Sheriff's Office: Anticipating the risk
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
May 05, 2013 | 891 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At your Sheriff’s Office, we are constantly evaluating the possibilities of threats to the peace and safety of all of Bradley County. This is done informally 24/7 by our patrol deputies as they cruise the streets and roads in everyday patrol activities.

This evaluation takes place in our corrections division as each corrections officer/deputy makes his or her rounds and carries out daily duties. Then, as the criminal investigators study a crime scene or review their many assigned cases, they too are informally evaluating ways to keep the peace and safety in their area of responsibility.

Often good ideas are shared with supervisors and others who bring them to me. Also at work are the senior staff members who hash out our policy and procedures. They also help me see that things are carried forward.

Everyone is aware of the paper trail that follows every incident. We review the process from time to time to create more efficiency. When our deputies are writing reports, that means there are two less eyes looking out for criminal activity. Yet, we will maintain the capability to shift our assets when emergencies or trouble arrives. We simply cannot afford to be set in our ways and not effectively get the job done.

I want to maintain our small town, neighborly attitude and bond with our people, yet still adapt to the latest crime fighting techniques.

I encourage each of you to get acquainted with the deputy that patrols the area where you live or work. If it is possible, talk to that deputy when he or she is in your area. Get their business card, tell them who you are, along with the times you are working and call them when you take a vacation. This is so they can check on your house or business while you are away.

I mentioned this probably a couple years ago that it is important to put a face on an organization. By knowing one of the deputies personally, it means that your Sheriff’s Office will be more user friendly. This is just another way to maintain the small town atmosphere.

These personal contacts usually bring opportunity for an exchange of information from the resident and the deputy. The deputy updates the resident on potential crime problems peculiar to that area, along with how to combat them. The resident informs the deputy on what he or she has observed in the way of unusual or suspicious activity.

That kind of relationship has gone on for years. A case in point is that I was once told by a resident that his mother-in-law had observed suspicious activity in her neighborhood. When our detective was informed of this, it confirmed the information he had already worked up. The informant here trusted me not to throw his mother-in-law under the bus for telling on her thieving neighbor.

We depend on this kind of good citizenship and goodwill. We are continuing to build a reputation of being tough on crime, firm in our law-enforcement efforts and fair in our treatment of everyone.

Law enforcement is not for the emotionally weak or those who are faint of heart. It is not for those who must always have everything “politically correct.” It “ain’t” gonna be that way.

Maybe in a perfect world, but that is not what we have right now. I have been cursed, kicked, slapped, bit, shot at and missed and shot at and hit, so I know better.

Even good folks get their nose out of joint sometimes. I probably could write a book about otherwise good people doing bad things from my days as a patrolman. But, you learn to put things in the proper context and move on to forgive and forget.

As I reflect on it, I believe it indeed takes a servant’s heart to survive the stress and, in the long run, enjoy a career of service. After all, that is what we are, public servants.

As a law-enforcement administrator, it is a part of my duty to recruit, hire, train, teach and retain those who have that servant’s heart, along with many other qualities needed to be a peace officer.

On a related note, congratulations to all of our graduating high school seniors as they finish a 12-year journey. I wish you well as you begin anew by going on to college or to the working world. May happiness and success follow you in whatever you do. There are a lot of exciting roads for you to take.

Welcome to the adult world and have a good life.

Thanks for reading.