The community is mourning the loss of Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Anthony “Tony” Sisk, the agency’s patrol division commander.
He died Oct. 1 at INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax County, according to a post Friday from Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins. Sisk was 50.
He passed as a result of complications from contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty, the sheriff’s office confirmed, as reported by the Officer Down Memorial Page.
COVID-19 was the leading cause of law enforcement death for the first six months of 2021, according to a report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The report states 71 officers nationwide died as a result of contracting the coronavirus while executing official duties.
The Star-Exponent asked the sheriff’s office spokesman, but did not receive a response about whether Sisk had been vaccinated against COVID-19. The spokesman did not respond to a question about other local deputies in the line of duty getting vaccinated.
The 27-year law enforcement officer graduated from Culpeper County High School in 1990 and went on to serve the community in a career that crossed four decades, and saw many changes in policing.
Sisk was a familiar and smiling face around Culpeper and at his other posts in Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Eileen Francis, and daughters Sarah Bullard and Hallie Sisk.
Tony Sisk started his law enforcement career in 1994 as a jail deputy under Sheriff Robert “Pete” Peters, advanced to patrol, and later to criminal investigations, Jenkins wrote in his Facebook post.
Sisk worked in the Culpeper Police Department from 2004 to 2008 and then in patrol and investigations for several years in the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office.
When Jenkins was elected in 2012, Sisk joined his lifelong friend and colleague in returning to the agency, the sheriff said. Sisk served his home county with honor and distinction until his death, Jenkins’ post stated.
Sisk’s career was marked by continual education and advancement in law enforcement. He was well-known as a veteran instructor in firearm usage, being knowledgeable and proficient in the field.
In 2019, Sisk was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Culpeper Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force for his work in support of crime victims.
In addition to commanding patrols, Sisk supervised civil process operations and was previously lieutenant in charge of the Court Division.
“Tony’s death leaves a hole in our hearts and in our community that cannot be filled. His ready smile and warm embrace were well known to all,” Sheriff Jenkins wrote. “Knowing that Tony is resting with God helps a little to ease the tremendous pain of losing this outstanding human being. Rest In Peace, brother.”
Support and sadness around Sisk’s passing poured out like healing waters on social media and among friends.
“Capt. Sisk was respected and well-loved, and we mourn his passing,” the Culpeper Police Department posted. “Please keep his family, friends, and coworkers in your thoughts and prayers. We have the watch from here, brother.”
“Gone but not forgotten,” the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office posted about the 27-year law enforcement veteran.
“Tony was a mentor to several, an awesome father, an amazing law enforcement officer, a friend to many, but a brother to us. Rest Easy, Tony,” the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office wrote.
In 2012, Sisk wrote the Culpeper Star-Exponent to thank the community for assisting him with mock crash demonstrations with local high school students, showing them the deadly dangers of drinking and driving during prom season.
Then a sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office crime prevention unit, Sisk thanked local fire and rescue, a tow company for providing the cars, Found & Sons Funeral Home for the hearses and the medical helicopter provider for demonstrating the transport of often-critical DUI victims. He thanked teachers and administrators for their participation.
“As first responders, it is always difficult to respond to the scene of an accident, but it is even more difficult when young people are involved. Our hope is that these mock crashes help teenagers understand the possible result of poor choices,” Sisk wrote.
“These teenagers are our children, neighbors and family friends, and we do not want to see them harmed.”
On Friday, many gathered along the route from the Fairfax hospital as Sisk’s remains were transported to Found & Sons Funeral Home in Culpeper. Mourners honored Sisk with flags, salutes and bowed heads.