Editorial: Full disclosure

I confess! And the confession is this:

Once I got a speeding ticket here in Rappahannock County issued by the sheriff’s office. On the way to work one morning, from Amissville to Washington, well over a year ago (I forget exactly when), a deputy pulled me over. Professional law-enforcement officer that he was, he ignored my best protestations and pleadings and issued the ticket anyway — which I subsequently paid with no further argument on my part.

I must now confess to this transgression — and possible conflict of interest — because of an editorial two weeks ago in which I raised the question of “misplaced priorities” in the sheriff’s office. At least one reader, in a private email to me, raised the follow-up question that perhaps I had an axe to grind against the sheriff’s office because of my speeding ticket.

I asked the reader if the newspaper could publish his long, articulate and thoughtful email as a letter to the editor in this week’s edition, but he declined. Thus this editorial — in which I raise the same conflict-of-interest question that he did.

One of the positives (or negatives?) of living and working in a small community like Rappahannock County is that there are few issues which remain abstractions. Everything is personal.

So it was in my editorial two weeks ago wondering why the sheriff’s office had withdrawn from the State-Police-sponsored, multi-county Blue Ridge Drug and Gang Task Force. Young people I personally know have told me many stories about the prevalence of illicit drug use here in the county. Also many people I personally know have been cited for speeding here in the county.

Should I have disclosed that I was one of those speeders? Yes!

Walter Nicklin
Publisher

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