For those who are new to the area, Western North Carolina law enforcement is prone to scandal. In recent weeks, we have heard allegations of wrongdoing by Asheville’s chief of police. Those were followed by similar complaints about the Buncombe County sheriff. Then, drugs were found in the locker of an officer who had been arrested for this, that, and the other thing. I try to leave these stories alone because the justice system, not public policy blog spots, is charged with determining whether these easy targets were framed or not. If history decides they’re guilty, since good governance is based on patterns and not exceptions in human behavior, adding to the personal disgrace of deviant outliers is still beyond the scope of this venue. But it is fair to say the general masses ought to hold their law enforcement departments accountable to standards of respectability and public trust.

Instead, a headline in the Watauga Democrat, “Thirty Area Residents Charged in Drug, Firearms Investigation,” prompted the thought, “Funny. We’ve got more than that in our police department alone.”