Words of advice for a sheriff’s first year

I don’t know who will win the position of sheriff. However, the day after the election the winner becomes the full-time manager of a respected law enforcement and search and rescue operation. We citizens of the county expect a highly professional, efficient and responsive organization. “Manager” is the operative word here. Therefore, I have some suggestions which I have gathered up over a long and similar career.

First, forget about the election: You work for all of us now. During the first year, get to know your operational people in a very detailed manner. Don’t purge anyone until you personally have determined on-the-job qualifications to perform judgement law enforcement under pressure. Communicate with us; find out our concerns. No public meetings, please. I want you to knock on my door and talk to my wife and my neighbors. We know where the problems may exist. Make no promises or give high expectations for solving them. Take a hard look at your budget and work closely with your administrative people. Don’t appoint an undersheriff for a few months or ever. They often diffuse important information which could come back to bite you. Allow your very capible lieutenants to act in the position while you determine the best course to take.

These actions should help develop a solid team with our best interests in mind. Loyalty is important but ability is even more so. The first year should find you spending long days and nights developing your team and astounding us with how well you are doing. Don’t forget, you will always have people who are vocal and think you are a bum but high quality professionalism will prevail. You will take a lot of hits, especially here, but never blame your people. You are the their leader and our protector. Stay informed. Good luck!

C.T. “Butch” Wilson