I just finished up a story about churches partnering with local governments to prepare for disaster recovery. One of my sources for the story was Cole County Sheriff, Greg White. I like Sheriff White for several reasons:
- He’s easy to interview.
- He supports concealed carry.
- He’s a former pastor who spent years as a circuit-riding preacher in Alaska.
- I’ve heard him use the word “posse” on more than one occasion (seriously).
- Let’s see there was one other reason… what was it… what was it… oh yeah: He didn’t prosecute me when, in a practical joke gone horribly awry, I may have kinda sorta forged his signature on a fake eviction notice I posted on a buddy’s door. (He did, however, make it very clear that such behavior was not a good idea.)
Sheriff White loses points for his horribly tacky website, but he’s still my second favorite sheriff, right after Andy Taylor. At least that was until today, when Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel came out of nowhere to fight for the #2 spot. What makes Sheriff Whetsel so awesome?
- He’s Oklahoman.
- His deputies ride four-wheelers (not to mention this beast and this slightly smaller beast) in the Edmond Fourth of July Parade.
- His last name is “Whetsel,” which I think you’ll agree is very fun to say.
- Most importantly, just like Sheriff White, he knows how to politely put someone in their place.
As evidence of the latter, I present you the following hilarious e-mail exchange (.pdf available here) between the good Sheriff and an angry driver full of righteous indignation (first seen here and then again here):
From: Evan White
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 10:05 AM
To: Barrow, Rickey
Subject: Operation Stand II
Please let Sheriff Whetsel know that he is a hypocrite of the most extreme kind. He got on camera Saturday evening and told the people of Oklahoma County that they were being kept safe by setting up checkpoints to catch drivers with suspended licenses and a few people that had marijuana. What a joke and politician Whetsel has become! The people of Oklahoma County see through his disingenuous statements and they know the only reason for such lame tactics is because the force is short of funds and setting up roadblocks for citizens heading for the State Fair solves that problem. The sheriff’s task force can NOT perform quality work other than checkpoints to fund their way of life.
It’s a shame that he puts the citizens of Oklahoma through such nonsense in the name of ‘saving lives’ when the real reason for resorting to fishing with a fishnet is the almighty dollar and nothing else.
Shame on Sheriff John Whetsel
Dude, Sheriff Whetsel, he just called you out! Are you going to let him get away with that? Are you just gonna sit there and take it?
From: Whetsel, John
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 3:48 PM
To: Evan White Subject: Operation Stand II
Subject: RE: Operation Stand II
Dear Mr Evan White,
Thank you for sharing your concern, however you unfortunately did not have correct information before you wrote your e-mail.
The Oklahoma Legislature determines where the revenue from citations go. The Sheriff’s Office receives a $5 fee for each citation after the person is found or pleads guilty, not enough to even cover the costs of writing or processing the citation. The rest goes to the state court system with specific fees added for state court costs and to other entities for specific programs, which may or may not be waived by the courts. Our partner on Saturday evening was the Oklahoma Highway Patrol who also receive minimal funding from citations they issue.
So no – it is not, nor has it ever been, about “the almighty dollar” – it truly is about saving lives.
In addition to arrests for outstanding arrest warrants, drug possession and suspended and revoked drivers licenses, we also took 28 drunk drivers off the road during this operation – drunk drivers who were prevented from causing an injury or fatal crash that night.
I don’t know if you have ever lost a family member in a traffic crash. I have. My two-year old daughter and my first wife were the innocent victims of a traffic crash. My four-year old daughter was critically injured in that crash, but miraculously survived.
That is the main reason I am so passionate about savings lives through effective traffic safety initiatives – to try to save lives that are needlessly lost by preventable traffic crashes and to try to reduce the chance that my family and other families will have to suffer the grief and pain of losing a loved one in a preventable traffic crash.
I am truly disappointed that you associated my efforts to save lives with that of money. You could not have been more wrong.
But to be truly fair, your probably should have shared with us that you were stopped at one of our traffic safety checkpoints on Saturday evening, that you were arrested on a felony charge of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, that you were booked into the Oklahoma County Jail and later released on bond, that you are a state employee of Health Choice, and that your complaint e-mail was written and sent on state time and on a state computer. The citizens of Oklahoma should be really proud of you.
John Whetsel, Sheriff
Sheriff White (no relation to Evan, I hope), I hate to break it to you, but you’ve officially been bumped to #3. Just please don’t have me arrested. Seriously.
FYI, #4 is Sheriff Buford T. Justice and #5 is a three-way tie among Black Bart, Quick Draw McGraw and the entire Reno Sheriff’s Department. What, you don’t walk around with a list ranking your favorite local law enforcement professionals? What’s wrong with you? Respect the badge!