Monday, April 12, 2010

A Message from Sheriff Candidate John Tyson

There’s an old saying that in order to tell where you’re going, you have to look over your shoulder now and then to see where you’ve been. I believe it’s true. I also believe its how you acquire wisdom and vision.

I have a vision for the Storey County Sheriff’s Department. And that’s to make it an agency that everyone can be proud of. It is not an idle boast.

When I first came to Virginia City in 1981, as a former police chief and professionally trained police officer, I was hired by the sheriff at the time to take care of the back country as a ranger.

But the closer I got to the inner workings of the department, the more I realized that something was very wrong. People who were born and raised here were seemingly above the law. There were several incidents where I learned that lesson the hard way. There were persistent rumors of corruption and unlawful activity. Officials from other agencies warned me not to get involved in the department. It became increasingly apparent that the Storey County Sheriff’s Department had the preverbal black cloud hanging over its head.

Equipment was antiquated, and training was none existent. And as time went on, things got worse. An untrained dispatcher began running the department, which in turn forced the line officers to join the union for protection. I watched, and I listened and I learned..

The situation improved when a new sheriff took over. The computer system was upgraded, and newer vehicles were made available. The department took a step upwards. But the under sheriff was caught in a home invasion, and was allowed to stay on the force. The department became a laughing stock with other agencies. Once again, the department was the focus of ridicule and embarrassment.

The next sheriff took the department into the 21st century. The department gained new vehicles, a new dispatch center, jail upgrades, continued training. The officers were overjoyed to say the least. Again, I watched, I listened and I learned.

But now, the situation has changed. There is turmoil inside the department. More than two dozen officers have come and gone in just three years. There is apparently a lack of trust between the administration and line officers. There are lawsuits pending, and union grievances against the administration which also are pending.

The point of all this is, after all these years of looking over my shoulder, I now know where I am going. This is why I’ve agreed to run for the office. And now the choice for a sheriff you want for your community is up to you.

You can benefit from my years of experience and the vision and wisdom I’ve gained from it; or you can choose someone who’s been here only a short time, and is supposedly being blamed for the discourse inside the department now.

Law Enforcement administration is not rocket science. It is the sheriff’s job to give his officers the training, the tools, and most importantly, the confidence to do the job of protecting and serving our people and our communities. It is equally important that they adhere to strict policies that prohibit harassing or heavy handedness.

The sheriff also has the duty to listen to what his constituents have to say. Protect and serve is not just an idle phrase. It really does mean something.

The sheriff you choose must have the wisdom and vision that only comes from watching, and listening, and learning. That is why I sincerely believe I’m the right person for the job.

I’d appreciate your vote on June 8th.
John Tyson

No comments: