— Unknown philosopher
In the political realm most people think of political opposition as the enemy. Those of us in law enforcement often make other lifetime enemies, as well.
This was demonstrated very tragically in the murders of a district attorney and his wife in Texas, last week. Also, an assistant district attorney was gunned down in public a few weeks ago.
Planned assaults and attacks on law enforcement officers have taken place with some regularity in the United States. Yet, it has been somewhat rare that prosecutors have been targeted.
In Mexico the murder of policemen, city, state and federal officials happens often, sometimes by the dozens. It is of concern that some of these murderous, drug cartel members from Mexico are reaching into both cities and rural towns in our country to extend their trade even more.
Most people think, “That has nothing to do with me.” Yet, it does, it affects all of us. That business down the street may be used for money laundering. The “victimless” crimes that are committed may be financed by dirty money.
Law enforcement officials must forever be watchful of the subtle criminal activities of the sophisticated criminal hierarchy. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of smaller counties must be open to learning to operate on the same level of sophistication.
After 40 years of law enforcement, I am still open to learning and listening to those who have knowledge and experience that I may be lacking. I want to promote, and also hire, those who are knowledgeable and experienced in areas in which we need to be more effective in protecting our community.
We have both natives of Bradley County and people who have worked in faraway cities at your Sheriff’s Office that bring their experience to the table.
Once in a while, someone will criticize me for hiring a person who is not a representative native of the community. They don’t stop to think that Bradley County now has tens of thousands of people who were not born here, but adopted our community to be their home.
We are stronger because of it, and a number of these people that have made Bradley County their home have been elected to public office.
I have had others to say to me, “Deputy John Doe is hurting you.” Or, “John Doe, one of your supporters, is hurting you.” They don’t stop to think that the one they are criticizing has a vote, along with family and friends who vote, the same as the complainer. This sort of thing sounds so silly sometimes.
Getting back to the point, oftentime you are criticized and fought the most where you have the greatest strengths. I want to point out again, as I have in months past, there are forces that oppose a strong Sheriff’s Office.
These sinister forces will sometimes align themselves with the church, or a worthy, charitable group to gain public confidence. It is the old “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” game.
The undermining of one’s authority or good name has been a useful tool to keep law enforcement in a weakened state.
Law enforcement agencies, all over, have to purge from their ranks those officers who refuse to “walk the line.” Lately, the news media has spoken of about two-dozen of these firings in agencies not too far away. These firings were for wrongful and illegal acts.
Good leaders have to make these decisions. When they do, they are exercising the virtue of strength. Yet, the political enemy (which is sometimes the enemy of good, strong law enforcement) will extol the virtues of the dirty cop and complain of his wrongful firing. In doing so they endeavor to eat away at a good administrator’s credibility.
Sadly, for the murdered district attorneys in Texas their enemies took their lives, instead of chipping away at their credibility and good name.
At this writing, a white supremacist group is believed to be responsible for these murders.
I suppose the killings were designed to have a chilling effect on good, aggressive law enforcement. The enemy attacked the strength of the prosecution team by murdering the DA and his wife.
We have that kind of enemy here. They do not want strong law enforcement. It might impede their helter-skelter race to enrich themselves.
Every law enforcement officer has been threatened at one time or another. These include threats of bodily harm or threats of complaints to their supervisor, and some will even threaten an officer with the media.
These remarks are usually answered with a glib remark in return. The officer is aware that the person making the threat will often follow through with the complaint on him or her. They will still do their job and often provide their supervisor’s name.
In keeping with my goal of being a good administrator, I will still be open to hear the legitimate complaints and suggestions of our upright citizens.
Remember to check out www.bradleysheriff.com.
Thanks for reading.