OKC Protest Saturday

Protesters hold signs during a Black Lives Matter protest, Sunday, May 31, 2020, at the intersection of NW 36th and N. Kelley Ave.

Tempers are boiling over as protests quickly become riots across the United States.

Law enforcement officers across the country have found themselves in the spotlight.

In watching the events unfold, Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton described himself as both discouraged and blessed.

"As we look at law enforcement across the nation, it is and always will be held with high expectations of professionalism and accountability, as it should be. Our authority gives us the ability to take freedoms and life from individuals, those decisions aren't taken lightly," Walton said. "I'm very fortunate. The area I serve is truly at peace with itself."

Walton said Rogers County has it's fair share of "bad guys and career criminals."

"But we're blessed. I don't feel racial tension here. And I never have in the 12 years I've served here. I certainly don't take that for granted," he said. "It's very disappointing to see protests become what they were last night in Tulsa. I don't think that's called for. Violence doesn't do anything but distract from the subject matter."

Walton said he feels his department is adequately prepared for civil disobedience—but it's never been tested.

"We're more equipped and trained than a lot of small agencies but we're blessed not to have a lot of experience with that because we don't have that civil disobedience here," Walton said.

"I'm very disappointed, now more than ever, to see blatant poor judgement or pure stupidity by law enforcement. What is a very honorable profession unfortunately takes a black eye hit from poor decisions made by an extremely small amount of the profession. I still believe that the law enforcement profession is stellar, it's a good bunch of men and women that do a job that most people want no part of, for very little compensation, and they do it honorably. I just hate to see the poor judgement by a small handful paint us all with the same brush that all cops are that way," Walton said.

"I do not take it for granted that we are blessed to have peace within our community. You don't have to travel far to find communities that aren't that lucky.I've never seen any place better than Rogers County. We all live, work and exist alongside each other peacefully."

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