Public service and getting it right
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Aug 18, 2013 | 960 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is a lot of cynicism these days about politicians and politics. I would agree that this cynicism is mostly justified. The stereo-typical fat-cat politico is pretty much egotistical, self-serving and very paranoid about anything that mars his own self-image of importance.

But, after all the posturing and fanfare, what have they done to improve or even to maintain the quality of life for you and your family? You turn the radio onto a station to listen to your favorite music, but the deejay chatters on mindlessly. He thinks it is all about him. You on the other hand just want to listen to the music.

The over-ambitious newscaster tries to bring drama and suspense to his/her daily reports. Well-coiffed hair, latest styling in clothes and use of the best Mid-American accent they can conjure up is part the routine. Their actions, grimaces and smiles are all programmed to make them look knowledgeable, wise and glamorous. They think the news is all about the reader of the news.

You stop by for a hamburger and drink at the fast-food restaurant and the kid who is at the cash register continues his conversation with a co-worker and totally ignores the customers forming a line. He thinks that part-time, temporary job is all about him. He never thinks that he must maintain a certain level of productivity for the boss to make money.

My being sheriff is not about boosting my career. It is not about providing me a living. It is not about feeding by ego for having been elected to the office, although I very much appreciate the confidence that the voters have placed in me. I have been humbled by the vote.

Since being elected sheriff I have been both praised and criticized. Even my associates and some family members have been criticized and maligned because of my election. That goes with the job, but the point I want to make is that I still know that through the good, the bad and the ugly, being sheriff is not about me. It is about keeping the peace, seeing that people are secure in their homes and have a real sense of well being as they travel about the county.

I am aware that the policies that my administration implements have very much to do with the peace and safety of our community. The very image of a strong sheriff’s office lends itself to a good clean community. I believe these policies and our approach to county law-enforcement are very sound and will get the job done.

Along our route to the best law enforcement and safest county around there are always bumps in the road with unpleasantness and wrong-doing by certain individuals.

A sheriff has to have the toughness and grit to say no, even to those who think they are powerful. Yet, he also has to have the compassion to give a leg up to those that have no power, nor anyone to speak for them.

No, being sheriff for me is not about my job security or political enhancement. It is about what I do best, keeping the peace. It is for certain that what I have to do as sheriff sometimes ruffles people’s feathers.

Some of these ruffled feathers belong to elected officials, both current and former, along with a few ex-employees.

As I share my thoughts with our readers and speak of the needs of the sheriff’s office it is not intended to be a personal criticism of a particular person. When I have a personal problem, I have faced that individual eyeball to eyeball. I have never been shy conducting my business in a straightforward manner. I do it this way even when I feel the need to apologize to someone.

Some of my friends tell me that I am too blunt. Well, I missed the seminar on political correctness.

My projections are presented to inform the public of public safety needs and start a conversation on these proposals. I get feedback through personal contacts, through friends, deputies and sometimes e-mail or text messages.

Thus far, support has been overwhelmingly for these proposals and the tax payer is pleased with the sheriff’s office.

As always, thanks for reading.