By Steve Pomper
This one just makes sense, doesn’t it? Oh, sorry. Let me back up; I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s just that logic coming from government always takes me by surprise. In the wake of the recent shooting in a Texas church and of the armed volunteer sentry who prevented a massacre, two northern Alabama counties are joining in a commonsense policy change.
According to PoliceOne.com, Sheriff Rick Singleton of Lauderdale County and Lawrence County Sheriff Max Sanders have changed their take-home patrol car policies, having had a very good notion. Currently, deputies drive patrol cars while on duty, to and from patrol shifts. With this new policy, the sheriffs are now allowing deputies the choice of driving their patrol cars to their churches on their days off.
This seems to me a rare perfect alignment of public policy and common sense. What could be a better initial visual deterrent to a potential mass shooter than to arrive and see a patrol car parked outside a church? Coincidentally, my daughter is student teaching at a high school. She told me she loves to see the school resource officer’s patrol car parked out front. I’ll bet the bad guys don’t love it.
Sheriff Sanders posted on Facebook: “This will be voluntary on the part of the deputy. Deputies, by virtue of their oath, always have certain duties to respond. This hopefully is another proactive/positive step in serving the citizens.”
Sheriff Singleton expressed similar sentiments telling WHNT he “felt it was a good idea” to have deputies who wanted to, on their days off, drive their patrol vehicles to church. He added he feels “It would help us keep our community and our county safer.” The sheriff also said he felt the parked vehicle would make someone “with the intent of doing something they shouldn’t be doing, hopefully, they’ll think twice.”
These days, it seems 90 percent of reports on law enforcement leaders showing true leadership on practical public safety issues are about sheriffs? Consider the current Second Amendment concerns across the country, particularly in Virginia, with law enforcement supporting their citizen’s constitutional rights. I believe it’s because sheriffs are elected while police chiefs are appointed. And, ironically, anti-police mayors and city councils appoint many police chiefs.
Still, I think there’s more to it. For instance, there are some sheriffs in counties, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, who are elected but they are in areas where many voters don’t appreciate traditional law enforcement. For example, both counties have sheriffs who refuse to cooperate with certain federal law enforcement, which is a shameful abdication of their law enforcement responsibilities and, as I see it, violates their oaths.
On the flip side, there’s Republic Police Chief Loren Culp here in Washington State. Chief Culp gave the Second Amendment sanctuary city movement a boost when, after working to declare his city a gun rights sanctuary, he stated he would not enforce the state’s new, in my (and Culp’s) opinion, unconstitutional gun law.
In fact, he wrote a book about his stance called: American Cop. Incidentally, Chief Culp is one of four Republicans now vying for the party’s gubernatorial nomination to oppose anti-law and order Governor Jay Inslee.
Detroit’s Police Chief James Craig also puts public safety above partisan political posturing. He’s become well known for his courageous position encouraging law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for self-defense. According to theBlaze.com, he offers this naked wisdom: “If the citizen is armed, they have a better opportunity of staying alive then [sic] if they weren’t.” Or when protected by another law-abiding person with a firearm.
Whether armed police officers, sheriff’s deputies, or law-abiding people, providing security at churches or schools, allowing armed good guys in churches and at schools—and other soft targets—is a practical answer to people who would do evil. And so is allowing law enforcement officers to park their patrol vehicles outside churches.
Americans are lucky to have sheriffs such as Sanders and Singleton in Alabama and police chiefs like Chiefs Craig in Michigan and Culp in Washington State who truly put the safety of law-abiding people first.