Sheriff’s Department employees shouldn’t pressure co-workers in sheriff’s election

Posted 24 June 2019 at 11:46 am


I served in the military for 28 years with multiple combat tours and believe strongly in our country’s foundation. I, like many of my friends, fought to protect the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution and Bill of Rights – the civil liberties such as freedom of speech and protection from governmental oppression.

Moreover many of my friends, including my best friend, gave their lives to protect the freedoms our nation cherishes. However, a disturbing situation recently occurred and remains ongoing in the campaign for Orleans County sheriff which violates many rights my comrades served to protect.

One of our country’s most essential rights remains the ability for individuals to choose who they support during an election, free from coercion regarding their choice. Whether a person chooses to be liberal, conservative, democrat or republican, they have an assured protection from our government with regards to their political stance. This freedom remains essential to maintain democracy.

Moreover, my military career enabled my travel to numerous countries where firsthand I observed coercion and oppression in political elections. These actions violate the rights we Americans cherish but often take for granted. Such political oppression now exists in Orleans County.

Some members of the current Orleans County Sheriff’s Department are employing political pressure against individuals supporting Brett for sheriff to the point of harassing individuals for having “Brett for Sheriff” signs in their yards. These actions are contrary to American ideals and protections guaranteed in our constitution sealed with patriots’ blood to protect those freedoms.

During all my years of service I could not imagine a situation wherein members of a government entity would employ intimidation to achieve a political end. Law enforcement officials dedicate their service to protecting all citizens, not just those who support their political ideals.

Some may argue that is their right to campaign for their candidate and I wholeheartedly agree.  However, intimidation, coercion and oppressive actions by members of a governmental organization not only violate ethics but subvert our constitutional foundation.

Moreover, when people feel they cannot back whom they choose to support without prejudice or fear of reprisal, something is wrong. All those that served desire a fair election, we served to protect the rights of all individuals.

I believe service in the Sheriff’s Department is similar to military service protecting individuals regardless of their political stance. Regardless, who wins, that person will be my sheriff and will have the respect garnered by that position.

However, if the future sheriff wins via intimidation and coercion, then will not only my respect be lost, but I will seriously question my and my fellow service-members’ sacrifice.

Keith McKinney

US Army retired