We have been in a time of civil unrest and uncertainty. This has spread fear across the nation with questions of where we go from here.
I personally do not recall such a time of so many emotions fueled by fear and hatred being spread across the nation, hatred towards a certain community, race and profession. I am saddened by the misrepresentations, the misinformation and the fearmongering causing a continued message of despair. It feels like we are entering times of civil war.
I am frustrated with the leadership that is using these times for political gains, adding to the fears and uncertainty and the finger pointing and excuses that are unproductive and irresponsible. The media is using that same fear to paint a picture so bleak that people do not know what to believe and are afraid to live their normal lives.
As your sheriff, I want to assure you that we are not going anywhere, and we will continue to do our best to keep our community a safe place. I am not suggesting there is no need for changes in how things are done, both by law enforcement agencies and the communities in which they serve. But to suggest in any way that it makes sense to disband police departments, in my opinion, is simply ridiculous.
I can say from personal experience that during these times, we at Mille Lacs County have experienced the greatest outpouring of support from our community members. Almost daily, I receive a thank you from community members simply passing by to let us know we are not alone, and we are not hated by the majority of the people we serve. I would also agree that this is most likely true across the state. Unfortunately this is not newsworthy or sensationalized enough to put out for the world to see because it does not create enough controversy to sell.
I apologize to those media outlets who are not fueling the fire and are trying to convey the right message, including our very own local media. Unfortunately, the large media corporations are giving the impression that the majority of the people want to eliminate all of the law enforcement agencies across the globe, implying they are doing more harm than good. This would also include some of our leaders who are quick to jump on board before receiving all of the facts in their attempt to make political gains.
I am writing this message, yes, under some frustrations, and maybe not even being politically correct. However, I do believe that we need to take a step back and assess the situation, to work together as communities to solve these issues, to make these communities safe places to move around freely without fear, and to leave politics behind.
We at the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office are open for business, and as long as I am your sheriff, that will continue. I sincerely thank all of you for your kind words and support. We are in this together. This is not my sheriff’s office; this is our sheriff’s office.
Don Lorge is the sheriff of Mille Lacs County.