I’ve been informed now over the past couple months of incidents where people are being bullied into stating their allegiance in the upcoming election for sheriff. I have been told of several incidents now involving 3 specific sheriff’s shills confronting people demanding to know who they support or who they will vote for. The first time I heard this I thought it was an isolated incident. It appears at this point, it could be becoming office practice. Now to be fair, I was not present for any of these incidents, therefore I won’t mention names, but each incident has come to me through individual, independent sources from who have proven their credibility to me on other matters.
I don’t want to talk about the bullies anyway. They are clearly in the wrong profession if they’re participating in that kind of activity and should probably never have been let loose on an unsuspecting public in a uniform. I know the reputation at least two of the three people have and it’s not impressive. Only the weak bully and as adults, we know this in a way we didn’t understand as children when we saw these people in action.
I want to talk to you about how to react to them.
Your vote has the ultimate right to privacy. You do not have to state who you will support to anyone other than the polling machine you stand in front of as you vote. Make this clear to anyone who feels that they can intimidate you into publicly pressing yourself into something you don’t want to do.
I know a lot of people are afraid to publicly stand up. If you feel you must state you’ll support the current sheriff despite your misgivings, do so remembering that you in no way have to back up that “endorsement” with any kind of action – not a yard sign, not a phone call and certainly not a vote.
If you aren’t afraid to speak up (she can’t get all of us, right?) make clear that you will support whomever you wish and that you don’t appreciate campaign practices like this while in uniform on duty.
If you’re really bold… tell them you support Kevin Jensen and exactly why you don’t support the Sheriff.
You should contact your DSA or CPOA and let them know that this is happening, who the offender was, day and time of incident… etc., etc. You know how it works.
This kind of voter intimidation appears to be a legal gray area compared to voter intimidation at the polls intended to drive people away from the polls. While this kind of behavior may not be blatantly illegal (other than the intentional and blatant political campaigning on duty), you have to wonder at the ethics of any elected official or her supporters that would conduct this type of internal campaign.
Be better than them, expect better than them from yourself and those around you. Respect is earned, don’t let anyone demand it from you if they don’t deserve it.