As I have received multiple questions lately concerning police policies, I wanted to take a moment and share some thoughts. Instead of focusing solely on policies, perhaps a better thing to focus on is the type of culture a police agency has. Culture, not just the organization’s policies, more often dictate the positive, or negative, interactions between police and the public. I believe that police leadership determines and dictates how police services will be provided to the communities we are sworn to protect and serve.
As such, I wanted to share with you some of the expectations I, as Sheriff, have of all members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. To begin, I want to share that we have an “open ears” policy – meaning that we are committed to listening to the concerns of the community and will do our best to incorporate feedback into how we provide services. We firmly believe that open two-way communication is the cornerstone to maintaining a strong community policing approach.
Our core values are honor, integrity, transparency, accountability and an unwavering commitment to treating everyone with dignity and respect. We expect that any observed, or otherwise known, incidents that don’t reflect the FCSO core values will be promptly reported to the Command Leadership including the expectation that should a value not be demonstrated, it is every employee’s responsible to intervene.
I believe that a culture of tolerance and equality starts at the top of an organization and is something that all levels of the organization must value and demonstrate. It is expected that every FCSO employee will treat everyone with which they interact with dignity and respect - always. I often think of how I would want my daughter, son, brother, mother, father, sister etc., to be treated if they interacted with a member of law enforcement and that expectation is what shapes our approach to dealing with the public. This has been clearly expressed as an expectation of the FCSO. We protect these values as an essential building block for creating positive long lasting relationships between the FCSO and the communities we serve.
A great example of how leadership positively influences employee behavior was reflected during a recent incident involving a runaway teenage female. Late last week, FCSO Deputies, after hours of work, located a teenage female who had been a runaway for a few days. Upon locating and taking the female into protective custody, Deputies learned that the female did not have anything to eat for a few days. Deputies stopped and purchased food for her. While at the FCSO as Deputies were enlisting social services, it was learned the female had not showered or changed clothes for days. Deputies took it upon themselves to go out and purchase a change of clothes for this young female and toiletries so she could shower. None of the deputies involved needed to ask permission to go above and beyond to assist this female. It should be noted that none of the Deputies, who spent their own money, would accept reimbursement from me once I learned of their efforts. Their actions reflect clear understanding of FCSO expectations to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Franklin County sheriff