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May 7, 2010

Sheriff Jenkinsí Second Term

Roy Meachum

One of the greatest compliments accorded to words was delivered by a GOP opponent of Chuck Jenkins; he was a man of great connections, in solid with the county’s good ol’ boys. I wrote columns informing voters of the problems he would bring, including his wife.


As you know, Mr. Jenkins won the primary and went on to become sheriff. The opponent sidled up while Pushkin and I were on a daily walk and half-whispered: “The things you said about my wife were unconscionable.”


He did not dispute the facts, obviously, but thought saying them in print went too far. That was four years ago and I am pleased to see the married pair do not scheme to take over another government agency. They are both in cushy political posts, drawing high salaries along with pensions from their former city jobs.


And my preferred candidate in that race publicly announced he’s going to try for four more years. Again, Chuck Jenkins has my support – although I cannot vote in his primary. I’m not a registered Republican.


This week’s Frederick News-Post front-page was headed by story that a corrections officer (as in jailer) will file suit against a settlement he made with the sheriff. The deal was over an agreed to charge the prison guard had forcibly removed the hair extensions from an inmate.


In other words, taking advantage of the woman’s helplessness, the guy engaged in the sadistic trip of robbing the prisoner of her soul, her individuality. For my money, the former officer should have been subject to a similar penalty – like being forced to wear a dress out in public for a period of time; 30 days comes to mind.


About his policy towards immigrants, I know most readers agree; me, I’m very cautious. But then I disagree with a majority of Americans, according to a new CBS Poll. Fifty-one percent favor restricting the present flow of people, mainly on our southern border. I hold if citizens took available jobs there would no immigrants. That simple.


Chuck Jenkins’ department tags immigrants only when they break the law. On that simple basis, no one quarrels, even me. But their spouses and children are victims and they didn’t do a thing. Still, even the kids born in Frederick County are forced to emigrate to a strange culture they’ve never lived before.


Anybody from Salvador or Nicaragua – two of Frederick’s larger Hispanic communities – finds it easy to obtain a precious “green card,” if they marry a U.S. citizen. But American-born children do not qualify their parents to stay if they have no valid visa or work permit. In most instances, boys and girls can grow up without a father; few women are forcibly retained and deported.


That’s the only caution I have about Chuck Jenkins’ stewardship of the county’s law enforcement. But I’m at a distinct advantage: I know the man and his humanity. I trust the sheriff, which I cannot grant to certain of my “best” friends.


Having once been threatened with arrest coming out of a movie by a deputy sheriff in full uniform, naturally I agree with Chuck Jenkins’ policy that permits part-time jobs as security but no badges, no uniforms and no official cars. They still wear side arms and have their stars in their pockets, in case they witness a crime. Fair is fair.


And above all else, Chuck Jenkins is a fair man and that’s the foremost quality county residents and taxpayers have a right to expect from their top cop.


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