Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Allen "A.J." Dudley, Jr. has announced his bid for a second term in office.
"I respectfully ask for the opportunity to continue leading the office, and would appreciate your vote on November 5th," Dudley said in a press release. “My views have been formed over decades of experience in law, business and community service, and have prepared me to efficiently lead the office with the right balance of firmness and fairness.”
Dudley was elected as Franklin County’s commonwealth’s attorney in a three-way race in 2015.
He said his office has successfully handled thousands of cases since his first day, “from homicides and offenses against children to simple traffic infractions.”
During his initial campaign, Dudley said he pledged “to handle as many drug-distribution cases myself as possible during my first year.”
“The result is that in a short period of time, I was quickly immersed in drug trafficking investigations which, unfortunately, spill over into overall criminal behavior and not just the drug offense itself,” he said. “This area demands ongoing attention in our Commonwealth and nation, and locally I continue to personally work closely with area narcotics officers to take drug-dealers off the streets. Working with law enforcement, we have seized thousands of dollars affiliated with drug trafficking. My office is thoroughly committed to continuing these efforts."
According to Dudley, each employee in the commonwealth's attorney's office is key to the department’s overall success.
"We are a team as though we were on a playing field together, and our overall performance reflects that every employee is 'giving it their all,’” he said. “Similarly, we are in daily contact with area law enforcement agencies, whose positive cooperation with our office help ensure effective prosecutions. I hope we are given the opportunity to continue doing so the next four years, as we remain committed to serving the people of Franklin County.”
During his tenure as commonwealth’s attorney, Dudley secured a grant to fund a victim-witness coordinator, a position that has improved the office's ability to keep victims and witnesses up-to-date while offering a more counseling-centered conversation with less “legalese," he said.
He also implemented “new approaches to create a more thorough and streamlined process to help serve taxpayers.”
"Technology has brought about certain opportunities, but also challenges,” Dudley said. “We implemented case management software to internally keep a record for each defendant and their felony charge. This helps quickly allocate resources to the best-suited prosecutor, because with a click of a button I can see who may have previously prosecuted the defendant, or otherwise is a good fit for this type of case.”
"Video footage, usually from a 'body-worn camera' or police vehicle, has been a game-changer," Dudley added. "To meet the demands of today's prosecutorial environment, we work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure we have access to necessary video footage. This volume of video, however, has a practical cost. To store, locate, review and copy officers' body-camera footage requires extensive computer and software resources, and of course the time to sift through and watch it."
Dudley grew up in Franklin County and is a 1987 graduate from Franklin County High School. He received his business degree from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce before earning his law degree from George Mason University.
Dudley began his legal career working for Judge Jackson L. Kiser, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Since then, he has provided services throughout a broad range of legal categories. During his career, Dudley served as a guardian for children in domestic situations, recommending to the judge what he believed was best for the child.
Dudley recently served as chairman of Ferrum College's Business Advisory Board. His other volunteer community service includes serving on the board of directors of STEP and the Stephanie R. Bennett Memorial Scholarship Fund. He is also a past-president of the Rocky Mount Rotary Club and a former president of Franklin County Bar Association.
Dudley has donated legal services to many community organizations, such as the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Smith Mountain Lake Lions Scholarship Trust, Community Partnership for Revitalization, Franklin County High School Baseball Club, Franklin County Sandlot Football, Antioch Community Park, Creek Freaks and the Children's Advocacy Center of the Blue Ridge.
Dudley and his wife, Renee, live in Rocky Mount, and have four children. He is the son of Allen and Virginia Dudley, also of Rocky Mount.