Sheriff Laurie Smith’s Idea of Forward Thinking Leadership

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves.  What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.

          — Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Interesting, interesting.  At a time where deputies are standing up and saying that this office needs to become more forward thinking, be more concerned with morale building rather than tearing people down, we get a list of “contractors” that are coming in from the past with an attitude that could generally be considered from the Dark Ages.

Some of these people are just people here to do a job and hopefully to it well.  However there are a few of these new “contractors” who have been here before and are not known for their broad ideas, advancement of better policies and ability to build solid working relationships.  One of them was under scrutiny for sexual harassment when he was allowed to bow out to protect his retirement within the time frame they had to begin an investigation.  Another had been removed from their position Internal Affairs for inappropriate behavior in their role there and shortly thereafter also left the Sheriff’s Office.

Some of these people I know where they are going to be placed, others, I’m still looking into, so this is not a done story.

What bothers me about this list though, as offensive as it is, is two names are missing from it.  Two names that have been popping up in conversations over the past week or so; two names that were shockingly dropped into place in the past hours.  Two names that have been put forth to help the leadership of this office be “better” leaders.  They will be “teaching” leadership skills to the current captains and lieutenants according to events at a recent meeting led by AS Neusel and Undersheriff Hirokawa.

One of these “leaders” is perceived by their former co-workers to be a ‘Brady Cop‘.  I’ll be honest, I do not know if he is on a Brady List.  As far as I can tell, no one can confirm that information at this time, so it may be nothing more than rumor and innuendo, which is why I am leaving the name out of this.  However, what does it say about the quality of the decision-making going on in office when the administration brings some one in to teach “leadership skills” who is perceived by their peers and subordinates as so ethically challenged as to be unable to stand as a trusted witness as an officer of the law?  True or not, the perception alone by people who have worked with this person in the past should be enough to end that idea before it even begins to hatch.  True or not, enough of the people present in the meeting where this was announced were offended enough by this latest development that you’re reading about it here after this meeting.  Trust me, there were a lot of offended people, my mailbox went crazy.

The other Instructor of Leadership being marched in has been very busy the past months conducting secret investigations outside of the office structure. Investigations that should be handled by Internal Affairs, or simply not investigated at all. One of those most recent investigations, I’ve been led to understand, was into who leaked the “rumor” that one of the captains currently on staff was cited in another city for solicitation.  Now I don’t know if that rumor is true or not, so again, names are withheld.  I have heard it from many, many sources but no unequivocal proof has shown up yet. Given that fact (or lack thereof, if you wish), if it’s true, I would wonder why that Captain hasn’t been addressed.  My understanding is far less offensive infractions have resulted in severe punishment from the office.  If it is not true, I’m wondering why the office is spending any time on it at all, never mind going to the length of using taxpayer dollars to hire a former captain to secretly investigate rumors outside the policy parameters of Internal Affairs and other legitimate means of investigation available internally. Intimidation tactics?

These are the people she’s bringing back.  People notorious for doing her dirty work, people notorious for intimidating, insulting and offending others; people notorious for undermining subordinates, people notorious for dead ending any work effort the Sheriff doesn’t want to spend money on but wants to continue to appear to be actively conducting.  These are the people she is bringing back into her ranks to help shore up her office as she goes into a new election season where her own personnel are siding with her challenger due to what they are calling her poor and unethical leadership practices.  This is what she believes makes her look good in the face of these accusations.

I’m wondering less and less about why so many people in the Sheriff’s Office voted No Confidence in this woman when it came to endorsing a candidate.  It’s becoming more and more clear why her leadership qualities are being questioned.