We all live in scary and dreadful times. Too often when we listen to or read the news, we learn of another school shooting somewhere in the United States. These tragic events are becoming more common and NO community is immune from this becoming a headline story.
The Columbine High School shootings along with the highly publicized media attention caused law enforcement agencies throughout the country to revise their policies, training, and response to combat these life-changing events. The evil acts caused by two deranged individuals back in 1999 left the community of Columbine, Colorado, as well as our country, changed forever.
I am a firm believer in prior preparation and ready-response deterrence towards any possible ill act that our community may face. It is complete ignorance and lack of sworn-duty to assume that our community and especially all of our public schools are immune from such tragedy.
The unnecessary risk lies anywhere that there is a lack of highly-trained protection (i.e., law enforcement, SRO). Although deputies have been placed in some of Henry County schools, commonly referred to as School Resource Officers (SRO), they should be in ALL schools.
When an active shooting takes place, time is of the essence—seconds means lives. For example, if an active shooter enters a school and opens fire, and there is no officer present, then by the time officers do arrive, it will be too late, and many lives lost unnecessarily. Any schools that do not have a permanently assigned deputy is taking unnecessary risks and shows a lack of responsible leadership.
The FBI and other highly respected and resourceful expert sources have proven that “seconds means lives!” The faster a gunman can be confronted by another armed person in an active shooter situation (i.e. law enforcement) the more lives that can AND WILL be saved.
In the majority of active shooting situations, the gunman will cowardly take their own life before facing a highly-trained, armed person. However, regardless of the number of lives lost or injured, all of those victims, their families, and the community as a whole will remember that event and be forever changed.
I have three beautiful children and I know from experience that the loss of a child is a devastating event that will change a parent’s outlook on life and family living. I cannot, nor do I ever want to live through any incident that caused the loss of innocent lives that fell under my watch and responsibility!!!
As your Sheriff, I vow and promise this: I will personally hand-pick a seasoned, highly-trained deputy to be placed in each and every public school throughout Henry County.
Another quick point that I would like to make regarding SRO’s, not only are they invaluable to the safety and security to their assigned school, they also can be a positive role model, especially to potentially at-risk students who may not have anyone to look up to or to mentor them. Therefore,
I have seen many lives changed for the better through the love and support shared to students as they grow up through many difficult and challenging times throughout their young lives. This is yet another reason that I feel it is of utmost importance for SRO’s to be well seasoned and highly trained. It takes a special deputy that can be sincere and compassionate when required yet ready at all times to face evil alone if evil should ever enter within their domain. SRO’s should be viewed as elite officers who are the best of the best because they alone are responsible for protecting and mentoring our children, who are our future.
As your Sheriff, I will give the citizens of Henry County my dedicated and loyal service and I will constantly strive to be proactive and to protect in a manner which is professional and ethical. I will set the bar high for those that I lead and will expect nothing from the men and women under my command that I am unwilling to do myself. As a community leader, I will lead by example. I will also expect to be held to the highest of standards by the citizens of Henry County because they should expect and demand nothing less.
This is to bring awareness, not panic to the citizens of Henry County. I think it is very important as a responsible leader and candidate to bring ideas to the forefront that should have already taken place under the current administration but HAS NOT.
In discussion with some of my strong supporters, I was advised not to post any of my ideas too early in my campaign, for fear that they would be adopted by the current administration of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, as was done in past elections.
Photo by Steve Austin.
“Although deputies have been placed in some of Henry County schools, commonly referred to as School Resource Officers (SRO), they should be in ALL schools.” John Cassell
The Drug Problem
Drugs are everywhere.
The following is my response to a question that two citizens recently asked me. The question was in regards to how I would deal with Henry County’s drug problem when I am elected Sheriff. As you can see this question and my response is not a simple topic…
The issue with the drug problem is not an easy task at hand in explaining or how it should be combated. Just about every crime can be related to drugs in one way or another and since the early 80’s when the great President Reagan declared a “War on Drugs” early on in his political campaign years, we all in the U.S., have tried to fight drugs. I know from experience, from working many years within the Vice Division and as an undercover officer, drugs are in every neighborhood and drug deals and drug use are going on everywhere (i.e. public parking lots, side of the road, neighbor’s house, department stores, etc.) you name it, I’ve seen it.
It is naive to think that there is an easy means or even a guaranteed solution to combat drugs. I know and understand the crisis that we all are in when it comes to the evil of drug abuse. When I worked at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, during my last few years before retiring, I suggested and implemented the Medication Drug Drop-off Box at the office. It had become such a huge issue with the annual drug-take program that the DEA sponsors once a year with Henry County and surrounding areas. This is a program that the DEA implemented and promotes all across the country. Each time we would collect hundreds of pounds of unused medications, with no questions asked, so that they can be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
Luckily after I did some research I discovered that CVS Pharmacies just started to implement their drop box program and I contacted them and the program was started at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. I remember before I retired last October, I would collect on the average about 40 – 50 lbs. of unused medication twice a month.
