Your Views: Sheriff Spoden’s deal on ‘The Tank’ shows disconnect on safety

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

“The Tank” issue that came up during the Rock County sheriff’s candidate forum exposed the disconnect Sheriff Spoden has about this issue. While some want to argue it isn’t a tank in the truest sense, the label comes from residents who believe “The Tank” was wasteful and over the top. I agree with them.

Sheriff Robert Spoden could have spent the money on regular pieces of equipment that deputies carry every day—handguns. It’s the duty of the sheriff to replace guns that are considered “old” by industry standards. True, a “tank” could someday save a SWAT team member, and that is, of course, very important. But what about protecting the officers who go into the field every day with expired handguns? What about protecting the community in day-to-day operations? How would you like it if a deputy wasn’t able to protect you because the deputy’s old gun malfunctioned?

The irony, as Capt. Gary Groelle pointed out during the forum, is that the sheriff could have had it all. Had Spoden cooperated with area law enforcement in acquiring “The Tank,” he could have had access to it for infrequent but important situations, and he could have purchased new handguns for deputies to use every day.

Budgets are about priorities. Groelle’s priorities are to protect the public, make responsible purchases, and provide the officers who protect us with quality equipment. For these reasons, Gary Groelle has my vote for Rock County sheriff Aug. 12.



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