By Trey Rusk
When you sell your oath of office, character and official acts, you become a useless bag of fecal matter. Your character is your greatest asset. It should be kept intact. The offer itself has to be made by someone who believes you could be bought. If someone ever approaches you and makes you a dishonest offer, then it may be time to polish up your character.
I worked with people that exhibited behavior flaws. Corrupt people are drawn to corrupt people. One of my first supervisors became a victim of greed and decided to sell gun evidence that was supposed to be destroyed. He was given this task because he was viewed as an honest police officer. His plan was flawed. The first hint of corruption was the lack of a witness to the disposal. His second mistake was selling the weapons to an honest person who was suspicious of the transaction. The third blunder was signing official government documents relating to the disposal. Each falsified document was a felony. The entire unit was in shock at his behavior. Once the news hit the bullpen he was never seen again. I didn't feel sorry for him. I felt sorry for his family.
On another occasion, I was called to the scene of a bar shooting and the DRT (dead right there) arrived at the morgue with missing property. A local police officer that I had known for at least ten years was later found to be the person who stole a cell phone from the DRT. I would have never suspected him of wrong doing. I also would not have expected him to be an idiot who called a friend on a stolen cell phone. That's right, stupidity in the first degree. He was fired and again I felt sorry for his family. Screw him. He was crooked.
Today I read an article about a federal judge who was convicted in South Texas for bribery. The jury convicted Rodolfo "Rudy" Delgado, 65, of Edinburg, following a six-day trial of one count of conspiracy, three counts of federal program bribery, three counts of travel act bribery and one count of obstruction of justice. Now what makes this case stand out to me was the total amount of the three bribes. It was $5720.00. A lifetime appointed federal judge took a reasonably small amount of cash over three transactions and forfeited his character, respect and family name. Injudiciousness would be an apt description of this crime.
I have not known many judges or police officers to break their trust to the people and I hope it stays this way. However, one dishonest official stains us all.
Another way to look at it is to observe the examples of trust by our elected officials.
I believe that public servants who are allowed to vote themselves a pay raise or establish their own pay scale cannot be trusted. Elected officials and appointed officials that have removed the oversight of the people they represent are representing themselves and not the citizens.
Public trust may have eroded to the point of no return. I hope not.
That's the way I see it.