Okay, great. The unions endorsed the other guy this time. What’s the big deal?
There are a lot of accusations flying and a lot of claims being made, yes even by me. But really when we dig down, what should we tell people we’re talking to about Kevin Jensen about why these endorsements matter so much?
Well, anyone who knows anything about the culture of law enforcement knows a few things outright — despite all the public claims of union political activity, cops tend to be pretty apolitical for the most part. The other thing is these men and women are not the biggest supporters of great change within their structure. Change is risky, and the job is risky enough as it is most days. So given that, when you have two law enforcement unions asking for… no… screaming for change in their work lives, one really should pay attention.
Okay, so we’re all paying attention (or we’re working to get everyone to pay attention anyway)… so why should the unions opinion for one candidate over another really matter? It should really matter because these are the people who have worked with both candidates day in and day out. They know the standards and expectations that each of them brings to work with them daily. They know what each will offer the community through their leadership, the stability they will offer the work place, the commitment they will make to the betterment of both.
The Daily Fetch may say the Sheriff is “popular” and Rich Robinson may claim that the office just has issues with a “strong woman.” Reality is, they’re both outside entities, both making claims outside a position of real day-to-day knowledge… the claims they’re hoping will influence voters. You’re inside, you know what day-to-day issues are faced when dealing with the current elected official and her appointees. If the DSA and the CPOA have issues with strong women why are there so many women who have been elected to the union boards? If the Sheriff is so popular, why is she unpopular enough in her own ranks to pull 0% support from one union and only 4% from the other, essentially a vote of “No Confidence,” a very serious union action?
When law enforcement agencies go sideways, more often than not the public wonders what could have been done to change the outcome — here’s their opportunity to change the outcome of where Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office is heading and do so in a positive manner.
Leadership is important. Law enforcement knows, maybe more than most, how important a stable, strong and ethical leadership structure can be to a workplace — especially a workplace where each and every worker is empowered with a certain amount of civil power and autonomy. These groups don’t ask for change from the public on a whim because they had a little disagreement with their leader. They don’t put themselves out for review in the manner we have been looking at them happily or even willingly, but they do it knowing that it is the only way to get the public to understand how deeply entrenched a problem is becoming and how important it is to enact change through this upcoming election.
They aren’t throwing a fit because the sheriff says they have all this new technology when they’re screaming at their early 2000’s computer with an ad hoc program that makes doing reports as difficult as possible. They aren’t at their last straw because their cars are equipped with equipment that they find unreliable despite the Sheriff’s claim it’s all been upgraded recently.
They’re here talking to you because they believe there is a serious flaw in the leadership of this office that poses a risk not only to them, but increasingly to the taxpayers that have endowed them with the security of the community. They feel this risk has become increasingly problematic by preventing standard law enforcement procedure to be enacted.
They understand what to look for when it comes to a failure within the system and they are asking you to take the time to put aside political soundbites and attempt to recognize that failure as they point it out. They are seeing a failure, but rather than it being on the street, it is in the administration. They understand, as should you, that a failure in leadership will eventually, unfailingly lead to a failure on the street. The failure in leadership in San José at the very top has resulted in failure. It doesn’t have to take exactly the same path or have exactly the same root cause to result in the same ugly end result of a failing agency.
The people of the Sheriff’s department have worked with both these candidates for years. There are few who are qualified to know better among all the political endorsements that will come out over the coming months, who is truly qualified to run this office in the manner the members of the CPOA and DSA are qualified to know.