King of the Hill
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Feb 03, 2013 | 757 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There was a game boys used to play that we called “King of the Hill.”

The object was to stay on top of a hill of dirt or other place, while the boys around you would try to pull you down and occupy that position themselves.

All was fair in this game.

A particularly tough boy was almost impossible to dethrone. One would grab at his ankles, another would be at his back and others would try to stay out of the “King’s” peripheral vision near his sides.

The objective of the boys was to push, knock or pull the “King” off the hill. It became a very heated and physical contest that would end in scrapes and bruises. But, a stubborn, determined, experienced, tough kid would prevail.

Someone suggested to me that being sheriff is much like that childhood game. I am not complaining, but simply stating the facts. I knew what I was getting into when I signed on.

On one hand the bad guys are always coming up with new ways to try to outflank you. You have to figure out ways to push them back to stop or otherwise thwart their illegal activities.

Then, as soon as you make headway another guy comes up with new ways to upend the applecart.

While you are fighting crime on different fronts you have someone else with political motives trying to undermine your efforts (or pull you down).

Still others want to further their own personal agenda by pulling you down. The motive can be that they want others to believe they have a lot of political power and their ego must continually be massaged. Unfortunately, there are those who give ear to these knowing full well they are untrustworthy and unqualified, just to try to keep a balance of power. Then, there is always a few who want to manipulate the political landscape so they can gain financially.

These challenges come to you in dozens of different ways. Someone always could have done it better. It matters not that you have been on the job longer than they have been on the earth.

It matters not that you have highly trained, long-experienced people who work for you who are considered by the experts to be “experts” in law enforcement.

It is kind of like the carpenter’s helper telling the engineer where the load-bearing wall needs to be located. We have these second-guessers everywhere we go. They can’t do it, but they can tell everyone else how to do it.

This pushing, pulling, gouging and hollering is OK to a point. Some would even say all of this is part and parcel of contributing to public debate. Maybe there is some truth there, but there comes a time when sober thinking must take root.

Are we going to fish or cut bait? I believe it is time to get on with the tasks that lie immediately at hand.

Of course I am talking about the law-enforcement needs of Bradley County.

I am glad to see more and more people who have begun to give serious thoughts to the peace and safety of our community. This interest has manifested itself through comments and questions that have come to me over the last several months.

As we move forward, working to leave these hard financial times behind us, I am asking that our taxpayers communicate more than ever before with their elected officials. Your feelings about county law enforcement and the importance of priority funding should be discussed across the county before budget presentations are made.

And speaking about maintaining my equilibrium on the hill of contention I believe I (we) will be successful. At the sheriff’s office we have that “can do” attitude.

As I continue to hear from old friends and as new friends join us in this plan to keep our community a safe harbor, my confidence grows. Together we will accomplish this formidable task.

When I speak of new friends I mean new friends who have moved here for work and others have found southeast Tennessee to be a great place to retire. A goodly number have retired here after first retiring n Florida.

Thanks for reading.