A bridge man — that is what someone said to me the other day. He said, “You are a bridge man, building from the past to the present and into the next generation; having served Cleveland/Bradley County law-enforcement for four decades, you are uniquely qualified.”
The statement the man made is both flattering and sobering. Flattering because of some accomplishments I have made over the years in serving and protecting our community. Sobering, because of the formidable task staring us in the face concerning our law-enforcement needs.
Cleveland/Bradley County is growing. I believe the rate of growth will rapidly increase. Many of us remember Murfreesboro as a nice little, quiet town. In just a few years, it has become a bustling city with new roads and many new buildings, along with traffic jams everywhere. This same thing happened to the little, sleepy town of Franklin when Saturn moved there.
Some of us remember the predictions about Cleveland 25 years or so ago when it was being said these things would happen to Cleveland.
The future is now.
Part of a transition to rapidly changing economic and cultural conditions is I must keep the citizens informed of my goals, vision and actions concerning the Sheriff’s Office. I try to do that with this column every week, with news releases and one-on-one contact as I encounter people daily throughout the county. I always have in mind the old adage, “What can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.”
My goal personally is to continue to grow intellectually and become a better person spiritually as I do my work as a public servant.
Although I have been in law-enforcement many years, I must remain open to new ideas and concepts that are effective in preventing and reducing crime.
Some leaders cannot quickly adapt their thinking to solving the many problems that come at you many times a day when fast -pace growth begins to occur. It can be kind of like that deer in the headlights look.
My senior staff and I continue to study and plan as we meet the law-enforcement needs of Bradley County. We can continue to hold to our community values and still step up to the present day methods.
Since October is Crime Prevention Month, I want to mention a few things about our successes and what I see as problems.
For 201,1 our clearance rate for all offenses was 56.37 percent, which is well above the national average. We arrested 2,930 adults and 149 juveniles for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession.
There were 228 offenses of aggravated assault, 590 cases of simple assault, plus 684 domestic violence incidents. There were 425 drug/narcotic violations of all types of which 413 were cleared. There are always a number of unreported cases as well.
In 2011 we had to hit the ground running. It started off with the tragic murders of a Bradley County couple, and before the year was over there were three more murders. All of these were solved.
We, also, had 238 burglaries for the year, and thefts of all kinds, including embezzlements and fraud were 770. All of this is only a partial listing of reported crimes for 2011. Beyond all this I think you should be aware of the fact the Sheriff’s Office answered 114,007 calls for service in 2011. That gives you an idea of just how busy our deputies are and is a real indication of how our community is growing.
As you may recall, I started what I have called “Campaign Lifesaver” in November 2011, with the goal of reducing the number of traffic deaths in Bradley County.
I have tried to bring awareness to the public of this problem, encouraging people to slow down and drive safely.
Our traffic unit and other deputies have increased traffic enforcement, yet with three month to go in this year we are on track to surpass last year’s total of 17 traffic deaths for the entire county, which includes the city. This campaign has not seen the success I have hoped for, which will require us to rethink how we will approach the problem this next year.
A big part of our crime prevention efforts is involving the residents in our communities. This year we had the “Night Out Against Crime” event on Tuesday night.
It was well attended and shows that our residents want to partner with us in the fight against crime.
Also, in the last two years we have established 43 Neighborhood Watch groups in different areas of the county. It is in these efforts, residents working with us, that we can best be effective in this fight against crime.
I want to once again encourage all of our residents to report any suspicious activities and suspicious persons to the 911 Center or to the Sheriff’s Office.
There has been, and certainly will continue to be, a lot of crimes that are prevented or detected by vigorous law-enforcement and the involvement of our neighbors watching out for crime with us.
Thanks for reading.