April 22, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Know the facts: Tracy Cross not fit for Jasper County Sheriff

Recently, I read a social media post that reminded me of the importance of seeking the truth and not relying on misleading information that pervades the Internet, especially during election season.

On his Facebook page, Tracy Cross for Jasper County Sheriff, Tracy Cross exalted his own family as well as all families of Jasper County’s first responders. Though I do believe Mr. Cross cares about his family, in fact, I believe we ALL care about our families, I question his care for “the well-being of” fellow employees. Mr. Cross writes that he prioritizes “getting to know” his colleagues “personally” because he cares “about their goals, aspirations, and most of all returning them home safely.”

While Mr. Cross certainly expresses an idea that sounds good and that readers may easily believe, it’s crucial readers seek the truth from those who have been directly affected. As a spouse of a first responder, I have seen the effects first-hand of the internal dynamics and how Mr.Cross conducts himself. Mr. Cross does not demonstrate care for those he supervises or their families, unless they belong to his specific community of faith.

Before I continue, I wish to clarify that faith is an important part of my life, and that of my family. I mention the importance of our faith because our faith shapes the way my family serves and cares for others. Our faith recognizes the shared humanity of neighbors, colleagues, and community members, regardless of differences in cultures, beliefs, and practices. Our faith also recognizes the need to serve our community without bias or preferential treatment.

In my experience, Mr. Cross has not expressed any sort of care for our family or even recognition of our shared humanity, whether in the context of the Sheriff’s department or of the community. We have noted a personal bias that has influenced the treatment of my family as well as colleagues former or present that have worked alongside or beneath him.

Instead of prioritizing the development of positive communication with the Jasper County community and providing a safe place for our families to grow, Mr. Cross has prioritized the micromanagement of his subordinates by not allowing them to make decisions and by instilling a fear of discipline or termination. His lack of knowledge, experience, and leadership shows through his treatment of others.

I encourage the people of Jasper County to seek the truth behind the posted words. I encourage the people of Jasper County to talk to all of those who have experienced the dynamics underpinning current conditions.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office deserves a strong servant leader for those willing to sacrifice their lives to keep the community safe. Jasper County needs a leader who provides equal opportunity to employees of all departments, who encourages all employees to grow their own strengths and skills, who provides the safest environment for all citizens. Jasper County needs an unbiased leader who sets aside personal beliefs to ensure the well-being of the Sheriff’s department and of the community. Jasper County deserves a leader whose actions match his words. Jasper County Sheriff’s Office deserves a leader who cares equally about ALL first responders and their families.

Tracy Cross is not the right leader and is not fit for the position of Jasper County Sheriff.

Audia Lazenby