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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Laurie Pritchett, April 23, 1976. Interview B-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Argument against the political election of police sheriffs

Pritchett's dislike of politicians thrives from the politicization of the sheriff office holders. His contempt for the political position of sheriff is apparent, and his sentiments appear earlier in the interview as well.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Laurie Pritchett, April 23, 1976. Interview B-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JAMES RESTON, Jr.: You talked about this for a minute, but let me broaden the question a bit. There is an image in the United States of the southern sheriffs. You can see it in the movies; you can see it on the Dodge ads and all of that. How do you suppose that got fixed?
LAURIE PRITCHETT:
Well, it's plain to me, you know, that the sheriffs are elected politically. They're not trained law enforcement. You've got people that are elected sheriffs that never had a bit of training in their whole life: insurance salesmen, farmers. This is my wife Betty. JAMES RESTON, Jr.: How do you do. Jim Reston. Mrs. Pritchett: Hello, how do you do.
LAURIE PRITCHETT:
They're political appointments. And this is the reason I say that I don't have any love for politicians. A sheriff gets out here. He runs on the platform to get the votes. And when he gets elected there's a group over here that supported him; he's not going to enforce the laws against them. And it is a corn pone situation, the way I look at it. It's a disrespect for the law enforcement profession. I think that anybody who is sheriff, he is the chief law enforcement of his given county. And we've got so many, I'd say ninety-five percent of the sheriffs in this...I don't know but one in this whole country (that's Jim Pintras out in Los Angeles County), I can't name on my hand five qualified sheriffs rather than Jim Pintras, just openly speaking, in the United States. And this is the reason that I think that it ought to be done away with. Any time you get elected you get elected by people who expect something from you. And this is the reason I have no love for politicians; and I never could be one because of that fact.