The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office has experienced a big shift in leadership within the last two years due to several people retiring, including the former sheriff, chief deputy, a captain, a sargeant, a lead dispatcher, and three deputies.
The average years of service per retired deputy is 27 years. This amounts to a combined 200 years of institutional knowledge leaving the Sheriff’s Office in a short period of time. This is daunting when observing this fact at face value.
Though daunting, the change allowed for movement within administrative leadership because some positions have been in place for a good number of years. I recognize change can be difficult. Some within the organization may struggle with the change in their routine, expectations, habits, and a new personality at the helm. Some will welcome the new and fresh energy, ideas, expectations, and personality and may also find within themselves a renewed sense of motivation and confidence.
But change is nothing new for employees of elected officials. Every four years, there’s the possibility of a new sheriff being elected. What if someone from outside the sheriff’s office is elected? What if the person is unfamiliar with the responsibilities of the jail, patrol, detectives, dispatch, civil, court security, driver’s license, and all the special circumstances that arise daily? What if the new sheriff is not very friendly or people oriented? The list of unknowns is endless and if a person dwells on these it can create much anxiety, stress, and consume your daily thoughts. As I begin my 31st year of service and start my 2nd year of my 4-year term as the current elected sheriff of Bannock County, I’m reflecting on the many life lessons I’ve learned during my time at the sheriff’s office. Here are a few I’d like to share:
- As a leader of an organization (especially the highest-ranking person) “BE PRESENT.”
- Great relationships are vital and should be built over time—not at the time of a crisis or when you need something.
- People, people, people. We are a people business.
- Stay positive, focus on the positive, and create positive change
- Give 100% when you are on the job, but also unplug from the job and give 100% when you’re with your loved ones.
- Have many hobbies and friends outside of your work friends
- Don’t take it personal when it comes to disciplinary actions
- Keep it simple
- Smile, laugh, and have fun at work
- Change is inevitable, but our purpose should remain constant
One thing is certain: Today, I’m the current elected sheriff of Bannock County and, God willing, I will be for the next three years. There is much life to be lived in my next three years and I know there will definitely be other changes during that time. What my future holds may be uncertain, but I know the Sheriff’s Office building, the people who truly run the office, and all the mechanics and procedures of the day-to-day operations will continue to move and function whether I’m the sheriff or not. What is truly irreplaceable is the relationships with each of the PEOPLE I’ve grown to love and respect during this 30-year journey.