Culpeper County

Auxiliary deputy with felony convictions added to security detail for Biden visit

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The News4 I-Team obtained a normally confidential law enforcement plan for a presidential visit to Culpeper County, Virginia, showing a convicted felon was assigned as part of the security detail.

The White House executive visit to Germanna Community College on Feb. 10, 2022, was a chance for President Joe Biden to pitch a prescription drug price relief plan.

The 20-page “law enforcement sensitive” plan obtained by the I-Team shows many Culpeper Sheriff’s Office deputies were assigned to guard entrances and exits and key points at Culpeper Regional Airport where Marine One, the presidential helicopter, landed. Deep into the plan, auxiliary Deputy Rick Rahim is listed as a rover to provide relief to other deputies at the airport.

The I-Team has reported on Rahim before. Court records show he was sworn in as an auxiliary deputy in May 2021. Rahim is a felon with convictions for conspiracy to commit grand larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses in the 1990s.

Former Sheriff Scott Jenkins, who appointed Rahim, did not answer questions about his appointment or background check when the I-Team first reported it. In recent weeks Jenkins’ attorney did not respond to questions about how Rahim ended up on the presidential assignment.

According to the plan, there were more than a dozen deputies working that day. Rahim was one of at least three auxiliary deputies the I-Team on the schedule that day, but the Culpeper Sheriff's Office had dozens of auxiliary deputies on a roster.

Jenkins is scheduled for a federal trial in July, accused of allegedly accepting bribes to make at least three people, including Rahim, an auxiliary deputy. Rahim is charged for allegedly paying the bribe. Both pleaded not guilty.

Court records show Rahim is expected to change his plea next week. The I-Team reached out to Rahim’s attorney about the plea hearing and the presidential visit but did not hear back.

When asked about the presidential security assignment, former Secret Service Special Agent Matt Doherty told the I-Team it was “jaw dropping that this would happen in a U.S. police department, that a convicted felon would be authorized not only to carry a gun and badge but charged with the protection of the citizenry and to support the Secret Service in their protective machinery."

Doherty, who is now a workplace risk assessment expert for the consulting firm Sikich, told the I-Team the Secret Service relies on local law enforcement agencies to assist with every high-level visit. He said the agency has no choice but to trust local agencies.

“We assume that those individuals have been vetted," Doherty said.

"The Secret Service protective model ensures the highest level of security for our protectees,” the Secret Service told the I-Team in a statement. “There were no security considerations or issues that impacted the President's movements during the 2022 visit to Culpeper, Virginia."

Doherty echoed the statement, assuring the I-Team the president was not in danger that day, but called Rahim’s inclusion in the plan “a horrible dereliction of duty, not only for the president, but the day-to-day interaction with the citizenry.” 

 The Secret Service statement continued, "As it relates to vetting partner law enforcement agencies that assist the Secret Service, there are rigorous legal and background requirements to obtain law enforcement certification in every state. Each local jurisdiction is responsible for ensuring the efficacy of that process. In this instance, there may be questions as to whether that process was followed."  

 The Secret Service wouldn't comment more specifically, citing the pending federal case against the former sheriff.

The new sheriff suspended the auxiliary deputy program when he started in January.

Reported by Ted Oberg, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones.

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