The fast lane
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Jan 13, 2013 | 754 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
That is the life of a deputy sheriff! One minute the patrol deputy is casually checking for any unusual activity in a neighborhood and, then, the silence is broken by the 911 Center. A dispatcher announces some emergency, which often is preceded by a loud alarm to get everyone’s attention.

The deputies’ heart rate increases as the adrenalin begins to pump and all the deputies’ mental faculties begin to focus on that emergency.

Then, the crisis ends and the deputy returns to his patrol assignment.

A burglary is discovered and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is sent to take a report and investigate. The patrol deputy takes the initial report and usually has to call for a detective to continue the investigation.

One or more detectives respond to the scene. Evidence is systematically collected. Potential witnesses are interviewed and all the information is catalogued. Some of these initial steps sometimes will take many hours to complete. Many hours are spent later on follow-up interviews, reviewing information and intelligence that is on file of cases that are similar.

This information includes the criminals who have used the same method of operation, or MO, as used in the crime in question. These paper trails can be long and arduous, but anything but boring. A lot of shoe leather is used as leads are made and worked.

There is no lack of work for the deputy. The workday is planned but the potential is always there for that plan to be interrupted by an emergency or a new problem that pops up, taking priority over everything else.

The detective will respond to a hot lead but in the same hour may be checking information on several other cases as well. There are often cases where information developed points to a suspect but the detective wants to put at least one more part of the puzzle together before an arrest is made.

There are crimes that have been committed years ago that one day will be cleared, when the last piece of evidence is found to have enough for a successful prosecution.

The potential for a new witness to step forward and corroborate the evidence we already have is always there. Unfortunately, some of these situations just have to cook a little longer before they are eventually solved. That is the nature of law enforcement.

Almost 20 years ago we began to receive complaints of illegal poker machines set up around the county. One mother called to plead for the BCSO to do something for her son, who was spending all of his paycheck each week on these machines. His wife and children were being neglected as a result. Then, we had other complaints similar to this one from friends of the BCSO.

For a time we were in a very delicate situation.

We were part of an undercover operation working with state and federal agents. There was a process of gathering evidence and we could not act immediately to stop this illegal activity. The result, though, of this lengthy investigation was that we contributed to the confiscation of 400 illegal machines in one day.

The Sheriff’s Office duties and responsibilities to the public have always been multifaceted. Many counties both large and small across America recognize the importance of having great sheriff’s departments and give priority funding to law enforcement. Others do not give priority to public safety, which always reflects negatively on that community.

I want the folks of Bradley County to know that we at the BCSO are fully engaged in every aspect of protecting this community.

We will continue with that commitment.

Further, I want the taxpayer to know that the career service plan that I have proposed for the Sheriff’s Office will have a very positive effect with cost savings to our county over the long haul.

Thanks for reading.