Community relations and law enforcement
Election Day is right around the corner, and if you are like my wife Rosie, the end can’t come soon enough. While I’m somewhat of a political junkie and enjoy watching the process, I am also tiring of the nation coverage and ready to move on. Fortunately we aren’t in an election year here at the sheriff’s office so we can focus on 2017 and beyond.
One major topic of discussion during this political year has been law enforcement and community relations, more specifically minority relations. Unfortunately, these discussions are often clouded by the politics of a few organizations who have been given a platform by the nation media to convey their negative anti-law enforcement rhetoric, often inciting unrest and violence towards law enforcement officers.
With all the negative national press regarding law enforcement, and the false narrative that systematic racism exists within all law enforcement agencies, it’s more important than ever for us to continue to work towards improving communications with EVERYONE in the communities we serve - regardless of color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This means promoting positive one-on-one contact with the public thru community policing efforts and local events. It means continuing our School Resource Officer programs in all three school districts in the county. It means continuing to educate kids with our DARE program in all three school districts. It means being involved in charitable events that support our local community. It means supporting our volunteer Fire Departments and Ambulance Services at their various fund raisers and community programs. It means continuing to improve communications with the public - using tools like Code Red, Facebook, Twitter, and our great local newspapers. It means continuing to educate our staff on issues that are important to our community; minority relations, mental health challenges, addiction, and proactive and positive policing strategies. While we don’t face a lot of the complex challenges that the bigger communities face, that doesn’t make these issues any less important to our staff.
Communication is key to successful policing. My door is always open to any of our county residents interested in discussing issues or concerns within our community. While I always love hearing the positives from the public regarding our staff and their work, it’s equally important that county residents are comfortable enough to come in and share any criticisms or concerns they have about us as well. If I’m not in due to my schedule, Chief Deputy Leonhardt or Capt. Anderson would also be happy to talk with you. If they aren’t available, ask for the sergeant on duty. If you have questions specific to your community, stop and talk to the patrol deputy working your area. If your question is related to something in the schools, talk to our School Resource Officers. Our goal is for the public to be comfortable enough to approach any of our staff regarding their concerns.
The first step in making sure we are providing the quality of law enforcement our community has come to expect is to continue to build strong relations with everyone in our community - so we can work together to solve problems and issues that affect all of us.
The greatest measure of our success is the public’s satisfaction. This is not something we take lightly and will continue to work every day to improve. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns.
Make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Scott Rose has been sheriff of Dodge County since January 2015. His column appears in this newspaper monthly and is also available on the sheriff’s website in the sheriff’s blog section.