Off into the sunset
As I wind down my 32-year law enforcement career and ready myself for retirement, I often reflect back on some of the highlights and sadness in my career. The loss of Deputy Randy Jennings, Deputy Bill Hunter and Lt. Larry Estes will forever scar our hearts.
We have been very successful the last four years, and I feel blessed and privileged to have been the 28th sheriff of Butte County. The citizens of Butte County afforded me the opportunity to move the Butte County Sheriff’s Office into the future. We called attention to a budgetary system that had been progressively going deficit for years prior to my administration and were successful in obtaining adequate funding to fulfill our legal obligations.
As you know, last year we finished $778,000 in the black, and for the first half of fiscal year 2002-03 we have expended less than 50 percent of our total budget. The dedicated and hard-working men and women of the BCSO have enabled this administration to accomplish more than we ever imagined. We were the first in the state to have an Aviation Harvest Security Program comprised of volunteer pilots. We were the first administration to apply for and receive the Department of Boating and Waterways Grant to enhance boating safety and enforcement with two grant-funded deputy sheriff positions. We consummated a deal that brought us three helicopters, one equipped with a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) and a million-candlepower spotlight.
We were the first in the state to use special video cameras at the patrol level to document domestic-violence and sexual-assault cases. We brought the Sheriff’s Office into the technological age with the advanced computer systems deployed in the jail, records and dispatch. Digital cameras were deployed in the Photo Lab/Investigation Bureau as well as on patrol. We obtained funding for and implemented the county watch system known as the Reverse 9-1-1 System that provides notification to all or portions of Butte County residents for emergencies, fires, disasters and child abductions. We oversaw the construction and implementation of the most advanced law enforcement 9-1-1 Communications Center north of Sacramento to the Oregon border, and we completed the remodel of the old jail.
We created and implemented the public information officer position so the media would have better access to the Sheriff’s Office and so the public could be better informed of our activities.
One should never lose focus that the Butte County sheriff’s employees are the ones who make this organization a great one. The sheriff is only the figurehead who decides the direction, goals and tenor of the organization. The competency and the quality with which those are carried out rest on these fine employees. I want to thank these employees for doing an outstanding job for this administration and for citizens of Butte County.
And I thank the citizens of Butte County for giving me the opportunity to serve you as sheriff. May God bless you and keep you safe each and every day.