In yesterday’s Laurinburg Exchange, a letter was posted from Mr. Robert Currie. While I usually enjoy reading Mr. Currie’s letters, this one is just almost beyond belief. In the very first sentence, he invokes the “race card” and tries to imply that every single criticism of both Sheriff Shep Jones and President Obama is strictly because of the color of their skin. While I’m sure that with some people, that is the case, it’s also true that both men have many supporters only because of the color of their skin. The race game works in both directions. President Obama isn’t on the election ballot this year, but his policies and failed leadership are and as the leader of our nation, the responsibility for what is happening in our nation falls on his desk. He asked for the job and campaigned for the job and it’s his responsibility to be be honest to the American people and address whatever comes his way. He promised the “most transparent administration in American history” and yet has been anything but. He gets criticized regularly for his lack of leadership and the scandals of his administration, but so did every other President before him and so will every other President that comes after.
But enough on President Obama. Let’s get to what matters most to the people of Scotland County and that’s our Sheriff, Shep Jones. Where shall we start? Shep Jones is the Sheriff and top law enforcement officer in Scotland County and has been in that role for the past 7 1/2 years. Thus when our crime rates continue to increase, the solvability rates continue to decline, and Scotland County rises to the county with the largest, per capitia crime rate in the State, it falls on his desk and is his responsibility. It comes with the job. Sheriff Jones has had his chance to address these problems and thus far, the only results have been more crime, more shootings, more murders, more drugs, etc. His plans and policies are not working and things are not better, only worse. Making excuses isn’t the solution and that seems to be the only thing that Sheriff Jones has been successful at.
Let’s move on to the Sheriff’s “exoneration” from the SBI Investigation involving money extorted from his deputies. The results of the SBI Investigation said that their were “no prosecutable offenses”, but it did not say that Shep’s hands were clean and nothing was wrong. Shep negotiated with a private company to arrange work for off duty deputies, but then required those deputies, as well as others at the Sheriff’s Department to “contribute” (I prefer to call it extort) a portion of their earnings to a hidden (slush) fund that he did NOT, as required by law, report to the County Commissioners. SBI Assistant Special Agent C.G. Caldwell even pointed out specifically that the sheriff’s office violated the state daily deposit law. And then Jones repeatedly claimed that the money raised by this unreported money was for county use, vehicle maitenance and for the benefit of Scotland County citizens. It sounds good, but the only ones who benefitted, as shown by receipts for liquor, parties, flowers (that were purchased at a florist shop owned by Shep’s wife) and jewelry, were Shep and a few of his close friends. Shep said that it was an “administrative error”, but he’s the Chief Administrator at his office and if anyone thinks that whole situation isn’t shady, they’re delusional and need to lay off that kool-aid for a while.
And when you add the mystery of the suddenly appearing magic police cars that Shep didn’t know anything about, but suddenly ended up in the parking lot at the Sheriff’s Department, the new scandal of over 20 deputies being forced to re-take their oaths of office and being reaffirmed because Shep didn’t know he wasn’t legally able to administer the oaths, his excuse for this being “I’m sure that there are other Sheriff’s that swear in their own officers”, the extremely high turnover of employees at the Sheriff’s Department, etc, there are far more questions than answers.
It’s not a race thing, despite what Mr. Currie would have everyone believing. It’s a competence thing and time and time again, Sheriff Jones has shown that he’s not the man capable of keeping our county safe and getting the crime rate down. If something goes wrong, he passes the blame instead of stepping up and taking responsibility for what has happened on his watch. Making excuses doesn’t get job done and thus far, it seems that all our current Sheriff has to offer… excuses.
Think about it, please…