The year 2020 has been the most challenging year our communities have faced in a very long time. As a sworn officer for 30 years, I would have thought I had experienced just about every challenge a peace officer could face. Unfortunately, there seem to be more undesirable surprises around every turn.
Despite all the challenges, there are some very good things to speak of related to the safety and security of our citizens. I have to wonder how many people, particularly from the rural communities, understand how well things have actually improved for rural law enforcement?
While the metro areas are hearing from ultraleft voices insisting on defunding the police, our rural areas such as Iowa County are hearing from a very supportive community. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say “Thank you” or “We support you.”
That support doesn’t just come from our local citizens, it also comes from afar. I receive notes, cards and letters from people who have traveled through our communities to offer their thanks and appreciation.
Since becoming a sworn officer, I have experienced the support (or lack thereof) of five different presidential administrations. The support we receive from the current administration is far and away the best support in all my years. This sheriff, from a small county in Iowa, has been a guest in President Donald Trump’s White House on three separate occasions. I receive communications from the administration on a regular basis and my opinion is sought on a variety of public safety subjects.
This administration’s Department of Justice has been very helpful dealing with our most dangerous criminals. The United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Iowa works with us when dealing with the worst of the worst offenders. Those who pollute our communities with drugs and violence are sought by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice. With their help, we are able to get these dangerous people out of our communities.
In past administrations, the law enforcement emphasis has been on the concrete neighborhoods of the inner cities. This administration understands that the areas served by gravel roads are just as important as those of the large metro areas. Rural needs do not take a back seat to more populated areas; crime is crime and victims are victims no matter where offenses occur.
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No administration in my memory has asked how rural Iowa is affected by the illegal immigration issue. If you weren’t a border state, you didn’t matter. That is not the case today. The Trump administration understands the illegal immigration issue has nationwide ramifications and rural Iowa is not spared.
When federal assets are no longer needed, this administration has made those assets available to local law enforcement. Our leftist friends complain that such assets are used to militarize local law enforcement. I’d like to point out that on three occasions this calendar year alone, my agency was involved in events utilizing an armored vehicle to apprehend violent subjects. In each episode the suspect had already fired weapons. In all three events, no one was injured; not the suspect and not the officers. Without the armored asset, I guarantee the results would not have been so successful. I’d much rather use an armored vehicle to end violence over a firearm any day.
The purpose of this letter ultimately is to thank all the people that have my deputies’ backs. From the person on the street with a friendly wave, to the president of the United States, and all those people in between, I thank you with all my heart.
Robert A. Rotter is sheriff of Iowa County.