On Jan. 1, 2017, Mark Lamb was elected as the 24th Sheriff of Pinal County, Ariz. He was sworn in on a mission to strengthen the relationship between the department and the community. Sheriff Lamb’s strategy is one of integrity and a “lead by example” philosophy that he instills in his department and routinely discusses with the public who have entrusted him with his position.
The following interview offers insight into why you need to know about Sheriff Mark Lamb:
A: My mission statement is as simple as my campaign slogan: “Fear not, do right.” I tell my deputies and detention officers, “Keep doing right, and everything will work out.” Put a different way, when all is said and done, I want to be known as someone who is a patriot, defends freedom, supports the Constitution and does what is right.
A: I believe that the separation of church and state has been taken out of context. The separation does not take God out of anything. I believe the intentions of our Founding Fathers were to establish that no single church would run the country. Our nation was founded on Christian values, but it also welcomes and respects other religious beliefs.
I believe people are hungry for values. People come up to me and thank me for being open about my beliefs and convictions. I’m very open about religion. I don’t shy away from it, but I also don’t push it onto others.
I tell all of my new deputies and detention officers that they need to be anchored to something. This job will expose them to the ugliest side of the human race—everything from abuse and neglect to homicide. It is imperative for them to have a solid foundation to keep them grounded.
A: I view it as not only being a protector of the Constitution, but also, as a conservative, understanding the importance of being bonded by laws. Laws are what keep us connected and grounded to what’s important as a society and as a country. If you’re not grounded and held accountable, things can get out of control.
I also believe the Constitution is a divine document that limits the power and reach of government, not the people. As sheriff, I understand that the freedoms granted to us by the Constitution to make choices also means the freedom to make bad choices. That’s where personal responsibility is important. There are times when I will have to intervene and voice objection to others in law enforcement who, despite their good intentions to control a situation or public behavior, are attempting to violate the Constitution and an individual’s rights. I feel very strongly that these are rights that must be protected. Benjamin Franklin famously said that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
A: Any time there’s a situation involving children, it can be extremely difficult. Those stick with you, and most of us don’t talk about them much because we compartmentalize in order to deal with it.
One of the worst that stands out to me involved a woman who was attempting to discipline her children by locking them in the trunk of her car during the summer. By the time we arrived, the children had all died. I can still see the scratch marks on the inside of the trunk from them trying to get out. She went to prison.
A: There are two main things I have learned in life and have adopted into my career. First, things are not always what they appear to be. Second, things always have a way of working themselves out. Beyond those two things, I encourage everyone to be authentic and to be themselves, to surrender to the outcome, and to not be afraid to do uncomfortable work.
A: One of the things I currently enjoy most is watching and following UFC. I’m a huge fan of the sport. I share my birthday, July 14, with the UFC great Conor McGregor, and I would love the chance to have lunch with UFC President, Dana White.
A: I carry a full-size Glock both on and off duty—either a G34 or G17 with Trijicon sights. When I took over as Sheriff, the department had various models and calibers. I made the decision to standardize for many reasons, such as having a common caliber and for training purposes. My duty rifle is a full-auto M4 SBR manufactured by Sionics Weapons Systems with an EOTech sight.
A: I view being on TV as a way to help people view what we do as law enforcement on a national level. Shows such as Live PD have allowed us as a department to showcase police as real people and as being approachable. The men and women of my department are passionate about their jobs and deserve to be recognized for the work they do.
Looking and being approachable is one of the reasons I choose to dress the way I do. I am the sheriff. I’m not a deputy. I am not pretending to be out there taking calls every day. I want people to feel comfortable coming up and talking to me.
A: Honestly, I’m not a role model guy. I’ve always felt it’s more important to be true to yourself, but to take bits and pieces—certain qualities and attributes—from different people to become your own person.
I am, however, a big believer and supporter of mentorship. The ability to extract lessons learned from others’ experiences can be invaluable if you want to consistently strive to be as great as you can be.