Monday, January 19, 2015


I remember when I had my first traffic accident. It happened on a traffic circle on Route 23 in Wayne, New Jersey. I pulled out when I shouldn't have (I was 16, and didn't have a lot of experience), and I got sideswiped.

I spent days in a deep depression, wondering if I could ever forgive myself when my dad pulled me aside and said, "son, stop being so hard on yourself. They are called accidents for a reason."

Those words still resonate with me, so when I see something that happens accidentally, I don't like to pile on. That's what happened after the new building housing our Sheriff's offices, emergency operations center and 9-1-1 facility opened. The project was wildly successful, but here was something that went askew...

Look for it...
Yes, someone at the company that made the rugs with the Sheriff's office logo on them made a spelling error. You have to look hard to see it, but it's there... In Dog We Trust.  The rugs sat out for about six months before someone realized what had happened.

As you can imagine, the story went viral quickly. It not only made the news in the Tampa Bay area, it also hit the wires, going nationwide and - eventually - internationally. 

Amazing, isn't it? Sometimes, we struggle to get coverage on stories we pitch, but the simplest of stories creates attention that can span the globe. 

The comments on the story from the public were also interesting. Believe me, no deputies were involved in the weaving of the rug, but that didn't stop the harsh criticism that public employees are careless in the execution of their jobs. Which, of course, is nonsense, because the company that made the rug made replacements with the proper spelling.

The team of PIOs at the Sheriff's office, however, are some of the most skilled I have ever worked with. When faced with this issue, they didn't sweep anything under the rug. They saw an opportunity to create a lot of good will with the public, and put the misspelled rug up for auction, with the proceeds to benefit a canine rescue organization. Check out the auction here.

Doggone It, bidding for the rug, offered initially at $100, has crossed the $5000 threshold, with nearly two days left. Talk about a great way to fetch some positive attention....

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