(photo courtesy Stuart Miles and freedigitalphotos.net)
I believe most of us share the opinion government should have a reasonable work ethic, standards, and knowledge of the job they are assigned. Having been a law enforcement officer since 1985 I have had opportunity to interact with a wide variety of many local, state, and federal organizations from virtually every state. Most often it is nice to see good people providing quality work and services to our citizens and community. At times there have been some situations where it really makes a person wonder what the heck is our government thinking or doing. I would like to share some of those unusual situations with you.
President Obama’s executive order for the removal of certain used military equipment from law enforcement agencies as it is “too militarized”. Ironically, many of those pieces of equipment provide agencies the ability to protect lives of their officers and citizens during extreme acts of violence. The media has shown us horrible murders of law enforcement officers and citizens across the country. We know our enemies easily enter our borders and live within many of our states. We know of groups and individuals who hate and want to kill us and our country. So why in the world would anyone sworn to protect our country and citizens remove the tools which may save many lives?
This same Executive Order has impacted our state and county. The LCSO has received grants from the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) for up to $9,000 annually toward purchasing a patrol vehicle. DPS cannot allow us to purchase a pickup for patrol as the Executive Order implies/suggests pickups are too militarized. We may purchase a SUV or a car, but not a pickup; unless we obtain special written permission from the Federal Government which is virtually impossible to obtain from the feds. We have a need for a variety of types of patrol vehicles such as cars and 4 wheel drives and I have yet to hear anyone comment that a pickup truck has frightened anyone.
The Missouri State Auditor’s Office conducts audits here every few years. While serving as sheriff and without naming who was the state auditor I would like to share this incident. One auditor had grossly offended some officials and employees at the courthouse so the state removed him from the courthouse and sent him to our office. One day I heard staff strongly voicing their frustrations and anger about this man’s actions. I quickly learned he accused our staff of falsifying a deposit slip. I checked the information and our staff was correct with their figures. The state auditor was completely wrong and actually had no chance of doing his job correctly simply because that auditor did not know the difference between a nickel, dime, and a quarter. We learned this man was an immigrant from a foreign country to and then through Canada to the United States. This auditor was extremely insulting to our staff and did not like a female having any authority. When we complained to the state auditor we were simply told we must not like diversity. Really?
A primary goal for every law enforcement agency should be to reduce and solve crime while keeping our citizens and officers safe. Unfortunately not every agency in the United States takes that approach as a few seem to intentionally withhold valuable information for unknown reasons.
Without giving names, dates, or locations, I have seen and heard of situations where a child dies or an unattended death occurs, other serious and violent crimes happens, threats to the lives of officials and officers is made, and even burglaries; yet virtually no information is shared, passed on, or even a heads-up given by that organization. When such an organization is confronted about the lack of professional courtesy and due diligence too often the truth is deflected and/or denied.
As citizens and professionals we have every right to have expectations at all levels of our government. As sheriff and with the Missouri Sheriff’s Association we have stood up and attempted to educate and insist on common sense, reasonable service, and safety at all levels of government. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office is here for the cause and we hope at the end of each day everyone in our community goes home safely.
Remember we are here to help you, your family and your friends. Be safe.