Let's see...Extortion, money laundering, bribery, firearms charges, and cocaine trafficking...Sound like a hardened criminal? Nah...It's just a Tennessee Sheriff from Bob Corker's town of Chattanooga.
Roane County does seem to have a good sheriff, for now, even though we have a Judge doing time and a killing at the Courthouse, to sully our reputation. Our local law enforcement officers do lose their jobs from time to time, like say when they get busted for DUI for the second time, although the charges themselves don't seem to stick and they may just get hired somehwere else. Other charges against local law enforcement seem to vaporize after a while, unless the officer happened to be messing around with someone's significant other. That complicates things for the mess-er and then having...say...a stolen trailer in the back yard gets him in trouble.
It probably comes as a shock to you folks that I have an opinion on all this:
I think we have too many cops!
What? I can hear you saying...Too many? What about the crime rate? Well around here, some bad cops are contributing to the crime rate and we need to get rid of those and spend more money in training and salaries on the rest of our officers.
How many of you regularly see two or three or even four enforcement vehicles surrounding some poor smuck who got pulled over for a traffic violation? It took four of them to give my kid a ticket for a burned out headlight, and I suspect most of you folks have similar stories, even though you won't go public with then for fear of retaliation. It's OK. I'm here for you. I'll wear the target.
So here is the deal. I figure it only takes one officer to make a traffic stop and there's no reason we need three of them patrolling a four mile stretch of Highway 27, or whatever. Cut numbers and use the money to increase training, oversight, benefits and pay for our enforcement officers.
With the low pay we have now, the officers we are most likely to encounter are enthusiastic, zealous, trained at minimum levels, inexperienced and raw. As soon as they have enough training to get a better paying job somewhere else, the ones that can, move on. I don't blame them. Around here, the hours are bad, the pay is low, and they get articles written about them just like this one. Our men and women in Law enforcement deserve better.
I say, "Raise the bar...Raise the Pay"