Hello, I’m Ray Sawyer!
I’m running for Sheriff of White Pine County. This is the third in a series of articles where I would like to take some time to open up about my life and give everyone a chance to get to know me better personally AND gain some insight about my values.
I have often had to balance the role of law enforcement and victim advocate. Many believe doing this is like mixing oil and water, it is easy to see that these two perspectives might clash at times, but as a father whose daughter has been an victim of a assault, I bring a different perspective to the job.
In 2013 my wife and I received “the call” (we were on the road traveling so the call was unclear and full of static). A nurse at a hospital in Arizona was calling to tell us that our daughter had been assaulted, her injuries required immediate surgery, how quickly can we get there? The drive naturally seemed to take forever. The weeks that followed are a blur, but one clear memory I have is the “victim-blaming” and insensitivities that further traumatized not only our daughter but our entire family. I believe that victims of crimes who are being served by agencies that place the needs of the organization above the needs of the victims are at the root of the problem. The disregard of victims’ needs by law enforcement agencies or criminal prosecutors often mimic a victims’ experiences at the hands of their assailants. In order to understand each other it is important to lead with sensitivity and compassion. I would like to see more offenders held accountable for their crimes. I believe this begins with good quality police work. It is our responsibility to provide a quality investigation to ensure offender can be held accountable. In our personal situation the law enforcement officers did just that, but where the system failed us was a failure to prosecute, partially due to a prosecutor who had become desensitized to the violence, one who found it easier to blame the victim than to fight for her. In my balancing act I maintain a diligent fight to never become insensitive to our victims, I believe justice can only be served when victims are able to successfully participate in the process of a law enforcement investigation and criminal prosecution. I believe as your Sheriff I will be able to provide the necessary training and guidance to our officers to maintain a compassionate outlook towards victims while holding offenders accountable all by doing thorough police work. This will also require they earn a reputation of integrity that holds credibility in our court system.
Miss the first article? Read it HERE