From: Tom Lee
By now most Winona County residents are aware of the hotly contested race for sheriff. By my count five current deputies, all with considerable law enforcement experience, are competing for the position. My sincerest wish for this race is that it doesn’t turn into another beauty pageant. We are not electing a homecoming queen. We don’t need a Bubba or a regular good ole boy in the sheriff’s position.
The number of years of law enforcement experience a candidate has is only one of several factors to consider when deciding who to vote for. Perhaps more important is what the candidate did on the way to getting those years of experience. While chasing down speeders, busting druggies and breaking up bar fights are laudable and brave activities in their own right, it could be argued that other skills are necessary to run a sheriff’s department. As the chief law enforcement official of the county the sheriff should have the leadership skills to direct his staff efficiently and effectively. He or she should be able to manage a sizable budget. Some sort of past administrative duties would be useful background as would having the ability to deal effectively with the press and the public.
In my opinion the county sheriff is the most important law enforcement position in our nation. Other than attorneys general and prosecutors, the sheriff is the only law enforcement official in our nation that is elected. Think about it. The local chief of police, heads of the state highway patrol, FBI, DEA, ICE, etc. are all appointed by politicians. As an elected official the sheriff is his or her own boss, answerable only to those who elected them. They stand as a firewall against the whims of other politicians who would choose to direct the administration of the law to their own avail. So the next time you see a lawn sign or a brightly colored t-shirt touting someone for sheriff remember that you will be voting for the most important law enforcement official in the nation.