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Defending the Sheriff

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I cannot claim to know the stresses of serving under the sheriff as a member of his command staff, but I can speak on his behalf when it comes to the cornerstone of your claims ("Trouble on the Block," Cover Story, March 21).

Racism has no place in the world of law enforcement, no matter what venue, whether it is on the streets or in the back of the Richmond City Jail. The sheriff in my opinion has based his promotion processes off of performance.

I am a 27-year-old white male with military experience, and I have been employed by the Sheriff's Office for the past four years and seven months. I served under Sheriff Mitchell and had success as a deputy and rose just as quickly in rank as some of the other deputies that Sheriff Woody has decided to promote.

I have continued to be successful, and I am currently assigned as a sergeant in the Investigative Division. I have no ties to the sheriff other than being employed by him and my closest mentor, Captain Sink, whom I served under as a sergeant at the Jail Annex, and who has moved on.

I am a product of my own hard work and determination. I have had the opportunity to do things that no other investigators in the history of the Sheriff's Office have been able to do. Myself and the other members of the Investigative Division have been able to take active roles in law enforcement by arresting deadbeat parents, fugitive apprehension, narcotics investigations, criminal investigations and the traditional role performing administrative/ internal investigations. We have received the full support and backing of our supervisors and the sheriff.

I believe that the real issue at hand is that those individuals who have contacted you and now found themselves in the limelight have been held accountable for their actions. Each situation is different and not all the details have been brought to light.

The issue is not whether or not the sheriff's decisions have been harsh or based off of race, only that those individuals that are no longer employed by the sheriff failed to perform their duties. Their failure resulted in the endangerment of the community and an unnecessary assumption of liability by the Sheriff's Office. Each time that a mistake has been made, the Sheriff's Office has corrected the mistakes on its own.

The time for mudslinging and finger-pointing has passed. Those that have left of their own will are gone by their choice. I wish them well in all that they endeavor to do, but those who are gone as direct results of their actions need to accept the consequences of those actions and move on with their lives.

Sergeant William Dale Bart
Investigative Division
Richmond City Sheriff's Office

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