Sheriff's Office: A presidential visit
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Dec 02, 2012 | 1348 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan visited Chattanooga and Athens. I was one of several deputies who were selected to be a part of the security team for his Athens visit.

It was interesting to see the many aspects of the security team in action. The bomb-sniffing dogs regularly sniffed out the corridors of the Athens Courthouse, along with the grandstand and areas around the courthouse.

Lawmen were on the store roofs around the area that was cordoned off. They were out of public view, but very near. Then there was a squad of highly trained men with submachine guns that were even closer to the president while he spoke. All of these law-enforcement officers were ready to protect the president from any eventuality.

There has been much written about President Reagan’s laid back style of leadership. Historians now tell us that he was not so laid back after all. He started fighting communism many decades before the Berlin wall fell and the U.S.S.R.’s communist led government collapsed.

Apparently, the great communicator, as Reagan was known, was much more engaged in policy making than his critics were willing to admit. One thing stands out about President Reagan’s administration. He was as successful, as he was, by surrounding himself with knowledgeable people. He was not threatened by these strong personalities who helped him run this country for eight years.

Many in his administration were outspoken and highly opinionated. Under Reagan’s leadership they made a good team.

Well, on the county level, I am trying to do the same thing. I have surrounded myself with people who I believe make up a good team. We have a number of men and women who are very talented and knowledgeable. They continue to seek training and knowledge that ultimately benefits the county taxpayer.

Capt. Mike Boggess, for example, has been a full-time member of the Sheriff’s Office for almost 25 years and was a sworn volunteer five years before that. Before he came to us full-time he was the leader of our county’s rescue squad.

During these years he has developed and used his expertise in maintaining our communications capability, our Mobile Data computers, our fleet of cars and much of the upkeep and maintenance of our facilities. In other words, he and the talented people working with him do all the work related to what I have mentioned, themselves. This includes the installation of all radios and equipment, and striping and lettering of the cars. They do all the mechanic work and sometimes, even body work.

Many sheriff offices have to outsource all or most of this type of work with costs soaring into the tens of thousands over just a few years time. So, our operation here is very efficient and saves the taxpayer a lot of money over time.

We have other deputies who have come to us from other agencies that are well trained and experienced in all kinds of investigations. We also have longtime employees who continue to grow intellectually and thru working experience.

We, also, save money in our jail operations because of the experienced people we have there. Although we are very much understaffed in the jail, one official that did an analysis of this and our operation stated we have one of the best administrative operations in the state.

Something that probably will interest you is that we usually have inmates (trustees) who are very talented people. We always put some of them to work, when and if, they qualify for trustee status. There is always some that are good handymen, some that are mechanics and others that can do just about anything. Many of them could make a lot of money, if they were not in jail. I remember deputies joking about hoping that certain people got re-arrested so we would have enough talented trustees on hand.

Well, I could name a number of individuals at the sheriff’s office, who consistently do laudable work. They are always mindful that they are stewards of the taxpayer’s money.

What I want you the residents of Bradley County to know is that we have the best educated, best trained and the most experienced deputies here at the sheriff’s office, than ever before in our history.

Sure, there is always a rotten apple or two in any group of people. We always have to be watchful and weed them out when this proves to be the case. And, we are always having an experienced deputy leaving to go somewhere else, because they can’t make enough money here to support their family adequately.

As I have stated more than once, our goal is to keep the county safe.

As a parting note, I noticed in last week’s Banner where others see the increasing encroachment of criminal activity coming from Chattanooga to Bradley County and Cleveland. When most of our resident recognize this truth, we will develop the will and fortitude to wage a successful fight against this growing tide.

Thanks for reading.