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‘A Government in Desert Exile’

As preparation for “A Government in Desert Exile” (Part I, Nov. 13), Times staff writer William Trombley interviewed me as mayor of Barstow.

While the article is, in fact, a fair representation of the opinions of the people living in the High Desert, it unfortunately attributes a quote to me that is grossly incorrect. The sentence in question reads, “Our roads are poorly maintained, and we get lousy service from the Sheriff.”

While the first half of that sentence is accurate relative to road maintenance, the second suggesting “lousy service from the Sheriff” is far from how I feel about the Sheriff’s service to the High Desert area. Sheriff Floyd Tidwell has the unfortunate responsibility of attempting to provide law enforcement area of 20,000 square miles, an area larger than many states in the U.S. and some countries worldwide. While law enforcement services provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department may not satisfy some in unincorporated urbanized areas, our Sheriff’s Department, in fact, provides services far beyond those which might be expected in other counties throughout California.

The city of Barstow which maintains its own police force to provide municipal levels of law enforcement has always worked well with Sheriff Tidwell and his officers, and that relationship continues to improve as time goes by.

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We in the high desert have long felt neglected by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, and that is most probably the most underlying reason for the Mojave County movement. We now have a new supervisor representing the high desert and the First District of San Bernardino County, and we are in hopes that the relationships will improve.

In closing I can only say that if we get the same level of service from the county as a whole as we do from the Sheriff’s Department, I doubt if the Mojave County movement would ever have developed.

BILL E. POPE

Mayor of Barstow

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