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Sheriff fails to cooperate with agencies

Published: Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

In David Giuliani’s Feb. 15 SV Weekend story about an open murder case, the state’s attorney was quoted as saying, “Sheriff John Varga issued a news release to Arkansas media, which went against the plan to keep the case under wraps.” She later said, “I am trying to protect the investigation.”

It wasn’t a surprise to me to learn Sheriff Varga wasn’t cooperating with the state’s attorney, because he doesn’t appear to want to cooperate with anybody.

As chief law enforcement officer of Lee County, he should be coordinating training and improving communication and collaboration between public safety agencies, such as local fire departments. He just doesn’t see the value of working together with other agencies.

For example, new VHF radios were acquired through a fire department grant; however, those radios laid idle on storage shelves for months. The radios were designed to improve communication with the Lee County fire departments and would have been used in multiple situations had he decided to install them when they arrived.

That illustrates the sheriff isn’t in tune with Lee County communities. Cooperation, collaboration, and communication is needed between the sheriff and all other public safety agencies. Unfortunately, John Varga doesn’t understand that. 

Note to readers: Kevin D. Schultz is assistant fire chief for the Sublette Fire Department.

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