To the editor:
I have been so focused on the presidential election I almost lost sight of what was happening on the local scene. In turning my interest to the local sheriff’s race, I can see a parallel to the race for the White House… experience vs. inexperience.
When I think of the position of Sheriff, I think of a qualified, vetted and experienced officer of the law. What I’d like to address is experience and qualifications.
Our current national and local street environment, which has seen the use of illegal drugs expotentially increase the risk of life and limb to law officers, is not likely to go away. As a parent who has seen his son incarcerated twice for his involvement with illegal drugs, this is a very important issue to me.
If I were in a position to hire or choose a county sheriff, I’d want to know about a candidate’s experience in true law enforcement situations. I’d want to know about the candidate’s most significant felony and misdemeanor arrest. I’d inquire about felony investigations the candidate had independently completed. When a person considers qualifications for a law enforcement officer, one assumes the applicant/candidate knows how to handle a firearm. The important point then becomes not if the candidate can handle a weapon but if the candidate has a keen appreciation and awareness of when to draw his/her sidearm. Only “hands on” experience in law enforcement situations provides this awareness of when to draw the sidearm.
In our current sheriff’s election, the incumbent is a retired Texas Ranger (no, Virginia… he did not play First Base). Basically, this means that he was already possessed of the requisite background and skills of an experienced law enforcement officer prior to applying for the Texas Rangers. His experiences and investigations while employed in the Rangers is more than icing on the cake.
Until Sheriff Bobby Grubbs assumed the office here in Brownwood, the office of sheriff lacked the legitmacy of deep and structured law enforcement experience and leadership. Sheriff Grubb’s opponent speaks of employee attrition during his tenure of the first four years. I personally know that Sheriff Grubbs sets very high standards for his deputies/employees and he leads by example. If a certain amount of departmental cleansing has been necessary… so much the better. His high law enforcement standards require committed deputies and jailers.