Opinion: Clark County Councilor Gary Medvigy explains ‘Why I signed’

Medvigy: ‘I know this judge-like prudence is frustrating for some, however it’s why you elected me; to keep a cool head in times like these and to respect the rule of law’

Editor’s note: Opinions and viewpoints expressed in this column are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com 

In retrospect, I should have written my own letter about the sheriff department “thin blue line” controversy and want to state my individual position. I fully support local law enforcement, they are being unfairly targeted across the nation for the bad acts of very few. They serve the public honorably everyday in an increasingly dangerous environment and need our support.

Clark County Councilor Gary Medvigy
Clark County Councilor Gary Medvigy

Our Sheriff department deputies make many contacts everyday with the public in just the way we expect as the public’s ambassadors in enforcing our laws. In Clark County, they enjoy a very low rate of complaint from the public and are exceptional in their work. We are all safer because of their service to the community.

Law enforcement should not be blamed for prejudice that exists in society as a whole, nor should any individual ever tolerate prejudice anywhere in our community. This is especially true throughout the justice system, from the initial police contact, to a prosecutor’s charge, to the judicial proceeding, all must be conducted to ensure equal justice under the law. Transparency, best practices and reform throughout our justice system must be an ongoing process, so that no one is above the law, nor treated unfairly.

In 1963 Martin Luther King stood in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln’s monument and called out for that change in society. I personally became a Republican in my heart as a child, in great measure because of the momentous and bold leadership of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. We still have some work to do to fully achieve that proclamation. Now is an opportunity for meaningful change and we should not squander it.

The thin blue line meant to me and everyone I knew, support for law enforcement and their families when an officer was killed in the line of duty. It meant a respect and love of service and the sacrifice that comes with it while serving the community. I said as much in that council meeting.

Our Sheriff said that in his letter to the NAACP. But he also recognized that others in the community had given that icon other meanings that were divisive. The entirety of the community is served by the Sheriff Department and all must have trust in it.

I was on many peacekeeping missions in the military, so I understand order is paramount to avoid chaos. I signed the letter to show my respect for the office of Sheriff and my recognition that this unofficial flag on public vehicles had very negative meanings for some in the community. It was his decision to make.

The real work will be done on the Law and Justice Council where it belongs. I know this judge-like prudence is frustrating for some, however it’s why you elected me; to keep a cool head in times like these and to respect the rule of law.

Yours in service,

Gary Medvigy

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