I’ve had the opportunity to study different leadership styles, crime prevention efforts and criminal investigation methods over the years. Some of the leadership styles have been authoritarian, some very casual and some believe they must “micro-manage” every effort by subordinates.
I’ve also been privileged to interact with a number of recognized “experts” or professionals at various leadership levels in the field.
I have people working for me who have made law enforcement their life.
They have studied the many aspects of keeping the peace and the law enforcement process for countless years. Bradley County is very fortunate to have these quality people providing this service.
I believe I know a quality deputy when I see one. We have increased our qualifications and standards for hiring new people.
Sometimes, we make a mistake and have to replace some people. I believe a deputy is and must be held to a high standard of conduct.
There are those who, though otherwise talented, are not willing to maintain the example which our local people demand.
I have come to believe the office of the sheriff is one of the most unique agencies in the world of law enforcement. It is certainly the most accountable to the public of any other office. The sheriff and his administrative staff stand for review every four years. Every registered voter has a say in this review.
Other law enforcement heads are buffered or shielded by “bureaucrats,” boards, unions, and other elected officials.
None have to face the public straight on as the sheriff does.
Because of this direct accountability, the sheriff and his deputies are sensitized to every single compliant from tens of thousands of voters.
Each complaint is given fair consideration and acted on.
The office of sheriff has been immortalized by the old Western story writers and cowboy movies. The office had been criticized and castigated by modern writers as well.
When criticism is due, I believe the office must be separated from the office holder.
While a sheriff and/or his deputies may be worthy of harsh criticism because of their actions or failures, the office of sheriff itself, as I mentioned in an earlier article, is one of the purest forms of democracy in action.
There are a few political subdivisions in our country where the office of sheriff has been downgraded in order for a few to gain political power or advantage over law enforcement. Public safety is usually downgraded as well because of the lack of direct accountability.
On the other hand, there are some places where the Sheriff’s Office provides all the enforcement duties in the cities and unincorporated county. Jacksonville and Duval County, Fla., and others are examples. There are states also where some cities contract with the sheriff’s department to provide city police services as well.
When you elected me to serve as your sheriff, the mantle fell on my shoulders to protect you and your family and provide as safe an environment as possible to work, play, attend school, and otherwise feel “safe” in our community.
I also must protect the sanctity and integrity of the office of sheriff. I am endeavoring to do just that. When I see forces, locally, trying to undermine and otherwise dilute or compromise the rights, responsibilities and duties of this Constitutional office, I will share it with you. Beware, the threat has always been there.
It manifests itself in very subtle ways.
One of the early warning signs of those wanting to weaken law enforcement begins with: “Let’s take politics out of law enforcement.”
What they are really saying is: “Let’s take the power away from the people and put it in the hands of a few to manipulate it with their own will.”
Think about these things. It’s already happening in Washington, D.C., and even a few other locales. Thank you for reading.