Our sheriff says little to nothing about drugs, violence or gangs in Greene. That in itself is worrying. We know we have a big drug problem. What do we hear about that? Nothing. And where there’s drugs, gangs and violence are sure to follow. What do we hear about that? Nothing.

Does the sheriff have a plan for dealing with this? What plan? We can only assume he intends the old ‘tried and true’ approach – arrest them when you find them and throw them in jail.

Great, except it hasn’t worked, in Greene or anywhere. It puts a few pushers in jail but also many users, ruining their lives. The epidemic goes on, destroying families and young people every day. It’s old thinking, widely dropped. But it’s all our sheriff has.

Billy Wade is talking differently. He speaks of “smart law enforcement.” He says that means jail for pushers, but help for victims. That’s new. That’s right.

Pushers and gang members need to be found and put away. Wade agrees with that; we all do. But to do that, the sheriff must work with the Virginia State Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the commonwealth’s attorney. Our current sheriff won’t work with anybody. He refuses help from outside, accomplishes little and tells us less. Wade says we have a justice system and he’s going to work with all parts of it, with commitment, not just words. We need that.

But Wade also says something else— help for victims. We all know that’s right. Users are victims (with some exceptions, of course). They need help, not jail. That’s not being soft. That’s being smart. Other places have shown this kind of smart enforcement works. Wade gives hope we might begin to fix this problem.

Wade is smart. He’s thinking fresh. He’s thinking ahead. He has a plan. We need all of this in our sheriff.

We ought to elect Billy Wade for sheriff in November. We need change in the sheriff’s department.

Roy Barbee

Ruckersville

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