governor of Virginia, The Honorable Terry McAuliffe, to serve on the Criminal Justice Services Board- July, 2014; Reappointed in July, 2017

  • Recognized by Petersburg Citizens as one of Petersburg “Superstars” August, 2017

  • Organizing Petersburg Task Force on Domestic Violence Training Institute-October, 2016, 2017, 2018

  • Organized the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Event. A Men’s March Against Domestic Violence.,April 2017 April, 2018

  • Organized first Autism Walk in the City of Petersburg, June, 2018

  • Formerly honored with 2 resolutions in her honor for her dedication and community service from the House of
    Delegates, HJ 332 and by the Senate, Senate Joint Bill 182.

  • Featured in “O” Oprah Magazine as one of “12 Most Politically Unusual” in this country in 2012

  • Awarded the Sojourner Truth Award from the Petersburg Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., May, 2018

  • Appointed to Governor of Virginia’s, Ralph Northam’s Transition Team, 2018

  • Achieved certification through the VSI Certification Program thus VSI Certified (VSIC). March, 2018

  • Profiled by FOX TV, WRLH, in honor of Black Women’s History Month-April 2018

  • Awarded the MAGNUS Leadership Award from the National Command & Staff College and the Criminal Justice Commission for Credible Leadership Development June, 2017

  • Certified auditor for the American Correctional Association

  • Received the Social Justice Transformer Award from the Community Transformers Foundation, November, 2019