By Barry R. Goldman
Law enforcement isn’t about politics – it’s about public service, taking risks and saving lives. It’s about getting bad people off the streets, out of our neighborhoods and protecting our citizens, no matter who they are or what they believe. It’s about helping people.
The election for sheriff should be about choosing the candidate with the right experience, education, ability and stamina to manage a very task-oriented agency and do the right thing for our residents.
Each voter might consider him/herself part of a candidate’s interview committee. We get to decide who gets hired by a majority vote based on our own criteria of the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses and leadership ability.
My own criteria for the job might read something like this:
“I’m looking to hire a candidate for the CEO of a law enforcement agency that pays well, has good benefits, and requires adherence to a set of structured policies and provisions. The candidate needs good moral character and good sense to lead an organization of 600 or so understaffed and overworked employees, some of whom direct and control up to 1,500 inmates, many of whom are dangerous characters. The candidate must understand and relate to the dangers faced by subordinates. The successful candidate has management skills to see that tasks are assigned and completed, that customer service is at it’s highest level, and promises made are promises delivered. The candidate must be educated, experienced and forthright enough not to make pie in the sky promises resulting in under-delivery or sloppy execution.
“The candidate must have a vision and plan to make the organization increasingly successful.The candidate must be a straight shooter who can develop as well as execute such a plan taking responsibility for it, good results or otherwise. Excuses for poor past performance, dependency on others to do tasks, and political connections to enable the candidate to squeak by are undesirable traits.
“The candidate cannot be a fool or someone who can be manipulated by others with an agenda. The candidate must be able to take charge, make revisions as necessary, and live within a given budget. The most qualified candidate will have a truly positive, “can do” attitude and the least amount of baggage and questionable behavior in their past and present. The candidate must have sufficient experience. The candidate must operate under heavy criticism and have their answers and actions second guessed by the public, press and politicians on a regular basis.”
Law enforcement is about serving the public. The office of sheriff should be occupied by a person who understands the complexity of the job. It’s about officers or deputies taking a call and knowing that it may possibly be their last. It’s about fellowship, working together and knowing whom to trust. It’s about good times and bad, trying to minimize the hurt and damage that others have caused innocents, remaining professional, while at the same time emphasizing with the victims. It’s about preventing casualties and getting those who cause havoc to places where they can do little or no harm. It’s about being part of and supporting our communities.
It’s not about a “D” or an “R”.
Barry R. Goldman is a resident of Maricopa.