Anticipating needs — finding answers
by Jim Ruth, Bradley County Sheriff
Mar 31, 2013 | 884 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Almost three decades ago, one of our deputies was attending a class in the Basic Police Academy.

The class was on making a felony stop, which always has the potential of becoming a dangerous situation.

The instructor was a policeman from a large department, and also a member of its SWAT Team. He told the class that two officers should take cover behind their vehicle on the left side, while two other officers should cover the right side of the suspect’s car.

Our deputy asked the instructor how he should “handle a felony stop, when alone, when the nearest backup is 30 minutes away and the situation is deteriorating rapidly?”

The instructor thought silently for awhile, then bluntly answered, “I don’t know.”

Our deputies have been caught in similar situations over the years.

Even with good training, there is always some new, life-threatening challenge in the law enforcement officer’s future.

We try to gear our training to prepare our people for any eventuality. As we train for the problems we face today, we also are teaching about solving law enforcement problems in the near and distant future.

The good, frontline foot soldiers of today will be leading the Sheriff’s Office in the years ahead. It is very important that there be continuity in good, solid, effective county law enforcement.

I am saying that our effectiveness in keeping the peace, now, will impact the peace and safety of Bradley County 20 years from now. So, we must plan and work vigorously to contain criminal activity now or it will get the upper hand, as it has over the past few years in Chattanooga.

The headline in a Chattanooga paper spoke of the gangs calling a truce. That sounds as naïve as Prime Minister Chamberlain’s deal with Hitler in World War II, which was supposed to bring about lasting peace in that day and time.

Why would you trust promises from people whose whole lives and energies have been criminal enterprises?

Chattanooga’s new mayor-elect has said he is going to give the police what they need to stop the criminal violence. Well, should this happen and the rat-killer, so to speak, comes to Chattanooga, many of these undesirables will flee to Bradley County.

We can ignore these possibilities, as Chattanooga has done for years, or we can recognize the problem and be proactive against the criminal element as it seeks to invade our community.

We want to be strong enough numerically to respond quickly to any home invasion, burglary-in-progress, assault, etc. We want to retain deputies with training, experience and other expertise in order to be effective at solving crimes and adequately prosecuting offenders.

My goal is that the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office gain the vitality to keep crime at a minimum and make it so hard on the criminals that they will not settle in Bradley County.

I believe our community can be an island of safety and be mostly tranquil, if we face these challenges with our eyes wide open.

The criminals will quickly see that law enforcement is very tough but fair in Bradley County, and that their criminal activity will not be tolerated here.

Our budget requests this year will reflect our best efforts for a crime-free community. Your help is needed as a resident. We are also asking for a favorable budget review from your County Commission.

We cannot ignore the ominous criminal threat staring us in the face from south of us. We at the Sheriff’s Office can contain it. All we need is a little help from our friends. I hope that many of you will raise your voice for a strong Sheriff’s Office.

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Thanks for reading.