Where would our local agricultural and farm families be if they had not updated their techniques and equipment over the past several decades? Those that did not, fell by the wayside, and the factories that refused to invest in the present and future have gone belly up.
Government agencies that fail to exercise forethought and adjust to developing needs become useless.
As I have said before, there are certain things that are basic to meeting our families’ needs. There must be food, shelter and clothing. It doesn’t matter how much it cost, because our families need these things to live.
Some moms and dads have taken second jobs just to keep their heads above water, so to speak. To get to work, it doesn’t matter how much gas costs, because they still have to buy it.
These moms and dads may have to give up the weekly meal out, maybe the Saturday movie or some other sacrifice, so that they can continue to drive to work. They must set some rigid priorities and then keep them.
We have people like that in Bradley County and they will take any menial work to stay off welfare.
They, certainly, have my admiration.
In our government it is the same way. We must look at our priorities. It is wonderful to have all the bells and whistles; to dress up like a president of a third world country with a colorful uniform full of brass metals that are not earned. But, we must simply stick to what, in our case, is a basic law enforcement plan to keep Bradley County safe.
I have some folks who want to tell me just how things ought to be done. They talk about the things that we need and things we can do without. But, the problem is they have never done it before and know very little of how the big picture needs to function.
It is kind of like me telling the brain surgeon how he could save money if he would just buy one scalpel and turn off some high energy lights in the operating room. Then, he could just buy some stronger reading glasses from Walmart to compensate for the lack of proper lighting.
What about telling the carpenter that it is all right to use 2-by-4’s instead of 2-by-12’s? Just add a few more blocks under the floor. Or, then, maybe, telling the electrician to use smaller electrical boxes and to put all the plug-ins on one circuit. Surely, the toaster, the microwave and the coffee pot won’t all be used at the same time.
It is obviously too late when the patient dies, when the floors crash in or when the house burns down from electrical problems.
That is where we are right now with our Sheriff’s Office budget. The brain surgeon, the carpenter and the electrician have said and know what is needed.
So have I.
Trying to make something out of what is free and available is like what a retired lawman once told. His parents were sharecroppers on a farm. When he was 12 years old he saw a movie about a scuba diver and was taken with the possibility that he could do that.
He was too poor to ever buy such equipment, so he decided he would build his own scuba gear and test it in a creek down the road. He attempted to use a can the family had bought lard in and some garden hose he cut. He couldn’t figure out how to best make the holes in the can and to fit the hose right to make it airtight. So, he abandoned his dream.
This is the same kid that made a canoe out of pieces of discarded roofing tins. When he launched it into the water it promptly went to the bottom. No tar or pitch was available.
As I have said before, keeping the community safe is not an option, and the best tool we have in our toolbox is an experienced, well trained, dedicated to Bradley County, professional deputy sheriff.
Everyone knows that it takes experienced, trained people to analyze the problems of any entity. It takes a certain level of knowledge to even ask the right questions when probing for solutions to fix problems.
So, it is with county law enforcement. Recently, in the Banner, I have tried to explain about the potential of criminal activity increasing in the near and distant future.
Some try to divert attention from this very real threat to our present peace and tranquility. Yet, the action of this group indicates that they are willing to subsidize other projects that would be regarded by most of us as elective expenditures. Expenditures that we do not have to make in these tough times we are facing.
A few of my friends who mean well, would advise me to just sit back and let the budget process run its course. That, if the budget is underfunded, let those who are actually responsible take the blame.
Well, that is, certainly, the safe political stance for me to choose, but it is not the one I am going to take. When crime increases to the point where it is in the headlines every day, as it is in Chattanooga, I want the voters to say that our sheriff tried to warn everyone. That he and his staff knew what they were talking about all along.
My conscience will not let me play those political games. My political career does not even rise to the level of the importance of keeping a Sheriff’s Office that is competent and equipped to face the problems coming down the pike.
As responsible county leaders we must back up and take another look at our spending priorities. County law enforcement must be one of the top three priorities of county spending and investments. Those who hired us and pay us will demand no less of their elected officials.
We can’t keep doing things the same old way. The times call for the best efforts on my part, and on the part of the entire Sheriff’s Office personnel. The times call for those that allocate budgets to do what is right, based on the law and what are real priorities.
Petty politics aside ... I plan to fight to have and continue to have a professional Sheriff’s Office that keeps the peace in Bradley County.
Thanks again for listening.