Partisan Political Activity

evought's picture

Given that we perform uniformed service for the Sheriff's Office, we need to follow some rules regarding political activity.
First, do not engage in any partisan political activity (direct support for a candidate or party) while in uniform or on duty. You may participate in political events as a Sergeant-at-Arms, crowd control, or similar capacity as long as you do not participate in the political activity. You may also participate in community events with a political component in uniform performing outreach as an LCSA volunteer (e.g. working an information booth or handing out literature on the LCSA) again, provided that you do not participate in the partisan activity.
When not in uniform, you may not associate your partisan political activity with the LCSA, with your Auxiliary position or title, or with the county. Make it clear that any political statements made are personal in nature. Do not state, imply, or allow to be implied that the Auxiliary or the Office of the Sheriff endorses any candidate or party.
Political statements, letters-to-the-editor, and so forth on issues or policies (e.g. 2nd Amendment advocacy or law enforcement) are much less of a problem provided that you clearly state whether opinions are:

  • official statements on the issue of the LCSA (made, say, in a resolution by the Board of Directors) or of the Sheriff's Office
  • official opinions of your office within the Auxiliary ("As the LCSA Quartermaster, it is my official opinion that the proposed law will make it difficult for volunteer organizations to accept or properly account for in-kind donations of equipment.")
  • purely personal opinions ("The Auxiliary officially supports the shall-issue CCW process as it stands; as a private citizen, I am in favor of giving the local Sheriff more discretion to deny applications.")

Disagreements on issues and policy within the LCSA should be approached tactfully, to not expose dirty laundry best kept between members. When issues must be spoken of, again, make clear whose opinion is whose: "As quartermaster, I am not in favor of the proposed policy; my superior, the Chief-of-Staff is, but the Auxiliary as a whole has no official statement." Most often, it is best to simply avoid these sorts of complexities.
We serve the office of the Sheriff, not the person of the Sheriff. Volunteers of the Auxiliary endorsing a candidate for Sheriff must approach the situation with care and tact and must not do so in uniform or in our offical capacity. If the Sheriff's Office changes hands, we must be able to do our jobs without personality issues or political baggage. Who you vote for is no one's business.