Sheriff's Office: Overcoming community ‘fatigue’
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Jul 14, 2013 | 1123 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

—Vince Lombardi

The recession that our country and the rest of the world went through in recent years has wearied all of us. There have been a few bright spots, but others say our economy is still not out of recession.

This recession brought on many problems for the working class. Jobs have been lost, homes repossessed, homes refinanced, plans and dreams placed on hold or abandoned altogether. Yet, it seems the rich and very poor have lived the same lifestyle as before, almost unaffected by the economic uncertainties.

These uncertainties, with all their attendant worries, have taken their toll on the emotions of our everyday folks. Every announcement or bit of news that concerns one of the local industries is parsed and dissected, as folks look for trends in our local economy.

Fatigue is setting in from all of this anxiety.

Some of our local political leaders wring their hands in hopelessness, while other leaders speak of a very bright, rosy future. Personally, I believe in the latter. I do not believe it will suddenly, miraculously appear, though I do think we are on a journey there.

Consequently, those who are or will be in local leadership positions must somehow shake off this doom and gloom of fatigue, and make decisive plans for our future.

Hard decisions must be made about the present and future of law enforcement, schools, roads and all the other services local government provides. For far too long, in my opinion, county decisions have been made on a parochial level, instead of what is best for the whole county. Petty politics, personality clashes and personal enrichments should be left out of policy-making decisions.

Political party affiliation is important to many of us. But, these parties should all be working toward making our country, our state and our community a better place to live. I am loyal to the Republican Party, but if a Democrat or Independent gives me a better idea than my own, I am going to accept it. It is country and community first, then party.

What am I trying to say this week?

At this point in our history we need to take a hard look at where we are as a community. We need to have a studied outlook of our needs for next year and for years ahead. As far as law enforcement goes, my prediction concerning the spillover of violence from inner-city Chattanooga to surrounding communities is happening.

I know Chattanooga supporters cringe when a statement like that is made, but we must deal with the truth if we are to come up with solutions. I am a supporter of and booster of Chattanooga as well. I appreciate Chattanooga’s place and contributions to our history. Now, Bradley County is really part of Metro Chattanooga.

Experts say we need to build some classrooms and repair some schools. Law enforcement studies say more deputies and better pay are needed. Others say there is a need for better roads.

If we need more information about these stated needs, ask the experts, and question the veracity of their studies and projected needs. But, I suggest we will ourselves past this fatigue and do what is best for our citizens — now and for our children and grandchildren.

The people I was raised up with and looked upon as role models were thoughtful, self-reliant people who believed in paying their own way. They were people who were always ready to help others, but were embarrassed if others offered to help them out of a bad spot.

I believe Bradley County for the most part is still like that. We will bear the burden if we see that the burden is altogether justified.

I hope everyone had a pleasant Fourth of July holiday and celebrated our independence.

Thanks for reading.