Our Mission Statement says “As the guardians of society’s laws, we ensure the highest quality of life, safety and security for all people while responding to the public’s needs in a caring, courteous and professional manner.” A great deal of thought went into developing this statement because it is the very foundation of why we exist and what we are required to do by our oath of office.
The statement we are the guardians of society’s laws goes back to a time before the founding of our nation. European kings were enthroned under the belief that they were appointed by God, a concept supported by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. It was the belief that no one had the right to question the decisions of the King, and no one had the right to overthrow him because of his appointment by God.
John Locke, the great English philosopher writing around 1700, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau said it was not the responsibility of the people to serve the government, but rather that the government must be answerable to the people. He called it the social contract where government must guarantee life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to all people. When government (i.e. the King) no longer served the people, it was the right of the people to overthrow the King. Central to his thinking was there must be laws which people must answer to, enforced by a limited government. People must give up a small portion of their rights answering to such laws, so they might enjoy the vast amount of their freedoms to insure life, liberty and the happiness.
You might recognize his words because they are in our Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers read Locke and Rousseau, believed in the social contract, and declared our nation’s independence based on those beliefs. Our Country is based on laws designed to insure life, liberty and happiness. Our citizens entrust law enforcement to enforce those laws in caring, courteous and professional manner.
Our mission as a Sheriff’s office is not to make laws, nor to pick and choose which laws we think are best to enforce. We are charged with enforcing all of the laws created by the people through their legislators. If necessary we bring to justice those who violate the law, who endanger the safety and security of our community. But most importantly, we are there for our community when it is needed, in times of their own personal crisis.
When we fail to do these things, we fail the trust of the community. We endanger their trust in their government to ensure life, safety and security for all people. It is a tremendous responsibility but one we accept with great pride for our part in making our community, our nation a success. As Sheriff, my job, and the promise to every member of our Sheriff’s Office, is to be as transparent to our community as possible so that your trust in our work throughout the community is strengthened. Lake County is a tremendous place to call home and we are proud to be your Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Frank Leonbruno