Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton published a personal letter from himself and his office to the citizens of Ravalli County, but residents of Missoula and the entire state and country can take comfort and encouragement from his words.

Here is the letter in it’s entirety as it was published online on Sunday afternoon, with permission from Sheriff Holton.

Happy New Year from the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office.
While everyone is looking to put 2020 behind us and excited for what 2021 will bring, we cannot forget that the circumstances and risks of 2020 did not go away at midnight on December 31st. However I have confidence in Ravalli County and our communities. We are going to survive the current COVID pandemic, but we must be cautious not to lose our sense of community and compassion for each other.

I encourage everyone to give our neighbors and friends the benefit of their positive intent and really talk to each other. Not to argue or disagree, but to learn and understand a different perspective. It does not mean that we always have to agree, but civility, understanding, and mutual respect should always be the goal of our interactions with each other.

With political offices changing in Montana and a national level, the stance of the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office remains the same. Law enforcement is not partisan or political. The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office will continue to uphold our oaths to support, protect, and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Montana. We will enforce the laws of the State of Montana. We will also strive every day to fulfill our mission of keeping Ravalli County a safe place to live, work, play, and visit within the resources provided to us.

I think it is important that we take a moment and thank the health care workers, first responders, and many citizens who have answered the call and worked relentlessly to keep our citizens safe over the last year. Specifically I want to thank the people of Ravalli County Public Health whose tireless efforts have not only assisted, but more importantly comforted many citizens over the last nine months. Your Ravalli County Public Health personnel have managed to balance the act of protecting our citizens without advocating for stringent rules or local orders that would adversely affect citizens' personal lives or businesses. I thank them for being willing to work as a team with all of the various offices and departments in our county.

As we move forward into a new year with new challenges we are excited to say we are looking forward to resuming some old programs that were not possible last year. We expect to hold at least one RCSO Citizens Academy this year and to recruit a new class of Reserve Deputy Sheriff's. Please keep in touch with us if either of those opportunities appeals to you.

Thank you Ravalli County for your immense support of the Sheriff's Office this year. There is no better place in the world to be a law enforcement officer.

Since the whole world is looking for a drastic change from 2020, a closing quote attributed to Socrates seems fitting here: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

May 2021 be a safe and positive year for everyone.

Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton.


KEEP LOOKING: See what 50 company logos looked like then and now


More From 96.3 The Blaze