MARSHALL DEMOCRAT NEWS


Published in "Taking Strides for the Future," a special edition by The
Marshall Democrat-News, Friday, March 20, 2009.

Saline County Sheriff Wally George featured in statewide law
enforcement publication

By ERIC CRUMP
Editor

Wally George has worn the Saline County Sheriff’s badge for three
decades now. That’s a mark of how local voters feel about his public
service, but in that time he has also become a mentor and valued
resource for law enforcement officials around the state, according to
a feature story about George published recently in The Missouri Sheriff.

The magazine, published by the Missouri Sheriff’s Association,
includes quotes from a number of sheriffs in the state who cite George
as a go-to guy in their profession.

Ray County Sheriff Samuel Clemens calls George “an icon,” and
Lafayette County Sheriff Kerrick Alumbaugh says George always takes
seriously any problem brought to him. “If you go in and see him and
you’ve got a problem — now he’s got a problem.”

That characteristic — taking people seriously — is something he
applies not just to colleagues but to everyone in his jurisdiction, too.
The article cites George’s respectful treatment of “his people” in the
county, including those who land in what he refers to on the Sheriff’s
Department Web site as “the most unpopular bed & breakfast in town” —
aka the Saline County jail.

George is quoted in the article as saying he communicates regularly
with inmates.

I want them to know that they’re not just thrown in a cell and
forgotten about. They’re human being and they deserve to be answered.”
The article also recounts George’s career, the highlights of which
many long-time county residents may be familiar with but newcomers may
not know.

Those who have seen his recent escorts provided for veterans and
service men and women may not be surprised to know that George served
in the Navy during the Vietnam war. He was a gunner on the U.S.S.
Maddox.

After his honorable discharge in 1966 he soon began a law enforcement
career that included work as a Slater police officer, a county
dispatcher, a sheriff’s deputy and finally, in 1979, he became acting
sheriff when Sheriff Henry Hoff died.

He was later elected to the post and has been re-elected every four
years since.

The article begins, though, by noting George’s practice of starting
each day sending reports to local media outlets, one key to the
respect he has earned from county voters.

He sees the media as a conduit for communicating with constituents,
who “need to know what I’m doing. I’m 100 percent open to the folks
who put me here,” he said in the article.

He’s known for his openness and respect, but as Jim Simmerman,
director of the Saline County Criminal Justice Training Center
observed recently, he’s also known for his visage.

Who else can campaign for office with signs that only show an outline
of a face sporting a big mustache? Simmerman wondered.

But everyone in Saline County knows who that mustache belongs to.

On the Net:
www.salinecountysheriff.com
www.mosheriffs.com/publications.php

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