Sunday, March 12, 2006

Consequences of an Elected Sheriff

We must all live with the consequences of our actions, even if they are not foreseen. Changing to an elected Sheriff will have consequences too.

An elected Sheriff must, by definition, campaign for his election. The biggest vote count wins. Promises are made to obtain votes. If he doesn’t deliver on those promises, then the voters will remember and vote him out the next time around.

Where would a nominee for Sheriff need to focus his campaign (and promises) in order to win an election?

All of the citizens of Pierce County vote for Sheriff, despite the fact that the Sheriff’s Department only provides police services to unincorporated areas. The towns and cities provide their own police.

According to the 2000 Census, the population of Pierce County is 700,820, with 315,617 (45%) residing in the unincorporated areas, and the remaining 385,203 (55%) living in the towns and cities.

In order to win an election, the Sheriff MUST convince a very significant majority of Towners to vote for him. He can only do that at the expense of the rural citizens who rely upon the Sheriff as their sole law enforcement resource. Contrast this with the existing appointed Sheriff whose responsibility is to the rural citizens.

It is self-deceptive to believe that an elected Sheriff would be able to provide more services to the unincorporated areas of Pierce County.

What other consequences are not yet foreseen?

Rick Sorrels 11 March 2006


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