02/23/05 — Clipped comment: No training needed

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Clipped comment: No training needed

A state representative in Cleveland County is toying with the idea of running for sheriff. If successful in such a bid, Rep. Debbie Clary would become the state’s first female sheriff.

That doesn’t worry her a bit.

She was quoted in The News & Observer as saying, “It doesn’t take a six-foot-two, 200-pound man to be sheriff.”

Ms. Clary also contended that a sheriff didn’t have to “carry a gun or arrest people.”

In her view, a sheriff’s job is primarily administrative.

Obviously, Ms. Clary is not aware of how sheriffs have operated in Wayne County. Our sheriff wears a badge, “packs heat” and personally runs down fleeing outlaws.

But she might have made another point not recognized by many citizens. Since in private life Ms. Clary is in marketing and public relations, in all probability she is not certified to be a law enforcement officer.

Not to worry.

While the sheriff is the highest ranking law enforcement officer in any county, he (or she) does not have to be certified. That is the only law enforcement officer position a person can hold without having undergone any training whatever!

A few years ago, an effort was made to change this. But the proposal did not fly in the General Assembly. Apparently some politicians regarded it as an effort on the part of sheriffs to protect their turf.

In many counties, including our own, we have in years past had people elected to the position of sheriff with no background at all in law enforcement. Obviously, knowledge of glad-handing is recognized as more important than knowledge of handcuffing.


New definitions

From listening to TV commentators and reading big-city news accounts of the state and national political scene, one might feel it’s time to add to today’s glossary of politically correct terminology.

For instance:

A liberal Democrat is referred to as an Activist.

But a church-going conservative is an Extremist.

Published in Editorials on February 23, 2005 11:36 AM