I was going to do a blog today about how the Sheriff thinks her SERT team is actually on call and doesn’t mention the difference between Uncontrolled Standby and Controlled Standby to the public in her post on the office FB page and what that actually means in regards to their “available 24/7” SERT Team.
Instead I’m going to take today to make an important counter-message to a fear campaign that seems to be coming from the 4th floor: You have the right to speak out in an election without retribution. You have a right to your opinion. You have a right to engage in politics. You have a right to stand with Kevin Jensen and make clear why you support new leadership in the Sheriff’s Office.
While you’re doing this though, please don’t give anyone evidence that may give their threats the legitimacy to become reality. Read the law. Know you cannot engage in political efforts while at work or using work equipment or materials. You can not represent yourself in uniform. Know that if some one appears to be targeting you for some form of punishment that appears to be tied to your political opinion or actions, make sure the law is on your side.
You can speak anonymously. Publius and The Federal Farmer were two great founding fathers who spoke out and held great conversations in our nation using pseudonyms to protect themselves. Those conversations have become an honored part of our system that we often go to in attempts to understand better the thoughts behind the later actions that built our nation. But please use your speech wisely, do not make statements that can be deemed as illegal or threatening, thereby allowing your right to be anonymous to become a moot subject. Do not reduce yourself to the rhetoric that brings violence to mind that some are known for frequently screaming.
Understand retribution, or even just the threat of it, for speaking out in support of a political campaign is illegal, just as the promise of promotion, money or other favors to speak in favor is illegal. If you follow the very basic laws regarding office time, uniforms, solicitation of contributions, no one can legally act against you. Have no doubt that if someone “accidentally” trips over something that can be used against you, if you are speaking out in this election, the opporunity will likely be used, even if they know they can’t win in the end, they know they can cause you and your family emotional stress and have proven to far to many that they won’t hesitate to do so. So be careful to not provide the opportunity.
It is a risk speaking out against some one who has made clear through their actions they will act against your best interest for simply disagreeing with her. It is even a little scary, knowing some of the stories in the office. But it’s important to keep in mind that her power thrives through your fear to act. If we as a group don’t act to speak out to her corruption and abuse because of fear, the next four years will be worse than the last, just as the last four years were worse than the four before that. Her hubris knows no bounds now because she has been able to act this way for far to long now and she thinks she’s entitled to continue.
It’s time to stop the roller coaster, regain the respect for deputies in the law enforcement community again that she has cost them and be able to have pride in the job and the office once again.
Read the laws and ensure you are protecting yourself as well as understand what protections are offered to you. If you have questions about what you can and cannot do, go to your DSA and CPOA leadership and get it clarified before you take action.
CA Law can be found here http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=gov&group=03001-04000&file=3201-3209
You can learn more about your right to speak anonymously here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/93-986.ZO.html
You have been called a “special interest group” by your Sheriff. And in a sense you are, but not in the way she meant. There are people who are going to do everything they can to minimize your voice, make you afraid to speak out, and try to brush off what you have to say about what happens, or does not happen as the case may be in some circumstances, under Sheriff Smith’s leadership. You are a “special interest group,” go forward knowing that you are the only special interest group who has the first person experience of Laurie Smith’s leadership and that if you let people know why you want change, and why they as taxpayers should want change, in an honest voice, they will do exactly what she is afraid of… listen to you and bring about needed change.