Monday, December 13, 2010

An inspiring story?

When referring to a former co-worker, a company is often very careful. Even if the co-worker was a complete jerk, the company takes great pains to discuss the co-worker's positive traits.

Take the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which devotes a number of pages to its past sheriffs. One such past sheriff is Billy Long. Long's page starts off in an inspiring manner:

A lifelong resident of Hamilton County, Billy grew up in Tiftonia. He was the youngest of four children. His father owned and operated Woodrow Long’s Garage and Wrecker Service in Tiftonia for many, many years. Billy graduated from Central High School in 1970. His class was the first to graduate from the new Central on 58 Hwy. After high school, Billy joined the Army. Billy was a volunteer to the Army even though Vietnam was in full swing at the time. His first three years in the Army, he served with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, N.C.

When he returned to Chattanooga, Long accomplished a number of achievements. For example:

He also worked in traffic for many years and was one of two officers to start the Motorcycle Division of the county in 1981 and conducted the first training classes for other Hamilton County Agencies.

He was lauded for many other accomplishments. For example:

He also served as Special Events Coordinator for events that are conducted throughout Hamilton County to include the Riverbend Festival, the County Fair at Chester Frost Park, and the Air Show at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.


In 2004, he conceived the idea and became the first Court Liaison Officer for the Hamilton County Criminal and Sessions Courts. As a direct result of this, his coordination with the Criminal Court Systems saved the County thousands of tax dollars.

After five paragraphs that lauded Long for these and other accomplishments, his educational degree, and his participation in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, we reach the final paragraph of Long's biography - the one that discusses his accomplishments as Sheriff:

And finally, Billy was elected as Sheriff of Hamilton County and took office September 1, 2006. He served for approximately seventeen (17) months before being indicted on twenty-seven charges, convicted, and subsequently incarcerated for a fourteen year sentence.

The end. Wow. But more of the story is available from other sources:

Former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long apologized publicly for the first time Wednesday at his sentencing hearing in federal court, but he couldn’t explain why he became a drug dealer, a decision that destroyed his 31-year law enforcement career and netted him a 14-year prison term....

Mr. Long’s crimes, in which authorities established he acted alone, began in early 2007 with his shakedown of local Indian convenience store owners, taking in about $23,000 with threats of violence caught on videotape.

The government then created the premise of a fictitious drug cartel in Mexico that needed Mr. Long’s help to launder its money, something Mr. Summers admitted his client bought “hook, line and sinker.”

Judge Mattice ultimately rejected claims that the government’s year-long undercover sting somehow influenced Mr. Long’s choice to continually break the law.

But those Motorcycle Division training classes were wonderful.

What's the lesson here? There is good and bad in ALL of us.
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