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Initiation by fire?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Henry Ford once said "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." I have always been fond of Henry Ford because of his dedication to hard work and the example he left behind of what can happen when people work together. Henry Ford was successful because he knew that working together with those who shared his ideas would accomplish more than he could ever hope to achieve on his own.

The first time I met with the Vernon County Commissioners I was jokingly told that the budget hearing would be "initiation by fire." I was also told on that first meeting to simply communicate what I needed to best serve the citizens of this county and that the commission would do what they could to provide for that need. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome to finalize a budget that would allow for a full-time bailiff, replace some vehicles that were becoming un-reliable, provide training, and still reduce some of the spending. What I found, however, was that the budget process was a great experience and the commissioners did exactly what they said they would do, They helped find a way to get what the Sheriff's Office needed to better serve the people of Vernon County.

With the budget process almost complete, there will be some changes instituted in phases over the next few months. First will be the addition of 24-hour coverage as I promised throughout the campaign, increased security in the courthouse, followed by an improvement to the appearance of the department as a whole. There will be a change to the uniforms worn by the sheriff's deputies and new graphics will be added to the vehicles that are not currently marked, and the graphics on the older vehicles will be updated as well; a new look for a new office. Next, will be the institution of new policies, which will ensure that each deputy has a clear knowledge of how to respond and handle calls of service to the citizens. Training programs will be put in place, from new-hire basic training to advanced training in specialized fields. I have always said the training an officer receives is a direct reflection of how the officer performs, so we will train, train, and then train some more. Finally, the deployment of operational procedures will take place. This will include daily plans for patrol in the "high-crime" areas, making sure that we are getting the most coverage from the number of deputies on duty (like having a car assigned to the north and to the south of the county when possible) and making sure that regular patrol checks are being done in the cities. There will be a lot of changes over the next few months and I look forward to working with everyone to make it happen, because after all, working together is success.



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