1. Annual Message
  2. Informational Update March 31, 2021
  3. Objectives & Goals

I recall my 2020 annual message of hope and innovation supported by high energy of great things to come. Looking back, it truly was a year where "Hope" and "Innovation" were the ingredients needed for many of our citizens and our team to members. COVID-19 and a national outcry toward law enforcement has brought great challenges ranging from operational adjustments to mental aguish felt by all of us.

As I reflect on 2020 and the many conversations I have shared, combined with the continued media updates, one conversational element that seems to be underestimated is the is the "Will" of the people. You have all heard that COVID ruined the year. Though, COVID brought a health pandemic that many of us have never and hopefully will never experience again, it made us all experience life in a different way. I will say, COVID brought us closer and slowed us all down to refresh and reflect on the basics of life. Family time was enhanced resulting in more outdoor recreation, i.e. hiking, playing sports and just taking a walk with family and friends. I don't see this being a bad thing, but a fundamental grassroot practice that seemed to be lost pre-COVID.

I have addressed the 3-basic institutions that have changed over the past 30+ years: Family, Community and Law Enforcement. COVID has been a friend to these institutions redirecting core values to ensure people are serviced with that personal touch. Many would disagree with me and I respect their opinion, but an opportunist would see a shared benefit between COVID and these institutions. The path of success comes from seeing the best of any situation built around a plan of action.

Law enforcement continues to feel pressure from all aspects, both internally and externally. My years in the profession have been filled with many satisfactions to include the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented professionals in the business. These professionals have taught me many valuable lessons of life and continue to sharpen my abilities and skills. One component of the profession that has not changed over my 3-decades is my liking of people. People are the backbone to our successes and "why" we do what we do! Some of the most giving and caring individuals I know wear a badge, YOU! I watch you sacrifice family time to give yourself to others with high expectations of keeping them safe. That's the definition of a "Community Hero".

I would remind you all, our critics don't always look at what you did, but what you didn't do. In a climate of public scrutiny and opinions minus facts, we must always be attentive to details. You are community leaders empowered to solve problems and foster justice for those in need. An easy statement to author only complexed by the action required to fulfill. Lets ensure our follow-up is completed in a timely and reasonable manner. Our agency is young in tenure as with many public safety organizations, but community-rich in history and knowledge. Never forget to ask for help and utilize the wisdom of our experienced and talented team to members.

I have always advocated for community policing as a model for this agency. We have made great strides in promoting this agency through "Transparency", "Accountability" and "Care of our Citizens". As a result, County Attorney Brian McIntyre and I have worked together in the development of a Public A=accountability C=care T=transparency Team. This team will be modeled after the community Ranch Advisory Team promoting relationships within our community. We are in the process of selecting approximately a dozen community members from throughout the county to represent the Public "ACT" Team. I am excited to have this team in place to assist this office in navigating our mission forward.

Finally, whether it be COVID or any other challenge this office faces, nothing can ruin us but ourselves. The "Will" of the People is most important regarding the strength of an organization, community, state or as a nation. We must take responsibility in all we do and stand united as we address current and the unexpected challenges forthcoming. Your personal strength and attitude can only be tarnished by you. I have stated, we make decisions every day, but the citizens own our reputation. I am very proud of our reputation as an office of the people, but we must NEVER relax our mission or duty to serve.

Together, we will accept 2021 with good "Hope" and "Innovation" and "Excitement" as we refresh another year of "Opportunity"!

Thank You for your Service to this Office and our County,

Sheriff Mark J. Dannels