This past week has been a sad time for us due to two situations. First, our local community lost a public servant to cancer and this passing is felt nationally. Our second situation displays how the great is falling as the United States has reached a new low in how the world views us.
Last week we said good bye to Sheriff Bob Buckley. It’s rare to know what you really want to do with your life when you come out of high school. Many of us never do figure this out. It’s even rarer to know one of the individuals that knew where they wanted to be in life at an early age. I am fortunate that I knew a man that fit into his niche for most of his life. Bob was this person and he wanted nothing more than to follow his uncle A.C. into the Louisiana State Police. He had taken courses at Northeast Louisiana University only to find that he did not meet the minimum height requirement for the state police. Undaunted, he received a waiver and entered the force. I first got to be friends with Bob when a terrorist group tried to blow up the Louisiana Senate. His first job out of the Police Academy was to sit in the Senate gallery as a guard. A boring job and I would visit him while working as a Committee Clerk for the State Legislature in 1970. He went on to be a very successful State Trooper and he had thoughts of retiring to Kerrville, in the Hill Country of Texas; but he didn’t. Instead he took over a sheriff’s office that was close to bankrupt and after cutting his own salary in half, built the Union Parish Sheriff’s Department to become a poster child for other rural departments in our state to follow.
Sheriff Buckley wanted to do one thing and that was to serve the residents of Union Parish. Did he make enemies? You bet he did. It goes with the job but what is more important is that he made many more friends. We have good leadership from many parish leaders who are dedicated to public service. The question is, do we have the leadership to fill the sheriff’s shoes. I think we do and we don’t have to look far to find it. I’m confident that you will see some good men running for the position and it will be up to the voters to weigh all the facts and put the man into office that they feel will continue to grow our sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Buckley finally reached his pinnacle when he was selected as the president of the Louisiana Sherriff’s Association. While holding this position he not only represented the Louisiana sheriffs in Baton Rouge but he also represented the state at the National Sheriff’s Convention.
Next week we will look at the spiraling decline of the world’s perception of the leadership role that was once dominated by the great United States.

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