The Mayor of Mayberry, North Carolina sadly announced the death of Sheriff Andy Taylor today.  No details on the cause of death are immediately available.

Sheriff Taylor served the small community near Mount Pilot with distinction for many years.  A law enforcement pioneer, Sheriff Taylor used community policing techniques long before the term was commonly used in the 1980’s. Sheriff Taylor understood the necessity of knowing his community and the role he could play in being a problem solver in addition to enforcing the law.

Taylor was well known for the grace with which he supervised others, using an inclusive leadership style which should be a best practices model for all law enforcement executives.  He developed outstanding results in subordinates because he expected the best from them and supported them in making good decisions on the job.

Andy Taylor understood the “Broken Windows Theory of Policing” long before Wilson and Kelling published their groundbreaking work of how neighborhood decay affects crime rates. Taylor’s understanding of his community and its residents served him well throughout his long and distinguished career as a law enforcement officer.  Taylor was a role model in his respect for diversity during an era of segregation.

Sheriff Taylor was an expert in use of force policies, so much so that he rarely felt the need to carry a weapon.  He was well versed in the use of less-than-lethal means of force, again a pioneer of criminal justice theory 30 years before most LEO’s fully understood this issue.

Perhaps the hallmark of Taylor’s career was his exquisitely well-honed use of police discretion. His advanced methods of handling individuals with alcoholism and mental illness were far ahead of his time, a model which could be used in the present day with excellent results.  In essence, Sheriff Taylor invented mental health and drug courts 40 years before these concepts arrived in the big city.

Finally, Sheriff Taylor was a single father in an era in which that situation was quite rare.  He was well-rounded, demonstrating stress-reducing wellness practices for LEOs such as playing music, relaxing with friends, walking for exercise, and spending quality time fishing with his son.

The Mount Pilot Police Department will handle calls for the Mayberry Sheriff’s office this week under a mutual aid agreement.  Acting Mayberry Sheriff Barney Fife advised, “There will never be another Sheriff like Andy Taylor.  Mayberry will never be the same without him.”

Taylor leaves behind a son, Opie, to mourn his loss.  Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor, gone but never forgotten.

End of Watch:  July 3, 2012

This, of course, is LET’s homage to veteran actor, singer, author, musician, comedian, and director Andy Griffith who died this morning at home in Manteo, NC.  He created an unforgettable character, Sheriff Andy Taylor, honoring Griffith’s affection for his own Mount Airy, North Carolina country roots.  Griffith’s sensitive portrayal of a small-town law enforcement officer joins the ranks of an elite group of iconic television characters including Marshal Matt Dillon, Lt. Theo Kojak, Sgt. Joe Friday, and Lt. Columbo.

LET honors the late Andy Griffith this day for his heartfelt and authentic portrayal of an honest, ethical, hard-working, creative, and effective law enforcement officer.  The Andy Griffith Show has been on television without a break, either original shows or in syndication, since its debut on October 3, 1960.  Thank you, Mr. Griffith, for 52 years of celebrating this honorable profession.

Now whistle that theme song in your head for the rest of today!  You can hear it, right?