A deputy can be tough and still be fair in enforcing the laws. I have emphasized the importance of having well-seasoned men and women in law enforcement. Of course, these individuals get that seasoning on the job.
Sure, they make mistakes, some dumb ones every now and then. These mistakes are not criminal, but are poor judgment calls. They learn from them and become better people because they are honest people.
There are some young men and women who come to us from families that have done a good job raising them. You can pick up on that immediately when you meet them. Their mannerism, courtesy, thoughtfulness and self respect come through from their first meeting and are exhibited throughout their career.
Others turn out to be a work in progress. They come to us as a lump of coal, but there is something about them that indicates they will be a diamond someday.
Law enforcement can be a very dangerous business, and because of that very close supervision, especially during the early years as a deputy sheriff, is required.
Ever since 1829 when Sir Robert Peel began to organize law enforcement agencies along military lines, this model has since been used in the ranking order. So, when you have two deputies on a scene, the senior deputy is in charge, unless otherwise instructed.
Law enforcement agencies are definitely quasi-military organizations requiring supervision from the top to the bottom. Our deputies carry handguns, rifles and shotguns. The very nature of this and the fact they have the power of life and death, and the authority to arrest and deprive people of their freedom requires this close supervision.
We at the Sheriff’s Office are mindful of threats to the peace and safety of Bradley County and I have reported these trends in this column the last few years.
We have worked quietly every day, and still are, to stop the criminal activity coming from the Chattanooga area. Obviously, I cannot give some of the details, but I am led to believe our very strong patrol efforts and our detective’s quick actions are working.
The daily, consistent monitoring by the traffic unit, along with the Cleveland Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Charleston Police Department has had an impact on traffic deaths.
These deaths have decreased in Tennessee, but especially in Bradley County. We have decreased our fatalities more than any county in Tennessee over the last year.
While much of this was the result of the work of all agencies in Bradley County, I am convinced the BCSO’s Campaign Lifesaver program has had an impact.
We started this program in November 2011 to bring attention to the need for people to drive safely and to help in reducing crash fatalities.
We advertised, increased our traffic stops on violations, increased issuing warnings and have issued more regular citations for the more serious violations. Tragically, traffic deaths rose in neighboring Chattanooga.
We will keep the pressure on those speeding, texting and drinking and driving.
A number of our seasoned deputies are making good leaders and agency executives. It was said just last week that we have leaders who have the knowledge and experience to lead a sizable police agency.
Plans call for continued development of our people, who will serve us well now, and for continued development for others, years from now.
Our SWAT team was recently called to assist a neighboring county in a shootout. That county’s law enforcement called for our armored personnel carrier and crew. While they were en route, the situation was resolved, and they had to turn back without having to provide assistance.
While some of the Sequatchie County vehicles were shot up by the gunman, fortunately none of the officers were injured.
There is a cooperative spirit among area agencies, especially during an emergency.
The forward motion of your Sheriff’s Office is depicted each year in the Cleveland Daily Banner’s Progress Edition.
This progress report is due in the next few weeks.
Again, thanks for reading. I am also glad and grateful for the goodwill you have expressed as I travel about the county.