Sheriff's Office: Your help can make difference in a case
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Mar 24, 2013 | 1577 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Twenty years ago we had a shooting in the south end of the county. A known drug dealer was shot and killed.

The detectives began piecing the information together to find the killer, who ambushed the man on a little used road.

As the news of the killing spread, we received information from a county resident who lived on the north end and was just passing through this area. This person noticed a blue Honda following the victim’s old truck onto the side road.

This information corroborated other evidence the deputies had developed. The suspect was arrested and is now serving a life sentence in the state penitentiary.

Witnesses being willing to come forward and get involved helps to bring about justice and, also, helps the county save a lot of time on investigations.

People still help us often.

Some people will call and tell us about suspicious activity. Others will tell a deputy, in person, about their suspicions. It is like the Neighborhood Watch Program, neighbors watching out for neighbors.

We are asked from time to time to keep the caller’s name confidential. We honor the caller’s request. On the flip side, people try to use law enforcement to meet their own selfish ends.

In years past, people who were in a bitter divorce or custody battle would come by to make complaints. Their complaint would be their former mate’s new partners were abusing their kids.

Most of these type complaints would end there, when the deputy informed the complainant the investigation would be made, but if the report was false he or she would be arrested. Lying on an affidavit and/or filing a false report is now a felony.

It is very sad that some parents are so bitter they are willing to put their children through such misery. They do so to get revenge on an ex-husband or ex-wife.

One lady, who was having trouble with her grown daughter, came by to report her daughter had been kidnapped and was being held against her will. The distraught mother told the deputy of some of the problems she was having with the daughter. She told about her rebelliousness and that she would no longer do the things her mother wanted her to do.

Well, the more the mother explained their relationship the more the red flags came up.

A senior deputy explained the legal process, but the lady was not satisfied. The deputy then told the mother that if the daughter was really in imminent danger he would go immediately to kick the door down and rescue her daughter. He, also, told the mother that if she was lying there would be legal ramifications for both the mother and the deputy.

The mother recanted her story and admitted she was just trying to use the sheriff’s office to make her daughter come home.

We do respond to a number of false scenarios and spend time running down rabbit trails, because we are given false information. Yet, we are given a lot of good information that many times helps our deputies put together the crime puzzle.

Such information may appear to be insignificant, but often leads to other information that will help solve a case and get the perpetrator off the street.

Again, we get a lot of information from people who never have to testify in court. There are a number of old cases that are still open that can be, and are sometimes, closed through information received which helps us gain the missing piece or pieces to prosecute the suspect(s).

There are some crimes, even murders, that we have information on, but the main suspect has since died, so we cannot present the evidence.

Well, what if someone gives me information that a good friend, acquaintance or supporter is involved in a criminal activity? In that case, I feel the same way as one of our sheriff’s from years ago put it.

He said something like this, “I would be obligated to see if the accusations were true. If the accusations were false, I would be obligated to prove their innocence.”

Some investigations are very sensitive. The investigating deputy must walk very lightly at the beginning, until the evidence weighs heavily against the suspect. Questioning someone who might later become a suspect has the potential to scandalize a family or company. So, we do make a strong effort to protect the good name of the innocent, while ferreting out the guilty.

Thanks to all who have and who will share information and cooperate with your sheriff’s office.

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Thanks for reading.