Washington County Sheriff Glenwood Humphries has made an apology for partially blaming the region's growing crime problem on Hispanics, working mothers and new-comers.
Humphries made the comments Aug. 17 during an address to the County Board of Realtors."It wasn't my intention to offend anyone, but I apologize if I did," he said Wednesday. "I even told some of them before I started talking that they might get offended, but that I was just telling them the way I see it."
Humphries has been with the sheriff's office for nearly 20 years, half of them as sheriff.
"This is my last term, so I don't have to suck up to anybody," he told the crowd of 150 last week.
Humphries reportedly read names from a current jail roster to the audience, singling out Hispanic surnames to illustrate his point.
"I don't think his comments were well thought-out. We had him speak for us once years ago," said Real-tors board member Steve Bradbury said. "But it was nothing like this."
As for newcomers, the sheriff said an increase in area population automatically means more crime. Humphries estimated most of his jail inmates were not born and raised in Washington County.
Realtors board member Julie Stauffer, herself a working mother, said Humphries was "rude" for saying the children of working mothers are more prone to criminal activity.
"I thought it was a really stupid thing to say," she said. "All my kids are good kids. How can he say how a child will turn out if their mother works?"
However, outgoing board president Mike Monk, whose term expires in six weeks, said Humphries comments may have been discourteous but they were necessary to stir public reaction.
"My personal opinion of people in Washington County is that they've got their heads in the sand," he said. "We definitely have a problem here. I don't think (his comments) were smart for him politically though. He's been around for a while, so I guess he can take it."
Humphries said his comment was meant to reflect a greater emphasis on family values and was not intended to offend working women.
"I know it's almost a necessity nowadays for mothers to work," he said. "But I know we see a lot of kids who are doing whatever they want because no one is at home with them."