Ever wonder about the etymology (the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history) of the phrase "There's a new sheriff in town"? Actually, me neither until recently. But, the phrase has been thrown around lately due to the election of our new Knox County sheriff, Tom Spangler. And, that is the rumor! There's a new sheriff in town, you know!
First of all, the etymology of "There's a New Sheriff In Town" reveals it is a phrase meant to evoke the image of a traditional Southern or Western US town having a new sheriff come to power and shake things up for the town. To "shake things up" for Knox County is exactly what Sheriff Spangler has promised to do!
To be honest,I don't know the state of the Knox County Sheriff's office. In fact, I know far less than I used to when I was married to Knox County Deputy Sargent Jim Wester, and our marriage ended in 2007. So, it has been a while. But, I have met and been around Spanky, uh Sheriff Spangler, three of four times. I've heard a lot about him through Jim. Sheriff Spangler and Jim were good friends and had a lot of respect for each other. I feel the Sheriff is a man of his word which is proving true in just his first few days of being in office.
Back when I was a cop's wife, over 12 years ago, I worried about Jim all the time when he was on duty. Of course before he left the house at the beginning of each shift, he strapped a gun to his side. That one fact alone caused me concern, but you just learn to live with it. The next thing that caused me concern was the length of his work shifts and the fact that he rotated his hours, usually every 10 days. Sure, he would get "compensated" for his time, but the length of time he spent on duty each shift and the rotation of his shifts were so very physically difficult and demanding for him. I won't go into detail, but I have always thought his death at the age of 59 had a lot to do with the demands of his job, even though he was retired when he passed. Twenty eight years of anything impacting your health can't be good for you.
Well, Sheriff Spangler has already started to address the time factor of deputy shifts. As I understand it, he has shortened the hours that they are on duty each shift. He has worked it, he knows what it is like. Thanks God for Sheriff Spangler, I say!!!!
I am anxious to find out what else he is going to do. I think he recognizes and appreciates the constant fear of the job that has to stay hidden and not actually dealt with by each deputy. He knows about the nightmares that deputies experience due to what they see and hear on duty. He knows about being sleepy when going into work and being wired when getting off. He knows about all the holidays deputies work while having to leave their families to fin for themselves. And, last but far from least, he is cognizant of the increased threat of being ambushed by a crazy man while on duty. Sheriff Spangler is a deputes' sheriff!!!!
I wish Sheriff Spangler much success because his success means the betterment of the sheriff's department and the good of the deputies. But, he has a long road ahead of him, so my thoughts and prayers are with him.
Until next time...