It appears that special interests have now found their way into government enforcement, by default. Legislators and other politicians, which can include a Sheriff, are being bought and paid for, as a means to make and enforce law that not only secures special interests, but that also secures revenue related to special interests. Blind enforcement of these special interest inspired laws, generally benefit the special interest groups themselves, at the expense of the people's fundamental rights, wealth and property ownership. A wise Sheriff must see this, and protect the people from this, by exercising Constitutional discretion, aka, taking the Oath seriously.
We must as a community take mental illness very seriously. Too many "criminal acts" are attached to mental illness. How does law enforcement approach a subject who has or is in the process of committing a criminal act, who may be a special needs adult? This is something very close to my heart as a father of a special needs adult. Of course in my mind, I am a bit biased, compassion and communication must come first. But this may not always work, depending upon the illness. Law enforcement has some good training in approaching adults with special needs, and I would like to take it higher, through more professional, sensitivity training. It weighs heavily in my chest when a special needs adult is "mistaken" as a subject in the "willful" commission of a crime to do "harm." I want to find a way to better balance the law enforcement and medical approach.
The Criminal Element:
Probably the biggest job of the Sheriff is dealing with the criminal element. This entails crime prevention and criminal investigations. Community policing is a very good source for criminal activity prevention, as this allows for positive relationships to be established between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The criminal element within our society is what incites the creation of many new laws, bad laws and government overreach, all in the name of crime prevention, and all in the name of good intentions, but at a cost. That cost is your autonomy. I do promise, however, that if you exist in Lee County, with the intent to do harm to another human being, to do harm to the property of another, to take what is not yours, that leads to the fruition of a criminal act, I will do everything within my lawful authority to find you and to bring you to justice. I know this may sound dramatic and even funny, but I'm not kidding! Criminal acts have historically been the primary cause for chaos in any society and they move governments to restrict liberties even further through the creation of new and egregious laws. A competent Sheriff can help minimize this in the county by balancing good law enforcement with a keen eye on potential exploitation.
There is a dark side to human nature, especially in government, which is the essence of why we have a Federal and State Constitution, to help control this dark side of human nature within government. James Madison argues this, saying,“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
It pains me to see so many, now, interpreting a return to centralized power as being progressive. We need a strong and wise Sheriff to not only protect people from criminal acts, to investigate and bring to justice those who commit criminal acts, to secure rights and to commandeer peace, but to be the first line of defense against government overreach. Overreach happens, for example, when government arbitrarily micromanages an individual's finances, requires permission to exercise one's fundamental rights, creates legislation to arbitrarily extract wealth, or benefit special interests, etc. This is where Constitutional discretion comes in, which is the essence of why the county residents elect their Sheriff. Government is always trying to make itself bigger and stronger, by way of becoming more centralized, which is the result of the dark side of human nature, I believe, all at the expense of the people's wealth and property rights. Again, a strong and wise Sheriff can help minimize this arbitrary growth of government in the county by simply taking their Oath seriously.
One minor thing I would like to do as Sheriff is install a small library in the jail. While residents of the jail await their day in court, they have the opportunity to read and explore various subjects. Reading is a fundamental means to move the mind. The right book at the right time just might turn a life around, for the best.
I would also like to manipulate the budget in such a way as to give an annual, possibly bi-annual, bonus to all the Sheriff's Office employees. This is something I strongly believe in. Teachers get a bonus, why not our law enforcement professionals? This can happen.
I would like to create a community based, oversight board to help assess and recommend legal, and/or disciplinary action if rights are allegedly violated.
According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), the leading cause of death amongst law enforcement officers is cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). If elected Sheriff, I will address this head on with physical fitness standards and requirements. Because, according to the CDC, nearly 80% of all cardiovascular disease events are preventable. Yes, preventable! This is a death statistic that we can change, together.