“America’s Sheriff” speaks at first responders event – Valley Times-News

On Thursday, Gator Media hosted its first “Boots, Badges and Barbecue” event in honor of first responders at the Burrow Warehouse in downtown West Point. The event was originally scheduled to take place at Clark Farm in Lanett, but the venue has been changed due to the weather.

At the beginning of the event, the guests were allowed to take photos with “America’s Sheriff” David Clarke. Gator Media’s Gator Kincaid presented three plaques for Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart, West Point Fire Chief Mitt Smith and Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon. During dinner hosted by American SmokeHouse of West Point, Clarke gave a speech primarily on first responders with an emphasis on law enforcement.

Clarke, the former Milwaukee County Sheriff, began his speech with a focus on the importance of tolerating other people’s viewpoints. He resigned as sheriff of Milwaukee County in 2017.

“I think that in a democracy like ours, different views and differences of opinion are healthy,” he said. “I really believe that we should all take our point of view. And sometimes they form collectively and you have groups of people who have a point of view. There is nothing wrong with that. And that doesn’t mean that people who have a different point of view than me are wrong. “

He explained the difference between a point of view and a mere opinion.

“If I make a point, I can support it,” he said. “I can back this up with research. I can back it up with knowledge and I can back it up with my experience. It’s not just an opinion. “

Clarke said he was unwilling to debate with people who don’t back up their claims with facts.

“I don’t know why so many people in this country, mainly on the left, don’t want someone else who has a different point of view. I really can’t understand that. That’s not how I was raised. My mother and father taught me from an early age: ‘Don’t just follow the crowd. Come up with your own opinion about things. And if you really believe in it, then stand for it. “

Clarke said he wanted to visit all 50 states and that Alabama was his 39th. He said that while he likes cities like Chicago and New York City, he likes to meet “real Americans” in less populated areas.

“Americans are wonderful people,” he said. “Does that mean all? No, but who cares? The overwhelming majority of people are good people, and they are not just some of the names they are called. You are not a racist. You are not homophobes. You are not Islamophobic. You are not xenophobic. How can I say that? Because I’ve met so many Americans and I know what’s in your heart. “

Clarke said he doesn’t think there is a need for police reform in America.

“Our police officers are better trained, they are better trained than ever in this profession,” he said. “We can get even better. We are looking for excellence, not perfection. We have to optimize something here and there, and I’m for it. I am not in favor of reforming this entire profession any more than I am in favor of a doctor making a medical mistake that leads to the death of a patient. Nobody is calling for reform of the entire medical community. We just don’t do it because it’s not smart. “

He stated that police officers were besieged, underserved, underpaid and undervalued. He said police officers are not trained to deal with “urban pathologies” such as ineffective parenting, school failure, fatherless homes and questionable lifestyle choices.

“We do this well: keep the peace, enforce the law, and arrest people who break the law,” he said. “We’re doing well. Sit down and advise a child? No, we don’t teach people that. “

While acknowledging that police officers sometimes make bad decisions, Clarke argued that people often provoke the police into aggressiveness by not following their orders.

“Follow the lawful orders of a police officer and you will survive this interaction,” he said. “As simple as that.”

Clarke argued that what a sane citizen could decide in a situation may be different from what a sane police officer would decide. He stressed the importance of the rule of law.

Towards the end of his speech, Clarke brought up the issue of police suicide.

“It’s happening at alarming rates, record numbers,” he said. “In 2019, 228 police officers committed suicide. … Where’s the call for more money to research into suicide by the health authorities? Why are they killing themselves? What’s going on here? There is an increase. We have to do something about it. “

Kincaid praised sponsoring companies for making the event a reality.

“There was no money outside of the church,” he said. “There was no state money. There was no federal money. The reason for this event is that I think we have the best small business group ever. “

Kincaid said it was “a little bit bittersweet” that three of his heroes – Lockhart, Smith and Tommy Weldon – were about to retire. He said they were one of the reasons he decided to hold the event.

Smith was not present, but some of his colleagues were present.

Kincaid said Friday that he does not yet know the total amount of money raised, but said it will be split 50/50 between the Alabama Sheriff’s Girls Ranch and the Valley Rams Booster Club. He said he expected the event to raise $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 after expenses.

The event was sponsored by the Chambers County Republican Party; Remax agent Jane Fuller; Randy Price, Alabama Senator from District 13; Debbie Wood, in the Alabama District 38 House of Representatives; House Representative for District 37 Alabama, Bob Fincher; the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce; Brian J. Aplin, attorney; Fuller Center Recycle Storage; US Senate candidate Lynda Blanchard; Center for Children’s Learning and Growing; Beverly Howard, attorney; Foster’s Tree Service Inc .; The Charter Foundation; Carolyn Lott CPA; Brumfield Electric; Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC; and Jimmy and Jody Stewart, according to Kincaid.

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