Sheriff's Office: Taking the bull by the horns
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Jan 27, 2013 | 717 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those responsible for the processing and hiring for the various local companies will tell you that it can be a very frustrating experience. The reason is that many applicants falsify their job experience, education and recreational drug use.

When hiring a deputy, we do a rigorous background check that is followed up with a psychological exam, a medical exam and then a lie detector test. The applicant must then face a board made up of employees and sometimes a civilian to be evaluated by this give and take of an oral exam.

The problem is that, even with all of this scrutiny, there are some who get past these checks, who in time will fail as a deputy sheriff. It is always disappointing when you come to the conclusion that a man or woman cannot or simply will not uphold their sworn duty as a deputy sheriff.

Over the years some people were hired simply because of political patronage. Some underperformed for many years. In other words the taxpayer got cheated. Sorry, but I think that every employee should contribute to his/her job everyday. That should be the norm.

Well, from time to time it is brought to my attention that someone is not doing his/her job or that they are engaged in activity that is unethical or illegal. In some cases, where the action is minor, a verbal reprimand or days off without pay are meted out as discipline. The more serious cases may warrant termination.

Even our best people are subject to making mistakes. We can live with honest mistakes, but we can’t live with dishonesty. People who make a mistake and then lie to cover it up cannot be trusted; not now, not down the road.

Those people who cannot follow orders, written or verbal, are of little use to the Sheriff’s Office. This trait of rebelliousness can be dangerous to others when an order is not obeyed during an emergency.

A deputy is expected to bring his “best game” to work every day. The public expects it and his/her fellow deputies expect it, too.

As one who has paid his dues, I want a professional Sheriff’s Office in name and deed. I am not willing to “go along” just to “get along.” Let’s get it right and not compromise to mediocrity.

I wrote months ago about law enforcement being an easy target. Why would a lawyer take a case against law enforcement when potentially there is little or no merit to the case?

The answer is that the insurance carrier will very often settle instead of going to trial. It is cheaper to do that than to go through with a trial. It may cost $150,000 to go to trial and if the plaintiff and attorney filing the suit will settle for less, then that is a way to save money and time.

The merits of the case, right or wrong, have no real bearing. It is nearly always about the bottom line — money.

Law-enforcement agencies are considered easy prey, since the city or county they represent are believed to have deep pockets (that is, a lot of money).

Once in a while you will have an insurance carrier that will stand their ground, so to speak, and fight back and win. We as the insured have very little say in how the suit is handled.

I know that some may take issue with these facts, but check the record book, because therein lies the truth. It is for certain that the way things are, now, this sort of thing will continue. I want you to know that I believe in showing grace to all, but when it comes to compromising principles and integrity I draw the line.

We are presently training leaders for the Sheriff’s Office for the not too distant future.

One of the primary ways of doing that is to make sure they know how to follow before they are put into a leadership role. There are always some that refuse to follow and do what is right.

Thanks for reading.