Lawless ready to be sheriff

Published 11:24 pm Saturday, November 1, 2008

When voters go to the polls Tuesday, they will have an array of choices for candidates in various races that will have impacts on their lives in one way or another.

Although the race for president is what is expected to drive large numbers of voters to the polls, they’ll have a lot to think about when they get there. Not just for the the highest office in the land, but for the ones right here at home.

And of those choices, perhaps none is more important than the one they’ll make for the office of Lawrence County Sheriff. With periodic reports across the nation of abuse of power and inappropriate conduct by law enforcement officers, it is important for a county to have a person who will direct the office in a professional, ethical and efficient manner.

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The public must have a genuine belief that a sheriff will uphold the law while being cognizant of civil liberties for all citizens — even those who break the law — and mindful that the responsibility to protect and serve falls squarely on his shoulders.

The Tribune editorial board believes that candidate is Jeff Lawless.

The current chief deputy has been groomed for the position by taking on more responsibility, which he has handled well. His ideas on the consolidation of 911 and the challenging financial situation make him the best candidate.

His opponent, longtime Chesapeake police chief Russell Bennett, has legitimate thoughts on reduction of jail expenses and reallocation of resources in order to put more deputies on the road.

But in the end, Lawless has shown an ability to handle the requirements of the position and perform the duties of sheriff in a way that will give the public the most important thing, faith in the agency that he would oversee.