Prescription medications are just one part, and although I believe the drop-box is helping a great deal, there is not one clear answer or solution. As Sheriff, I am going to continue to work hard on locking up and harassing drug users, abusers, and dealers any and every way I legally can. This will take the continued support and cooperation of working with other surrounding jurisdictions (because drugs are not restricted to any borders/lines) as well as the federal government so these repeat offenders and drug kingpins can spend a long time away from home and away from good, honest citizens serving out their sentence in federal time (85% for felonies, instead so often by state sentencing guidelines calling for probation or a lesser sentence). This is one reason why it takes so long for a big bust to take place because operations are being conducted to meet certain federal guideline requirements and another BIG reason, especially in the sheriff’s office, they will use the political tactic of saving all of their investigations for a timely round-up and announcing all their big operations at the time during the election year.
This is one benefit that the sheriff’s office has over anyone trying to run against an incumbent sheriff. You will start to see the media used a lot more here, especially since there are already known candidates running. I say this to explain your question about the “one big bust” is not enough.
I would also reach out to the community for much-needed support as the eyes and ears of the community. Combating drugs cannot successfully be done by one entity, it requires the WHOLE COMMUNITY!!! We all have to stand up against drugs and the public has to have the confidence and feel safe that they can step forward and report their concerns to the Sheriff’s Office.
The main reasons that I have heard from many citizens are that they don’t report much of anything to the sheriff is because he usually can’t be reached, even if you take the time to see him in person at the office.
As Sheriff, I want to be known as the “People’s Sheriff,” back to the days of Sheriff James Rogers, who in my opinion, was like many other well-respected leaders who sincerely cared for the people, not put on a show or perceive a good guy image. I want to be known as a man that became a leader that sincerely cared about others, before himself, and I am a man of doing, not talking!!! Ask anyone that knows me, I am a man that is determined, focused, caring, and hard-working.
Lastly, I would like to mention that education and constant continued support is needed for our youth as well as the ones that are under the powerful addicted effects of drugs now. Once you are addicted, either physically/mentally or both, it is a tremendous battle to fight for years to come. I know because I have helped many people and it is in every family, no matter what sex, race, or economical difference. So to combat drugs for our future, we all have to start at home and through education.
“Just about every crime can be related to drugs in one way or another.” John Cassell
What it means to be “Sheriff”
The Sheriff is responsible for the office which of course is making sure his department is doing everything possible to bring offenders to justice.
I have always led by example and just as I hope I will prove through my campaign, I am a man of action, not excuses. I have always had a strong commitment to the law enforcement profession as well as being a servant to the public.
To me, being the Sheriff does NOT mean having more authority, instead it means having more responsibility. One thing that I would like to bring forth that the majority of the public may not be aware of, is that the Henry County Sheriff’s Office has had over 30 deputies leave within a relatively short period of time (last 17 – 18 months) due to the leadership within the current administration or should I say lack thereof.
For you, the citizens of Henry County, this should be huge because the Henry County Sheriff’s Office is only a 125 sworn department and by losing over 20% of your work force within a short period of time it has a tremendous negative impact on case work and ultimately public safety.
Prior to my retirement in October 2017, I personally met with Sheriff Perry and spoke with him in detail about the low morale within the department, the inconsistent office policies, and the constant abuse of power. All of these factors have contributed to the current situation at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. However, might I add, that these problems are longstanding problems, they did not just come about. It appears that Sheriff Perry, until recently, wasn’t very concerned about the morale in the department nor was he concerned about the loss of personnel, which directly affected morale.
To the citizens of Henry County, I have just laid out for you a couple more reasons why change is needed and necessary. A VOTE FOR ME IS ACTUALLY A VOTE FOR YOU!!
My philosophy on leadership is based on two simple, yet effective things that I learned many years ago while serving in the Army. First, take care of your people and they will take care of you. Secondly, lead by example to a higher standard!!! If you TRULY care about your people then they will know it and they will follow you through thick and thin!!!! However, this MUST be sincere and NOT at a convenient time for the leader OR your people will see right through the leader’s political tactics.
I mentioned in my last interview that over 30 certified, trained, and seasoned deputies have left the Henry County Sheriff’s Office within the last 18 months. I also provided what Sheriff Perry’s response (low pay and public’s perception of law enforcement) would be to explain why this has happened. As I continue on through my campaign, I will provide the citizens of Henry County the real reason why so many have left and why it has a traumatic impact on the services and safety to Henry County residents. I pledge to every Henry County citizen, as well as to every Henry County Sheriff Office employee, that I will fight to bring forth the truth and make the Henry County Sheriff Office AND Henry County a much better place to live and work.
It’s Time For a Change Henry County!!!
Authority vs Responsibility.
“Over 30 certified, trained, and seasoned deputies have left the Henry County Sheriff’s Office within the last 18 months.” John Cassell
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