Early voting starts October 20th. We have multiple uncontested candidates on the ballot but the Sheriff’s race is not one of those. There are three candidates running for this office. Aaron Ellenburg (R), Jason Weast (D), and Tony Roberson (U).
This has been a contentious race and doesn’t look to get any kinder in the next few weeks before the election. Many things have been said or implied about the candidates on social media. If you have any question ask the candidates directly. They will answer you. Your vote is yours to do with as you wish.
One concern that has been brought up in the past and is a concern now is the politicization of the Sheriff’s Office. Being a law enforcement officer is a very difficult and demanding profession and having to deal with the possibility of losing your job over your political leanings every four years is an unnecessary added stress to these trained officers.
Not to even mention how much we require our Sheriff to try to manage and handle. Our jail has been understaffed and incorrectly managed for years now. It has failed multiple inspections and many injuries, incidents, and even deaths have occurred there. It needs full time attention and an involved Sheriff in its operation. Just throwing more money at it will not solve the problems there. Being heavily involved in the safety of the courthouse is also demanding.
In years past we have seen the animal shelter and the 911 center moved from under the Sheriff’s umbrella. Would it be too far fetched to think that having a county police force would be more beneficial to the people of this county? No politics, no jail administration, no courthouse duties.
Other counties in the state have done this with very good results. It takes the politics out of policing and holds officers and staff accountable to county management. Officers will also have clear-cut direct representation and recourse with personnel issues. This would help assure the public that officers and administration would be held accountable for their actions and that the officers themselves would have proper steps to accomplish their training standards.
Doing this would allow the new Sheriff, whomever he is, to concentrate on the jail and the courthouse. The problems of the jail are more than enough for one man and his staff to get straightened out.
This would be an initial expensive outlay for the county but would pay for itself in time. The counties that have done this have been very happy with the results. It gives the Sheriff time to concentrate on the jail and courthouse, which are two very important things that desperately need his full attention.
It takes a legislative act to proceed with such an action but Rutherford County was grated that several years ago. All the commissioners really have to do is vote for it. It would not be an easy transition but one that would ultimately benefit not only the officers but the county as well. Guaranteeing to keep highly trained officers in their jobs with no fear of being removed every four years due to the political climate.
It is a way to build back trust in our community policing. The majority of these officers work very hard and deserve to be appreciated by the people they serve. They are here to protect and serve.
The time to act on this is now for the commissioners. With a new Sheriff coming in after twelve years if they are planning to transition now is the time to do it. If you feel that this is needed in this county please contact your commissioners and let them know. Call 828-287-6060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your concerns and she will get your message to them.
Let’s bring back “We the people” to our communities.