Meet Wanda

About Wanda

The arrival of Wanda’s family in Arlington Virginia, goes back to 1969, when her grandfather, a career service man, was transferred to Fort Myer (now Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall). Then, he and her grandmother purchased a home in Douglas Park and moved to there, along with her mother and her aunt. Later, even though her mother lived in Arlington, Wanda was born in Washington, D.C. because Arlington Hospital (VHC Health) did not permit Black women to give birth here. Growing up, Wanda attended Randolph Elementary School and lived with her mother and grandmother throughout her teenage years.

Wanda began working with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office in 1984 and again in 1985 as a summer intern sponsored by the Arlington County Government Summer Program for Youth (SPY) Program. In 1986, Wanda was hired as a secretary and continued working in that position until being accepted into the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy from which she graduated and began her career as a deputy sheriff. Wanda was always committed to excellence and strove to excel in every assignment. When assigned to the warrant process section, Wanda engaged with community members, which resulted in her being able to serve a high percentage of criminal warrants as well as civil processes without incident or conflict. During her assignment to court security, Wanda received numerous accolades from judges for her attentiveness to protection issues.

While assigned to the detention facility, Wanda served in various leadership positions -sergeant, lieutenant (shift commander), and then due to her demonstrated leadership abilities, was temporarily assigned as the acting assistant director of corrections. As a corrections leader, Wanda took the initiative to develop an emergency check list so that staff, regardless of experience level, could quickly address emergency situations – and initiated practice drills to further strengthen staff preparedness.

From 2010 through 2014, Wanda was assigned to lead the Training Office and was responsible for developing a training plan and an annual training budget for all personnel both sworn and civilian. While administering this Office, Wanda identified a need for career development training and on her personal time developed assessment center training seminars so that applicants for promotion to sergeant could better understand the process and how to demonstrate their knowledges, skills, and abilities. Her training received excellent reviews and several of the 55 attendees were subsequently promoted.

Wanda has a passion for staff development and having direct experience of being assigned to various positions, recognizes firsthand the need for succession planning. She intends, as Sheriff, to ensure that both staff development and succession planning are implemented.

During the period 2017 through 2019, Wanda served as Director of Pretrial Services and oversaw staff supervision of work-release for those incarcerated, electronic monitoring, and community service. Included within the scope of this position were developing and managing a budget for Pretrial Services as well as screening perspective employers for work-release of those incarcerated who would ultimately return to the community.

Her platform stands for the proposition that she is addressing three pillars: improving the lives of the community, improving the lives of Sheriff’s Office staff, and improving the lives of those incarcerated.

Wanda’s view of the role of the Sheriff is not just to perform specific duties but to lead as the elected public safety head of Arlington, to hear what the citizens of Arlington need, and then to use her experience in forming budgets to appropriate the resources to meet the needs of the community, staff, and detainees.

Wanda has lived in Arlington for nearly three decades. She lived several years in the Penrose neighborhood (Arlington, VA) and currently lives in the Douglas Park neighborhood with her husband James in the same home her grandfather purchased in 1969 (albeit with several modifications).

She has two adult sons, a daughter-in-law from Honduras, and three grandchildren (5, 6, and 10). Her 5-year-old grandson was born with a disability (Spina Bifida).

She is married to James Younger a retired Arlington Deputy Chief of Police after over 35 years of service and who is currently a licensed attorney in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

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The Sheriff’s Office will be a highly effective nationally accredited organization which is transparent, accountable and encourages community engagement and partnership.

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