Dallas, GA (WGCL) — An Atlanta area sheriff was shocked by the attention a post he made on the department’s Facebook page is getting.
“It’s been viewed over half a million times,” said Gary Gulledge, the sheriff of Paulding County, which is about 35 miles northwest of Atlanta. “That really surprised me because just a little old country sheriff like me, you don’t see that many people.”
But what he posted is a highly debated topic. Gulledge decided to put stickers on department cars that read, “In God We Trust.”
“To me it’s our national motto,” Gulledge said. “I know from the social media, a lot of people are attacking us because it has God on it. All our money has God on it. The national motto has God on it.”
People in his county seem to agree.
“I think it’s a great idea,” resident Christina Wilson said. “I really like it.”
“Hey, God has always been around us so, hey, stick with it,” resident Olin Sylvester said.
Some people online are raising concerns.
Alex Wojtas wrote, “Were the vehicles paid for by the deputies/sheriff (or) was that tax payer money? If not a personal purchase, please respectfully keep your personal beliefs off.”
Gulledge explained that this is not costing taxpayers.
“Most of the deputies have paid for them themselves,” Gulledge said. “I’ve had to pay for a couple of them that didn’t have the money and I don’t mind doing that. We’ve had a lot of the public come forward and volunteer to pay for them.”
Kim Boatright wrote on Facebook, “Many people don’t believe in God, but depend on you to show up and represent them as well. Will the department be able to do that?”
“I’m a Republican sheriff,” Gulledge said. “But I represent and take care of Democrats, Independents, it doesn’t matter what you are. I don’t care if you believe in God or you don’t believe in God. If you need our services here we’ll take care of you.”
Gulledge doesn’t think he is doing anything illegal.
“I think it’s legal,” Gulledge said. “I think the Supreme Court has ruled that it’s legal. I think it can be displayed on government property.”
Gulledge adds it’s not costing taxpayers. He said deputies that want the sticker can pay for it themselves. The Sheriff says he is even buying some out of his own pocket.
Ernesto Taylor posted on line, “Imagine the intimidation that must have gone on in that precinct against any cops that didn’t want to pay for the sticker.”
Gulledge says no deputies are being forced to have this on their car.
“If any officer does not want this on their car, it will not be put on there,” Gulledge said. “They won’t be reprimanded. Nothing will be held against them for it.”
The stickers cost $6 a piece. Gulledge said he is now looking at placing American Flag stickers on his units also.