If you ask Nascar drivers they may explain it in a different way.
It is true that everything we do on this earth has two sides to it. On the one side of the issue there can be blessing and praise for the effort. On the other side of the issue there can be cursing, or derision.
It can be kind of like the old saying, “danged if you do, and danged if you don’t.”
Most of us hastily come to decisions of how we will judge a situation and how we are going to handle it. It matters not that we have very little knowledge of the facts; we will passionately defend our position anyway. Like the school nerd would say, “You should not enumerate upon your poultry before the proper process of incubation has occurred.” Or, “don’t count your chickens …”
We are changing the culture at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office as we adjust to the 21st Century law enforcement needs.
We are endeavoring to do so with men and women that have years of experience and seniority. For most of us we look at progress and change that comes with it with some misgivings.
Yet, we must continue to grow and allow our personal world view to expand and we must be open to new technologies and methods. We can do this without compromising our core values. We can, also, keep those old fashioned methods that work, such as using common sense and wearing out shoe leather, as we do our work.
Under-funding, prejudice, greed, self-serving attitudes, political correctness, and apathy are some of the things that are the enemies of good law enforcement. As an observer and a participant in keeping the peace in Bradley County for almost four decades, I have learned it is a continuous process to know what is needed to keep our neighborhoods and streets safe.
Our best defense against the proliferation of crime is an educated, trained force of men and women that are motivated to be proactive everyday they come to work. As the leader it is my job and the job of those in leadership positions at the Sheriff’s Office to keep morale high and the troops motivated.
The heat (friction) will increase as we gain traction. Where there are traffic infractions that endanger the driving public or our children we have to issue those high dollar tickets. I hate traffic tickets. I never liked to write them when I was a patrolman, but most of the chronic speeders will not slow down until they receive one or two tickets. The warning tickets that we issue will not work with these people.
We make a lot of arrests after stopping people for traffic violations. Many times they are wanted for other crimes, they have violated probation / parole, they are carrying drugs or sometimes they are in possession of stolen property.
It is illegal to profile people and use that as a basis for stopping them. For example, you spot a 30 year old, white male, with rotten teeth, who is very underweight, has a dirty, disheveled look, a blank stare and is driving a junk car. Well, just because he has the look and the actions of a meth head, you can’t stop his car. He has to have made a traffic violation, or you have to have probable cause he has committed an offense in which he can be arrested without a warrant.
In the example above, according to federal law, just because he walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is a duck. We must have a legal reason when making a traffic stop. We can be very aggressive in our pursuit of enforcing the laws without infringing on anyone’s rights.
The other planners and I at the Sheriff’s Office must put forth policies and strategies that will repress criminal activity and put lawbreakers in jail.
Our strategy is to build a strong law enforcement presence to protect our people from harm. We are trying to do this one building block at a time. One of the building blocks, which I see as the most important one at this time, is to bring our deputies to parity in pay. Other strategies that we have implemented are looking good already.
We have a great deal of training, education and institutional knowledge wrapped up in these employees at the SO. As the executive in charge, I have asked the county commission to fund the budget to put this building block in place. I have mentioned this before, that county law enforcement has never been a priority when it comes to funding.
We have been lucky so far.
I am not given to exaggeration or grand-standing, but we must take some measured steps with our law enforcement strategies now or we will be overwhelmed by the lawless element and the growth that is coming. We are already seeing these low life criminals moving here and trying to get a toe hold here, as they have in Chattanooga for years.
Some citizens are angered when this type of information is publicized.
Some folks are in denial. A small group has their own agenda in keeping law enforcement weak. This group will loudly proclaim that this will cause taxes to go up.
Let me answer that right now; the proposed law enforcement budget we are presenting will not cause taxes to go up. It is very similar to last year’s budget requests.
As I mentioned early on, to get traction we must first have friction. I am a peace loving man, but I guess, at times, I have to risk that possibility.
On a lighter note, it seems our county commission has listened and they have remained open-minded toward our preliminary budget presentations.
I appreciate their interest in professional law enforcement.
Thanks for hearing me out once again.