Below is the entire transcript of Democratic sheriff candidate Butch Johnson’s statement to the Lee County Democratic Party on Tuesday.
I don’t reprint this because I support or oppose Johnson (or any other candidate) but because it was more than I could include in my story and contained several points that should generate plenty of discussion. To say the least.
If you’ve got comments, bring ‘em on. Here’s the text:
Four years ago this month, I decided after much thought and encouragement from friends and family to pursue my lifelong ambition to become the sheriff of Lee County. For the next six months I met hundreds of good people and tried to relay to them my love for law enforcement and my desire to provide the most professional and experienced protection to the people of Lee County. At the time I felt that my total of 38 years of experience in both law enforcement and working through the judicial branch of government made me the most qualified person of all the candidates that were running at the time. We encountered a brutal and tiring primary and subsequently lost the primary to Kevin Bryant. Kevin eventually lost the general election in November 2006 to now current Sheriff Tracy Carter by the slimmest of margins.
Since that time, my love for law enforcement has never wavered and the desire to serve the people of Lee County has grown even greater. There has not been a day in the past four years that I have not thought about the election and the desire that I still have to provide the kind of law enforcement protection that the good people of Lee County deserve. I know that in the previous election it was my promise to work closely with other law enforcement agencies in the county but I know that has never happened and it is my thought that the agencies are even further apart than ever. I think that is an important issue that needs to be addressed in order to protect and serve all citizens of Lee County.
I have discussed this decision with my family and friends and especially the ones who are still currently active in law enforcement as well as those retired. I have received overwhelming encouragement from them and they have pledged their support to me in this endeavor. In the last election my biggest supporter was my wife, Sylvia. Unfortunately Sylvia passed away in September 2008 so I have the time, the commitment and the energy to give to the citizens of Lee County.
I know that people are concerned about different issues that affect them individually. I will pledge to provide thorough investigation to all crimes and not just to those which create the most dramatic headlines. I would much rather make five good arrests with five convictions than 10 arrests with eight dismissals. People read the headlines when an arrest is made but rarely ever see or hear the disposition of the arrest or the legality of that arrest. I plan to make those numbers available as well.
I think everyone knows in the previous election the Sanford Herald chose to support and endorse Sheriff Carter in both the primary as well as the general election and that is certainly their privilege to do so but I would hope that during this campaign they would choose to provide the citizens of Lee County with unbiased reporting of the facts of all local law enforcement agencies and I would challenge them to put out all events in the paper and not just those which create the biggest or most spectacular headlines or the ones which generate the biggest pat on the back.
I would also like to say I am looking forward to addressing any issues or questions that anyone has between now and the primary in May 2010 and I will be glad to discuss the issues and my campaign with them. If I am successful in the May 2010 primary I will look forward to debating Sheriff Carter in the CEAD forum, the Sanford Herald forum and perhaps a debate just between the two of us on the issues, our experience, our knowledge of the law and how to implement it, as well as issues facing law enforcement in the county.
In closing I would like to say the decision to pursue this important position has been made by me and no one else. I have not been asked by anyone, paid by anyone or otherwise have I been solicited by anyone to run for this office. Rumors can run rampant during an election and most of them are not true and those rumors have already started. I would certainly hope that this election can be an election based solely on the issues of who can better protect the citizens of Lee County. I like to remember the one motto that I have always adhered to as a law enforcement professional and that is to protect and serve. If elected I plan to do just that.
For all the above reasons I am formally announcing that I will be a candidate on the Democratic ticket for sheriff of Lee County in 2010.