‘No news is good news’
by JIM RUTH, Bradley County Sheriff
Jan 20, 2013 | 738 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The old saying “No news is good news” is what I think about as we plan and strategize on our policies and procedures to keep our residents from harm’s way. We are particularly focused on keeping our schoolkids safe. So, every day without news of an emergency or crisis with our children is a good day.

At your Sheriff’s Office, we work every day in many different ways to keep the county safe. These actions take the form of Bradley County School Resource Officers being on high alert for any suspicious person or activity.

Also, the deputies who have schools in their assigned areas of patrol are very much attuned to the potential for danger.

Our SWAT team continues to prepare for school emergencies as well, while our plainclothes detectives are trained and ready to help prevent or stop any tragic event.

I want Bradley County residents to know the safety of our kids is top priority with the BCSO. We will continue to adjust and adapt to meet the need that arises.

As I predicted a few weeks ago, a number of our politicians have come up with knee-jerk, half-baked ideas to grab the headlines. Now, with that said, we still need a public discussion on how best to handle the “crazies” who commit horrible crimes.

Some proposals are being made that merit follow-up and more discussion. It is true there are a number of former military and ex-law-enforcement people, select teachers, and/or administrators in our school system who could be bonded and annually trained to be ready to respond to a crisis.

The potential for liability is great and must be addressed. Since we in law enforcement are the ones responsible by law for public safety, not teachers, any new laws will have to address some important issues. Do we allow people with handgun permits who do not regularly train for a crisis situation to carry them in schools, as some suggest? Or do we require them to be deputized, bonded and trained regularly, as it is required for our deputies and other law enforcement personnel?

I, personally, am for select people in our school system being deputized, bonded and trained to respond and/or assist our SROs in any crisis. This, along with new protocols in school safety, could very well deter crime.

I do not believe your average teacher wants the burden and responsibility of confronting armed killers. They are there as educators, and they do not want such a burden placed on them. Hopefully, it will not have to ever come to that in Tennessee.

Yet, just a few days ago we heard once again of the importance of having a firearm and being instructed in its use. A burglar broke into the house of a young woman with two children. Her husband had just taken her to a gun range a couple of weeks before her house and privacy were violated by this intruder. She shot the burglar and possibly saved the lives of her children and herself. So, I believe a few more select people in our schools armed and ready to assist SROs could potentially have the same effect in saving lives.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms for individuals, not just the military or law enforcement. It is part of our Constitution and was confirmed by the Supreme Court.

I am something of a gun collector. I have a large safe full of them. I respect them and any law-abiding citizen having them and/or collecting them. As I have mentioned several times before, I am a state-certified instructor on gun safety and have trained thousands to be able to obtain their handgun permits.

I have been shot at and missed, I have been shot at and hit and I still carry that bullet in me. I know firsthand the dangers of a firearm in the wrong hands. I also know of the sense of peace and safety that the ownership of a firearm and ... obtaining gun permits brings to people all around our nation.

I have been one of the fortunate ones all my life in that I have not been bullied, nor have I lived in fear of personal harm. However, I have seen that fear in the face of many and I have heard that fear voiced. Therefore, it is a personal goal of mine to eradicate that fear wherever I find it. “Let none live in fear” is very personal to me. That is the reason I teach the handgun safety class.

I take the Constitutional Office of the Sheriff very seriously and I have many responsibilities, which includes an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Tennessee.

To keep up with these responsibilities is the reason I speak often about the importance of priority funding for the BCSO. I have nothing to gain personally.

My pay remains the same whatever is funded.

We live in dangerous times and in times of rapid growth that are bringing many new challenges our way. To properly keep up we must be funded enough to keep our trained people and meet the new challenges we face.

Thanks for reading.