The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners honored Sheriff Garrison by naming the new law enforcement training center that is opening this fall the “Sheriff Roger Garrison Law Enforcement Training Center.”
Sheriff Garrison took an agency that was no doubt outdated and turned it into one of the most professional law enforcement agencies you will find anywhere. And he did that through making sure his staff received the best possible training on the market.
In 20-plus years in office, Sheriff Garrison has made a lot of friends. Unfortunately, he has also made some enemies.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is that it is simply the nature of the job. Criminals don’t like law enforcement, and Sheriff Garrison has lived for enforcing the law.
Secondly, his position is political and we all know how low some politically minded people will go to destroy the lives of others. And this destruction is often done supposedly in the name of “Jesus.” Now, I am no expert, but something tells me that Jesus is not really part to tearing down people’s lives. But that’s just me.
Sheriff Garrison and I grew up together when he was just called Roger. We were friends in high school and have shared a lot in the last 35 years.
Many people only know him through political channels. They know the sheriff but they don’t know Roger. So they form an opinion. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. He and his family have withstood many poison darts in the last 20 years. But they have prevailed.
I was there the night that Roger bowed his head in prayer and ask God for eternal salvation. God answered his prayer.
We spent several years together worshipping in Chalcedonia Baptist Church.
I was there when Mike and Debbie Champion lost their precious daughter to an automobile accident. Sheriff Garrison had to deliver the news to Mike. The incident was devastating to the family. It was obviously gut wrenching to the sheriff, which was evident by his tears.
He was in the middle of a campaign which he put on hold to be with his friends who had suffered loss.
I was there each time one of his deputies passed away in the line of duty or died from natural causes. He was proud of them yet sickened at their death. I have sat with him afterwards when he had no words to say. He just sat there.
I was there during one election year when past Commissioner Karen Bosch lost her son in an accident. Sheriff Garrison called a few of his friends together and led us in picking up her campaign signs after the election to spare her the job and let her grieve.
These are only a few examples of Sheriff Garrison being Roger.
Sheriff Garrison’s charities have helped so many people in need throughout the years. His charities have improved the quality of life for many children. This is not a requirement of office. It is the sheriff being Roger. And even his charities have come under attack because of politics.
I would have to say that in the last 20 years it has been his wife, Shelia, and son, Wes, that I have had the most compassion for. Imagine what it would be like to hear and read things about your spouse or parent that is nothing less than hateful. But they have survived.
I’m sure if you asked the sheriff about the last 20 years he would tell you that he had made some mistakes. We all have for that matter.
And there have been a few times in the last 35 years that he and I have butted heads. We have had disagreements and arguments. And none of those were enjoyable, as you could imagine.
Heck. Shelia has even scolded me a time or too when I needed it.
But isn’t that what families do? And even though there isn’t any blood relation, Roger, Shelia and Wes have been family to me for most of my life.
So sheriff, some will say that the new training complex that holds your name will be your legacy. It will be nice. I won’t argue that.
But your real legacy will be the things you did for the people I have spoken of and many others like them.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of