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A conversation with Sheriff Charles Mades

September 17, 1999
(Page 5 of 5)

"Several different things. As far as traffic complaints are concerned, an individual could call in here and say I have a complaint on such and such a road in Halfway, could we get radar work? That's assigned to a supervisor. In fact, on Oct. 1, we're going to the creation of another shift that works strictly on taking complaints and concentrating on areas of certain crimes and so forth.

"The actual shift supervisor - which is run by a sergeant and has a corporal as an assistant and there's usually six or seven deputies assigned - when they come in each night, they are assigned a certain area to patrol, and we try to keep them in the same area as much as we can.

"It's part of the community policing philosophy. And then, of course, we have the towns, they're assigned there permanently. And then we have our canine officers who are assigned to the larger areas where more traffic stops are made, more complaints are received. So, they're always available for backup on domestic situations or whatever.

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"A lot of the assignment of personnel is left up to the individual shift supervisors and, if necessary, the lieutenant or first sergeant might intercede on that somewhat."

What's the most difficult aspect of your job?

"I really like my job. I guess I get frustrated sometimes by two issues. Sometimes by what the people expect our people to do when we get calls for service and we explain to them in detail after I find out both sides of an issue why we do or don't do things the way we do.

"I guess every now and then one of those employee issues surfaces its ugly head that you know that you have to deal with which could lead to some adverse criticism of the agency as a whole."

You're in your fourth term as sheriff now. How much longer do you want this job?

"Ha, ha, ha. I don't publicly comment on all that. I don't know, some days, like I said, you sit here and think it's a great job, you know, and other days you sit here and say, next time I run I'll be 62. And between 25 years with the State Police and 16 years as sheriff, that's 41 years?

"I'll certainly be talking to the wife and the family, giving a personal evaluation of myself, see how I feel, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Got a couple of years to decide. I still think I show up every day and try to give the voters 110 percent, and I often said - I said that a lot back in 1986 - that when I ran I would be here, and when I didn't want the job anymore I would certainly make my intentions known, so we could put somebody in here qualified to pick up and go with it."

Is it the best job you've ever had?

"I've only had three jobs in my whole life - construction worker, state trooper and sheriff - that paid anything where I could raise a family."

And newspaper delivery boy, right?

"That's right, I did do that. Boy, I forgot about that. That was quite an adventure, my little green collection book; went down every Saturday morning to Bob Lewis and paid my bill. Got my little stick of complaints on my bundles when they were delivered. Somebody didn't get their paper or it was wet one day or I rode across the yard. Come a long way. Now everything's electronic billing; you don't even see your paper boy, you know."

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