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‘If they call for help, we’ll be there’

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
John R. Varga

For me, serving as sheriff of Lee County is truly an honor. The citizens of Lee County have twice entrusted me with this solemn task. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously. 

I was hired by Sheriff Tim Bivins in 2000 as a correctional officer with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. The years spent in that position were valuable in that I came to understand the day-to-day operations of the jail, but more important, the need to operate the facility in strict accordance with statute and jail standards to minimize liability problems for the county and its citizens.

Across the nation, far more lawsuits are filed against county jails than are filed for anything that occurs on the streets involving deputies.

In 2004, Sheriff Bivins appointed me to the position of chief bailiff. I was in charge of courthouse security, and I supervised one full-time bailiff and nine part-time court security officers.

In this position, I gained valuable insight into the court system from a perspective other than that of a probation officer. I received training in security principles for keeping the courts building and employees safe, and specialized training in crisis situations and active shooter incidents. 

I have been blessed to have excellent employees throughout the department who have proved to be extremely capable, dedicated professionals who have risen to the occasion, time after time, in dealing with some horrific situations over the years.

The people of Lee County know for a fact that if they call for help, we will be there to assist them. 

I know there are those people who have not been pleased with or who have not agreed with decisions that I have made over the years, but I always try to take into consideration what the overall benefits of my decisions will be for all Lee County citizens.

I have always made it a point to be accessible to anyone who wishes to speak to me and will continue to do so. I am here to serve you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For those of you who know me, it is obvious I’m not a flashy kind of guy. You won’t see me in the newspaper every day tooting our department’s horn. That’s not our style.

Our philosophy is simple – “just get the job done.” I certainly hope that, come March 18, you all will continue to let me just get the job done.

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