JUNEAU — I would like to thank the overwhelming support that my staff and I have received from many in the public over the last few weeks. It is fantastic to hear so many positive statements showing support and standing behind us during these difficult times.

What is going on in our nation is very unfortunate and it seems that our country is now more divided than ever. While there are those whose objective is to be unifying and raise concerns surrounding real and perceived inequities, there are those out there who have chosen to take advantage of the situation by pushing personal or political agendas.

This last weekend I met with a young woman named Kaci, who is a representative of “All of us, for us.” I learned a little bit about this Black Lives Matter organization that she is a part of and their purpose:

“To get our voices out there and show that no matter our background and ethnicity, we do matter. Our voices will be heard.”

As I spoke with Kaci, we learned that our viewpoints are not very different at all. I feel confident in representing the agreement between us that there are overwhelmingly good people in this world. There are also bad apples in any ethnicity or profession. That includes white people, Black people, and law enforcement. We also discussed several law enforcement trainings and policies which allowed me to provide explanations, which I believe helped her and her team understand law enforcement’s perspective a little better. I, of course, listened to her and her team and took away some valuable insight as well.

We were also able to identify opportunities that I believe we can use to begin bringing opposing sides together. It is clear to me that education is needed and would benefit everyone, regardless of your viewpoint on current events. It is also clear that media on both sides of the issue have sensationalized the issue to “make a good story” and have made it very difficult to unify people behind the single cause of ensuring everyone is treated equally.

After my conversation with Kaci, I am excited that she is becoming active in our community. If you have an opportunity to meet her, please talk to her. She is reasonable, open-minded, and willing to look at different perspectives. She seems to have excellent leadership skills and I look forward to seeing the great things she can accomplish.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to talk about the men and women of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. Keep in mind that none of us are perfect, as everyone is human. There are times that they may make a mistake. When that happens, we take every step necessary to coach, train, and mentor them. There are also times that our staff need to be held accountable for their actions, and that does happen when needed. I hold every employee of the sheriff’s office to a high standard. Fortunately, they are a group of professionals that I trust my life with, and so should you. The professional manner in which they do their job should surprise no one. We do not tolerate racism, we do not tolerate unnecessary use of force, and we do not tolerate criminal behavior by anyone. I support my staff and am behind them 100%, as long as they are following the code of conduct and core values set for them. I will also support and defend the rights of all people afforded to them by our great country.

Thank you again to all of our supporters in the community and I ask that everyone consider the perspectives of others out there, just like Kaci and I did this last weekend. If we can work together and unite, we can make huge strides toward keeping Dodge County a safe and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit.

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