Four years ago the Shelby County Sheriff’s department was in a very, very sad state of affairs.

A DOJ investigation in 2000 found that conditions in the Shelby County Jail violated the constitutional rights of inmates. Today, the Shelby County Jail has received state accreditation and is no longer the object of federal supervision.

Under the previous sheriff, there were reports of jobs for sale and preferential treatment for insiders. There was a sense of lawlessness in the department. Today those allegations are gone and integrity has returned.

Under the previous administration, the department was a black hole for taxpayer monies. Luttrell has reduced the Sheriff department’s budget each year he has been in office.

His oppenent, Reginald French, promises to rebid all contracts if elected. Can you say political payback and cronyism?

French has been tied to scandals and has been called “the most dangerous non-judicial candidate” on the August ballot.

Yet in this town of crooks in politics (can you say “Ricky Peete”?), Reginald French stands a very good chance of being elected, so this will be a close race.

However, in this race there is a third choice. John Harvey is a lieutenant in the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and is running a credible write-in campaign.

I know John Harvey. He is intelligent, principled and passionate. The man is everywhere, attending every political event possible and participating in every debate he can. Where he is excluded from the debate, he stands outside as voters enter to greet them and let them know that there is another choice. He has made a name for himself by exposing the poor state of affairs in the voting system, having found a rather extensive list of dead voters and voters registered in two counties or states. He utilized his rather good programming skills to create a site where you can look up the record of every Shelby County voter.

John Harvey is an asset to the community and an invaluable resource for exposing voter fraud.

Yet in the end, Harvey has no chance of winning. His only effect will be to pull enough votes away from Luttrell so that the citizens of Shelby County are saddled with Reginald French for the next four years (can you say “Ross Perot”?).

One of Harvey’s complaints about the Sheriff is that he has accepted bribes from felons, which is a violation of department policy. I confronted the Sheriff with that allegation at one of the numerous forums that I attended. The Sheriff responded that

  1. No campaign contributions received were illegal. His campaign treasurer checks out each dollar given to make certain that it does not come from an ineligable source. (That does not address the department policy issue that Harvey complains of.)
  2. No contribution has every influenced policy or resulted in preferential treatment. (A claim I believe, as studies have shown that to be true of politics in general except for large contributions from special interest groups.)
  3. The beauty of our society is that we offer 2nd chances. The felons that the allegations refer to were convicted 15 or 20 years ago and have reintegrated into society. Most importantly, they have gotten thier voting rights back and are citizens just like anyone else. (On this point I whole-heartedly agree. Voting rights for ex-cons is one of my issues, even though (or maybe because) I am a conservative.)

I give my full support and strong endorsement to Mark Luttrell for the position of Shelby County Sheriff.

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