March 21, 2023
Lieutenant Sommer Grasty was recently promoted to Captain and is now Chief of the Court Security Branch.
Twenty-two years ago, Captain Grasty was taking criminal justice classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and was set on becoming a probation officer. While attending a career fair, she met a lieutenant from the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office. As a result of their enlightening conversation, Grasty applied to become a deputy sheriff.
After graduating from the Criminal Justice Academy, she spent several years working in the Adult Detention Center. She credits that experience with developing herself as a leader. “Over the years working in the jail, I have learned how the ability to guide, influence and mentor others played an important role in my own development. Listening and supporting the needs of others helped me recognize the value of my role as an informal leader.”
The biggest takeaway from her seven years in the Court Services Division was the networking. “I was placed in an environment where you are accountable to everyone – judges, attorneys, clerks and everyone else who came to the courthouse. My attitude and ability to work in a large team with varying goals and responsibilities was the bridge to my success.”
Grasty says the most enjoyable assignment she ever had was recruiting. “I took joy in knowing that my interactions and encounters with potential candidates could influence their career path, just as a recruiter did mine years prior. I felt empowered and valued as an employee.”
Work-Life balance is especially important to Grasty. She married in her first year on the job and several years later had twin girls who are now 10. “I appreciate that the Sheriff’s Office advocates family first. I’ve made sacrifices career-wise when the timing wasn’t right for promotions or transfers. And I could not always be there for my children’s activities. Together, my husband and I have strategized to make both career and family thrive.”
Captain Grasty completed her associate degree in her first year with the Sheriff’s Office and later earned her B.A. in Human Resource Management through the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies.