A debate involving Lonoke County Sheriff's deputies has residents questioning the separation between church and state. KATV, Channel 7 News reports that Sheriff John Staley says the LCSO might be adding ‘In God We Trust' on the back of all 25 patrol cars.
“It's to build morale, it’s to let the people know that as an agency, we are trusting in a higher power to protect us,” Staley said. “I got some calls and a packet from the Sheriff’s Association saying ‘Hey other Sheriff’s have done this.” They put ‘In God we Trust’ which is the national motto.”
Staley posed the question to Lonoke County residents on Facebook. To his surprise he received an overwhelming response. “That’s probably the busiest post I’ve every posted,” Staley said.
Staley said the decals are not about religion and would cost residents nothing.
“This says ‘In God We Trust’. It doesn't say anything about what religion is right, what religion is wrong. We are not sponsoring a religion. We are past all that,” Staley said. “We are not using tax payer dollars.”
Now that the public has weighed in, the final decision will be up to the deputies.
“I am going to expect about 80-hand written clips of paper that says ‘yes or no.’ They can even type it on the computer so I don't see their hand writing. Slide it under my door so I know yes or no,” Staley said.
Deputy Giaicomo Portale to Channel 7 News he thinks it sends the right message.
“We try to do the best we can and I think that represents that and I am for it being on my patrol car,” Portale said.
Staley said he agrees.
“I believe the people in Lonoke County want us to put this on our patrol units,” Staley said.
According to Staley, Perry, Cross and Franklin county have put the decals on their car. Staley said the deputies will vote on the decals on Monday.