Following our last publication, our reporter was invited to sit down for a chat with Sheriff Max Holden in his office in Clifton Forge regarding the raid of the Tavola Calda some weeks ago. There seems to be a storm brewing between the different law enforcement agencies at work within our fair town, and in this edition of the Telegraph, we are taking a closer look at the issue, as seen from the local Sheriff’s department’s point of view.
Sheriff Holden, who is a happily engaged family man and proud father of a newborn son, is clear to point out from the very beginning of our interview that he is wanting to set the record straight in regards to the raid on the Tavola, as well as the rather sharp criticism his department, as well as the CFPD received from Special Agent Smith in our previous interview with him. He tells us that he considers it “ sad times we’re in when federal agents are throwing local officials under the bus and then using that as a platform to further their careers.” The Sheriff also seems to be questioning the entirety of Agent Smith’s motive, and there is room to speculate whether perhaps the HSI Special Agent is just trying to use our town for his own advancement on the political ladder.
The Sheriff claims, that Special Agent Smith, who was awarded a medal from the President only recently prior to moving to Clifton Forge, for taking down a human trafficking ring in Chicago, had made no attempts to contact his office or arrange any sort of joint operation before the raid. He states that he was not made aware of the agent’s presence in town by other means but by a chance encounter when a civilian, who happens to be an acquaintance to the sheriff himself, was called in for backup by Agent Smith when Sheriff Holden was present. He also states that if this had not been the case, and no contact had been made whatsoever, there was no telling how many dead bodies there would have been as a result.
Sheriff Holden goes on to explain that “I would like to say that I am shocked, but…whether it is HSI or just Agent Smith, from my own experience, civilian lives are just not as important as making the arrest, which is completely backwards from the oath I took.” And as one of those civilians who were present at the scene, and narrowly avoided ending up in the line of fire by escaping into someone’s private garden, our reporter wonders just how worried one needs to be about setting foot on the street with these forces on the move throughout town.
Throughout the interview, it becomes more and more clear that there has been a considerable lack in communication between the different departments and agencies, at least according to our sheriff, who besides our quaint little town is in charge of the department’s operations in our 400 square miles county. Throughout the seemingly insubstantial contact that has been conducted, Holden claims that Smith “never once mentioned he was investigating anyone in town, or that he was planning a raid on any local business” and furthermore adds that the first time he heard of the raid at all was when reading about it in the Telegraph.
He goes on to wonder whether in fact the federal agent is entirely aware of the nature of our town, how it as a community operates, and whether he has understood that the sheriff’s attention is also required outside of city limits, especially since the population boom has led to the forming of the CFPD. He lets us know that when he joined the department, they were the sole operating force, and there was very little crime in the area with no dead bodies to speak of besides those that can be attributed to wild animal attacks. But with the recent increase in population, and the rise in crime that has come with it, the picture is rather different. So different, in fact, that Sheriff Holden, who had planned to resign in order to spend more time with his young family, does not feel able to do so. He tells us his “plans have been put on hold until he knows that this community is safe” and that “I will always do my best to protect those in my charge, even if it is against others who took the same oath I did. I live here in Clifton Forge, with my fiance and we have a newborn son. I am deeply entrenched in this community, unlike these federal agents[…]This is my home.”
To end our interview with Sheriff Holden, he wants to make it clear that he doesn’t know that big crime has in fact arrived in Clifton Forge, as Agent Smith Claims, but that the spike in recent crime can be put down to growing pains from an increased population. Furthermore, he believes the solution to the situation is better cooperation between branches of law enforcement, and he himself intends to try and reopen, as well as strengthen the lines of communication between his own department and the CFPD, to unify them in protecting the town and its residents.
Last but not least he has this parting statement for our readers:
“I urge the citizens of Clifton Forge to not fall into the trap of fear mongers, and remind them that they are our number one resource in fighting any crime in our city. As a community we can make our city safer, cleaner, happier[…] We just have to work together and that starts with them. If you see something, say something.”