I believe that none should live in fear, except the criminal element - they should always fear they will get caught committing their crimes.
Our citizens should rest in the knowledge that a deputy sheriff is always nearby, night and day, rain or shine. The Sheriff’s Office should always be near to prevent, thwart, or otherwise stop crimes in progress.
This is especially true when it comes to protecting people.
As sheriff, I must always take this stance.
If I err, it must be on the side of safety.
It is my job to inform the funding body, the County Commission and all the tax payers, of possible crime trends and developments that threaten the peace of our community.
I cannot be timid when it comes to staffing and equipping deputies 24/7.
I have already decided to take action now to see that county law enforcement does not fall into such disrepair that a crisis will be inevitable.
In order to keep Bradley County safe, I am prepared to spend whatever political capital that may have accrued to me or other legal options that are open to me as Sheriff.
I won’t stand by idly while some actively ignore the needs of what could become one of the best law enforcement agencies in the country.
It would be the most cost-effective program around.
Some would nit-pick and micro-manage as they make suggestions on what we should do or shouldn’t do.
That would only waste efforts and resources.
We are working hard to save money where we can and we are on track to save 9,000 to 10,000 gallons of gasoline this budget year (2011-2012). We have taken a hard look at job assignments and eliminated some positions. We have given more responsibilities to existing employees and shared the savings in money with these new assignments, hoping to eventually bring these positions up to where they are paid a fair rate.
We have also taken 14 vehicles off the road.
The people who had these vehicles can now check a car out of a pool of vehicles when needed for official duties.
A number of deputies have been given additional duties in their daily work schedule as we work toward our goal of high efficiency with fair pay.
We simply cannot stand still as our county continues to grow.
Not only do corporations see Bradley County as a great place to do business, but a certain portion of the criminal element sees our hometown as fertile ground for their activities as well.
I still do not understand some folks’ way of thinking when it comes to properly funding public safety. These folks say we are facing a crisis in education because of growth in population. Yet they turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the crisis that is building in the public safety sector caused by the same growth.
I believe we, as elected leaders (every one of us), are going to have to step up to the plate and deal with the whole panoramic picture.
I believe the enemies, the roadblocks, to our successfully governing the county is, of course, the lean economy, unemployment, fear of what the future may bring or maybe one’s own political future being jeopardized.
Sometimes it seems these enemies mock us. I think about the giant Goliath of old as he mocked the leaders of Israel saying, “Is there no champion in Israel?”
I believe we have the talent to get the job done. But it will take courage to get started.
Thank you for listening.