Sheriff Ron Ridley
It seems that in this day and age that misinformation is often viewed as the truth and disinformation is deemed to be credible when it is the furthest thing from the truth. Career law enforcement officers know that the criminal element always works towards the destruction of the law enforcement mission. The better the law enforcement, the less likely the opportunity to victimize the community, so it’s in the best interests of those whose lifestyle involves criminal activity to use disinformation whenever possible to their benefit.
Unfortunately, disinformation does work sometimes because of the inadvertent creditability and sustainability that the good citizens of the community give to this segment of our society. When the good citizens of the community allow themselves to be caught up in the disinformation or misinformation that can be rampant at times it undermines the effectiveness of law enforcement, because even the strongest of officers will eventually become disheartened and will choose to leave. And why did they leave? Because it is human nature to want to be appreciated for the long hours and the hard work that you do, so they want to work in a community (and for an agency) that appreciates them. Job satisfaction is a key element in building a motivated law enforcement agency which can hire and retain high quality staff. The community has to make a decision if they want mediocrity in their law enforcement agency or whether they want a leader and a staff that strives for excellence in policing. The decision for the community comes down to do you want to look at the facts or believe the gossip and rumors? I for one prefer the truth.
I’d tell you that social media sites are typically not credible places to obtain information. While you might like to enjoy a cup of coffee at the convenience store or a cold beverage at the local tavern, good citizens must also realize that conversations that occur in these places are for entertainment purposes only; they are not a good source for credible information. Saying something does not make it the truth. People should always seek the truth before making important decisions, whether it’s about government, law enforcement, buying a car or what kind of charcoal you should buy for the grill.
For the record, the Hodgeman County Sheriff’s Office strives to be completely transparent. In doing so, I will answer any question that you might ask as long as it does not constitute a breach of confidentiality and does not compromise the status of an active investigation. All operational issues are open to public purview so we can receive appropriate feedback and provide the highest level of service to the community. We might have to research some questions, but the answer we provide will always be evidence based. Don’t rely on what you hear in the coffee shop or at the grocery store, it may not be even close to being factual. If you want to know something about the operation of the Sheriff’s Office, please ask and I will provide you with any evidence that you need in your search for reliable, credible information.
Finally, knowledge is power, ignorance typically yields only entertainment. While sometimes we all need to find a source of entertainment, it is always best to be informed when it comes to issues that directly affect the safety and welfare of your family, friends and neighbors.