Another year has come and gone so very quickly. I hope you and yours have had a Merry Christmas. My hope for all of us is a healthy, safe and prosperous new year.
As I reflect on this past year, I am mostly pleased with the progress we have made at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and the service we have given the people of the county. Yet, being the imperfect humans that we are, there is always room for improvement.
I have tried to point out the weaknesses and failures of the Sheriff’s Office in decades past, and explain the reasons of these failures. I have done this without rancor or animosity to any past or present leader or elected official.
If we fail to acknowledge the factual past, we will continue to fail and live in error. As I examine the past, I try to judge people in the times or era in which certain judgments and decisions were made. I got that from the old cowboy writer Louis L’Amour.
When I have spoken these things, some of our past and present leaders have been offended. This reaction has surprised me and runs counter to everything that I have been taught. When you make a mistake or misstatement and are made aware of it, you make amends, apologize and correct your course. You don’t try to tear down the credibility of the messenger. Anything less is dishonest.
People say, “Just tell it like it is; do not sugarcoat it.” That is the only way I know to do it. I haven’t learned the political doublespeak of the professional politician. Nor, do I want to learn it.
We have dealt with many drug-related problems throughout the county this year. That is an ongoing problem. We are still on opposite sides of the methamphetamine problem with our local state delegation. Our two state senators and two state representatives have fought me hard on this issue.
Other states have made it a law that pseudo-ephedrine be bought with a prescription only. Now, some 18 cities or towns in Tennessee have adopted ordinances to require a prescription. Meth production has gone down considerably in those states and is already beginning to do the same in some of those cities and towns in Tennessee. They took it upon themselves to do what the state should do.
Almost half of the legal sales of cold medicines or allergy medicines with pseudo-ephedrine sold in Tennessee go to the making of illegal meth. In other words for every $10 million in profit from these sales in Tennessee, around $4.7 million is from that which is used illegally.
A recent study by Vanderbilt University says that 2 out of 3 people in Tennessee are for making pseudo-ephedrine a prescription drug.
It appears now the lieutenant governor is ready to support this effort, and that Speaker of the House Beth Harwell realizes the situation and says something has to be done about the continuing meth problem.
How can we continue to play around concerning all the human misery that methamphetamine brings to fellow Tennesseans?
Then there is the $1.6 billion in costs for this problem in Tennessee last year. I wonder if the pseudo-ephedrine manufacturers are making as much money as Tennessee is losing yearly? There is some hope, it appears, that this law will be changed even without our local legislators’ support.
On a different note, our patrol deputies have made 26,000 traffic stops this year. This, along with efforts made by other law-enforcement agencies has brought fatal car crashes down greatly in Bradley County. We are working every day to keep the death rate down.
Many of these traffic stops are also invaluable in building a database on criminals and their activities. Drug intervention and arrests of wanted people are also an integral part of these traffic stops. We stop all kinds of traffic violators: the good, the bad and the ugly.
In the past couple of years we have put into practice updated hiring procedures that are designed to hire the best man or woman for the job. We no longer hire a person to make a political payback to supporters. We give a pre-interview test to each person wanting a job.
I want to say also that I do not discriminate against my friends either. If they or their family members desire a job at the BCSO, they too are welcome to take this pre-qualifying test.
All in all, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is hitting on all cylinders. We will continue to tweak and tune as needed. We have some very good leaders emerging throughout the whole system. I am endeavoring to let them grow and lead their particular areas of responsibility.
As problems arise we will deal with them fairly and forthrightly, as we have done this year. I try to be fair with the people of Bradley County and protect them from all the threats to their peace and safety. I am also committed to protecting our deputies and other employees from those who would abuse them and their good name.
For the most part 2013 has been a good year. Thank God!
I pray that we will say a year from now that 2014 has been a good year. That is my main resolution: “That I do my part in county government to make it a good year.”
Happy New Year! Thanks for reading.