Sheriffs’ words: Hood River County arrests the rhetoric

Notably, 32 of the 36 Oregon county sheriffs have not written dramatic letters this month on the subject of gun control.

Thankfully, Matt English, Hood River County’s new sheriff, is among that reasonable majority.

So soon on the job, it might have been a tempting invitation to join the blowhard bandwagon initiated earlier this month by Tim Merrill, sheriff of Linn County. As of Tuesday, the sheriffs of Linn, Crook, Coos and Curry counties have all signed a letter to Vice President Joe Biden stating that “(a)ny federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders” of their counties.

English said no such letter is forthcoming from his office.

(For more on English’s views on President Obama’s proposals on gun and ammunition regulations, and other steps to curb violence, see Ben McCarty’s page A1 article.)

Most law enforcement professionals will tell you that one factor in a defining a successful career in the field is never having to shoot your weapon.

Since sheriffs are elected officials, and thus politicians, another way to look at that is to say that a successful sheriff’s tenure is one where you never shoot off your mouth.

But certain elected officials in badges have emptied their holsters way too soon and helped aggravate an already heated topic.

We give Matt English credit for doing as his more even-tempered colleagues have done: simply pledging to continue to do their job and protect all citizens’ rights.

It helps our county feel like a safer place knowing that this law enforcement agency adopts a patient approach, arresting the rhetoric.

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