Does wearing a uniform give you preferential treatment?

by | July 2, 2018 9:09 am

Dear SpartaLive,

I’m sure that most people (liberals and conservatives alike) would agree that EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s blatant misuse of his power and position for personal gain (paying just $50.00 a night for a DC condo, $130.00 fountain pens, flying first class, a $43,000 sound proof booth for his office, etc.) is downright disgraceful. Public servants should never feel that they have a right to perks and privileges, simply based on the position they hold. We shake our heads at some of the things that go on in DC, but I’m sad to say, this past week I witnessed something similar right here in White County. Granted, it was on a much smaller scale but it was, nonetheless, an abuse of power and position. I’m not mentioning anyone by name, as this is not an effort to point the finger at any one individual or individuals, but rather to identify a problem.

Approximately one week ago a small dog was brought to the White County Animal Shelter. The person who dropped the dog off said it had been running loose in his neighborhood for several weeks. Despite his best efforts to locate the owner, no one claimed the dog. So as a last resort this Good Samaritan brought the dog to the shelter. Like every dog brought to the shelter this little gal was vaccinated, de-wormed, photographed and treated for fleas and ticks. The shelter manager posted her picture on the shelter’s Facebook page, and also searched several “Lost and Found” websites to see if anyone had reported the dog missing. She also posted the dog on numerous adoption web pages in the hope of finding her a home.

On Wednesday, 27 June, an officer from the Sparta City Police Department called the shelter to say he wished to adopt the dog. He mentioned that he knew the original owner, and wanted to give the dog a home. The Shelter Manager explained the process for adoption, which includes that fact that, in compliance with TN Code Annotated 44-17-502, all shelter dogs must be spayed or neutered prior to being released to an adopter. Apparently this gentleman didn’t feel that he should be required to follow these guidelines…he wished to take the dog immediately, UNFIXED, despite the fact that altering prior to adoption is THE LAW, and that every person that adopts from our shelter is required to abide by this law. (He did say that he would get the dog fixed after adoption.) When he didn’t get the answer he wanted from the Shelter Manager, he proceeded to call an elected government official who sided with him, and in essence ordered the Shelter Manager to release the dog, unaltered, and trust that the dog would eventually be spayed. Rather than standing up for what is right this official chose to side with the person who wanted to be treated “special.” I have several theories as to why this decision was made, but won’t go into it at this point. (But for some reason, the term “good ole boys” keeps popping into my head.)

To add insult to injury the police officer showed up at the shelter around noon IN UNIFORM, in his official government vehicle, accompanied by a White County Sheriff’s Department Deputy…also in uniform and in his government vehicle.   I have to wonder why the police officer felt the need to bring a deputy with him. The only thing I can think of is that he wished to show the people at the shelter just how much pull he has in this county. If it was an effort to intimidate, it didn’t work. Then again, perhaps he feared that the two senior citizens (I was one of them) who were volunteering at the shelter that day posed a threat. Who knows…whatever the reason I’m sure the deputy had better things to do to earn his paycheck, than provide “an escort” to someone adopting a dog.

Don’t get me wrong…I love the fact that someone wanted to adopt this little dog. Those of us who volunteer at the shelter rejoice every time one of our precious dogs finds a forever home. But there are rules, and the rules are made for everyone. Would it have been so hard for the gentleman in question to do what everyone else does…wait a few days, and then pick up his new dog after she was spayed?   Or would it have been so hard for the elected official to do the right thing, and back up the Shelter Manager…who happens to be one of the hardest working employees in the county?

No one supports law enforcement officers more than me. I’m a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, who proudly wore a uniform for 24 years. So when I see someone in uniform disgracing that uniform by demanding special treatment, or attempting to intimidate others with a show of force…well that’s just not right.

Monica Jicha            

 

comments » 8

  1. Comment by Jeana Hill

    July 2, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Isn’t it funny how some people think they are supposed to get special treatment? Thanks Monica for letting us know how one of our city officers got around the law and didn’t have to obey it. He should have been the first one to uphold it. Shame on this whole situation.

  2. Comment by Concerned citizen

    July 2, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    The officer did not wish to “adopt” the dog. The dog was already his. It was given to him by the previous homeowner. The dog got itself loose. Since it was his dog, it seems to be his own choice if HIS DOG gets fixed or not. It also seems that, by refusing to give someone their property then that means you are illegally in possession of said property. Which is theft. I believe the other officer was with him not as a show of force but because it was being investigated as a theft. I dont like abuse of power either. So abusing your power as if you own and control every animal in white county seems a little excessive as well. I dont know the circumstances but if i was given a dog that i intended to breed or whatever was the purpose and the dog got loose then some woman told me what i had to do with my own dog i would be extremely angry and file a theft report. Just my two cents. Im sure the officers have both filed reports on the situation and those are public record. Feel free to pick one up. But it also seems that someone who takes care of animals does a little less work that the officers who get threatened, assaulted, cursed at, and could possibly lose their life every single day.

  3. Comment by J. Robinson

    July 2, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Unfortunately, this attitude from the officers and the local government doesn’t surprise me at all. I have seen too many examples of this kind of behaviour in our county, to recall them all. Thank you Monica for being brave enough to write this letter and thank you Expositor for printing this letter.

  4. Comment by Another Concerned Citizen

    July 3, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    How did the shelter get the dog? And who stole said dog? Where can the reports be picked up?

  5. Comment by Like It matters

    July 5, 2018 at 11:48 am

    I believe, according to the story, that the officer was not already the owner. He had known the PREVIOUS owner and wanted to adopt him. Which is wonderful. Having said that he still should be held to all the laws and standards we are. Whomever he called should also be looked into if they felt they alone could over ride the law and also had the authority to order the release of the animal. Most of us automatically go into a certain type of behavior when we see a uniform. Most people in uniform head to go the extra mile to earn it so they deserve our respect. In return they should also be held to higher standards because they are role models and represent our city, state, or country. When they break the law or want preferred treatment it sends a lasting message. No wonder most people distrust government agents, representatives and police.

  6. Comment by R Robinson

    July 5, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    This will be further investigated and if Monica is correct (and she was present during this debacle)…the dog did NOT belong to the “officer” who insisted that he take the dog against the intent of Tn Law. We will get to the bottom of the situation and who made what calls. It is important that the facts prevail and they will. The shelter manager is faced with daunting duties that take a toll every single day on her, the animals, the citizenry.

  7. Comment by Samuel Vines

    July 5, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    And how childish for people to use a nom de plume in a civil society and conversation. “Concerned Citizen” totally a childish move. Put your name on the page. The Expositor should require a name a full name. Kudos to the Animal Shelter staff. How rude to be demeaning and condescending of their work. Just typical ignorant commentary. And Master Chief….a 25 year Senior Chief concurs with your assessment that rules are meant to be followed.

  8. Comment by Samuel Vines

    July 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I am with Monica. Full report needed. No one is above the law.


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