A weekly column from Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson on the state of Sheriff's Office and Columbia County Jail operations

The criminal justice system in Columbia County consists of the elected judges, district attorney, and sheriff as well as the appointed judges and police chiefs in the cities, and the appointed county officials in the courts and community justice department.

It is a high honor to be elected by fellow citizens to serve in any capacity. To do so within the auspices of the criminal justice system is truly a humbling experience.

by: FILE PHOTO - DickersonTo lead is to invite criticism, and that is true in Columbia County as it is in Salem, or Washington, D.C. People exercise their freedom to express their disagreement with judges, with the district attorney and with the sheriff. They can affect how each does his or her job either by voting them out of office or by giving or withholding additional funding to get the job done.

As we continue to focus our energies on the pending closure of the jail, I have made it clear that I intend to carry out the will of the people with a servant’s heart. I am also meeting with these elected officials and the municipal leaders, working with them to find the best possible way to carry out the functions of this system.

We are fortunate in this county to have officials in the criminal justice system who are committed to working together on this issue. There is tremendous stress — to be sure — as we figure out how to make this happen in the best interests of all concerned, but there is also a tremendous desire to work hand-in-hand as fellow servants of the people.

That is how the founders of our state and nation thought it should be. Each of us has a vision of how things ought to be. But each of us also knows the value of working together to solve problems and make the most of what we have to get the job done on behalf of the citizens we serve.

It continues to be a great honor to serve this community and to work with the truly committed members of the sheriff’s office, police departments, 9-1-1 staff, prosecutor’s office, judges and court staff, and adult and juvenile community justice staff, who make our criminal justice system work.

Jeff Dickerson is sheriff of Columbia County.

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