Letter to editor: Make 'Wise' to choice to lead sheriff's office

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

A wise person once told me that one of the most important skills in our ever-changing world is good leadership. Anyone can claim to be a leader. Anyone can make promises. However, TRUE leadership requires the ability to create a vision and see it through, to effectively communicate with your peers, and recognize the needs of your department and implement the answers to those needs in a fiscally, ethically and socially responsible manner.

Soon, the citizens of Henry County will have the ability to change the vision and focus of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) with their vote. As a former employee of the HCSO, I can tell you first hand that the department is long overdue for change.

Under the current administration, there is a lack of policies and procedures, which in turn leads to inconsistency in training and discipline. The need for written policies and procedures was an issue discussed before I left the HCSO 3 1/2 years ago, and it is still an issue that sits unresolved today. Failure to have standardized policies and procedures leads to chaos and discontentment.

As a citizen, I feel the current administration and sheriff have the HCSO operating as a reactive agency. A call is received for assistance, and a deputy responds. The sheriff’s “stationary patrol” order fails to keep deputies out patrolling our county, looking for crimes before they happen.

In addition, there is little (if any) enforcement through education and presence at our schools. Our children need to see and experience the wonderful deputies employed by our county. They need to see them in a positive light and have a positive experience with them so that as they grow older, they have respect for police and the knowledge through education that a police presence is not always a negative thing. This comes with a proactive agency. An agency that seeks out grants and funds available at the state and federal levels to see such programs come back to life. An agency that works alongside our schools to teach kids about internet safety, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and how to protect themselves and their friends.

Lately, I have read (as most of you have also) about the financial woes of the county and how the sheriff plans to meet the budgetary restraints placed upon his office. If you are not happy with the solutions being considered, which include possible layoffs and reduced services, you need to realize that these solutions are coming from the sheriff and his current administrative staff. These are real solutions being pondered. Do you want to go to bed at night knowing our county, its people and its property lie unprotected or less protected?

As a former dispatcher with the HCSO, I had the privilege of working alongside Democratic candidate Tim Wise for almost six years. Tim is nothing short of professional, dedicated and respected. He has a rapport with the citizens of Annawan, and he has an impressive show of support throughout Henry County. I can tell you, for me he is the WISE choice.

I will leave you with this. Five qualities of a good leader: Good leaders know themselves, good leaders are committed, good leaders know they don’t know everything, good leaders are open to change, and good leaders are willing to go the extra mile. Tim Wise will be a good leader. He is the future of a positive change for the HCSO. The only question that remains: Will you make the Wise choice for Henry County? I will.

Christine Noble, Andover