You are not Entitled to Your Own Reality…

I’m going to rant a little here, so forgive me.

I’ve thought about a comment made on my blog here for several days now.  The more I think about it, the more outraged I become.

It’s insulting. It’s insulting not only to deputies but to the taxpayers and public that rely on the SCC Sheriff’s Office.  It attempts to make fools of us all in it’s lack of principle.

There were several claims made… that the office has new cars, new tablets, AR-15 classes and “not just for new deputies” and last, but not least, 2 deputies starting a gang task force from scratch.

You can’t see me, I can’t see you, so the author can’t be sure, but maybe the author of these comments believes I look stupid, that you’re an idiot who can’t discern the reality of your surroundings. I know they’re certainly taking advantage of the public trust who has every reason to believe they will be told the truth by those who run the Sheriff’s Office.

Are you kidding me? I look at that list and every time, I just say, louder… Are you kidding me?!  Do you expect me to read that and believe it?  To support it and stay silent about the truth of those claims?

Wrong.

Let’s start with the “new cars”.  From what I’ve been told over the past several days, the cars that have been deployed, half are already in the shop.  The majority of new cars remain un-outfitted sitting at FAF for how long now?  I’ve been told MONTHS because FAF has contracts that pay more with neighboring municipalities to outfit their cars.  so great, we have new cars, for all that good that is doing any one.

The new tablets.  Yes, they’re outfitted in the new cars, theoretically.  I’ve had no one confirm their existence in a functional environment at this time. As for the new cars, we know where those are now, don’t we.  The bigger problem is that the Sheriff’s Office “new technology” they’ve been bragging to everyone about as one of Sheriff Laurie’s “successes” is in reality a 1999 version of Lotus Notes, recently upgraded Microsoft Outlook 2003 and other legacy or near-legacay software that won’t interface with tablet technology.  Kind of similar to the reasoning that great new report writing system was ditched, even though we keep hearing how we have that too.  They spent over $1M on a new report writing system, circa 2005, but ditched it because they discovered they were going to have to pay more to get it to interface with current systems.  I guess we have tablets, let’s hope we’re not still waiting for them come in 2021, the same 8 years we’ve been waiting for the report writing system.  If she gets re-elected, that is the most likely scenario and we all know it.

And the training opportunities!  AR-15 classes! And not just for new deputies?!  Really, in this day and age when you turn on the TV, or open the news on your computer and odds are you’re going to read about an active shooter at least twice a week, you don’t have every single deputy trained and equipped with a patrol rifle?  After the Lehigh Cement Plant incident, how long ago now, 2011?  You really don’t have all, or at least a significant majority of your deputies trained on what is a very basic, standard piece of equipment for most agencies these days? And you’re bragging about this? Seriously? Of course I have to end this with the question that has been just begging to be asked… would these be the same AR-15s that won’t even fit into the new cars?  Ironic, no?

And we have a 2 man gang unit.  I’m not going to discredit the deputies, I’ve been assured they’re capable and competent people.  However, you are left asking yourself why the Sheriff’s office has left these two people hanging out there like an extra appendage instead of working with the county’s multi-agency gang units. I would have hoped that an agency who was involved in the “South Bay Gang Alliance” and the “North Santa Clara County Gang Task Unit” wouldn’t just be starting a gang unit.  Or were you not involved in those multi-agency endeavors? What about the gang mitigation efforts of SCOPE?  Oh, that’s right, community policing, we don’t do that.  I won’t even go into the slew of questions I have about your Vice Squad.  Exactly what is the failed history here that we are just now getting a gang unit?!

I think it’s stunning that the Sheriff can send some one out to my blog to actually brag about these failures.  To gloat about how she’ll get re-elected and we’ll all come crawling back embarrassed and ready to be punished for daring to disrespect her.  That she and her management level staff would consider those failures to be actual successes in an office with a 16-year-old administration.  That they think they can brag on things that were done 15 years ago and call them “accomplishments”. That they expect the line level deputies to look at all this and be GRATEFUL for it.

Then, over the weekend, to just continue to add insult to injury, it was mentioned to me the Sheriff may have been working on getting support from her newest potential voter base with her BBQ at Elmwood.  I laughed and they said “No, I’m pretty sure those serving time for misdemeanors can vote.”  I stopped laughing.  I sat at my trusty computer and started digging.  Sure enough, as of 2011 those held in custody awaiting trial and those serving time for misdemeanors are eligible to vote.  And apparently our sheriff is out there BBQing up their votes even as her deputies are breathing in asbestos.  What an unbelievable set of priorities this sheriff has.

I can not stress enough how important change is to this office now.  Everyone who works here every day experiences many reasons for change.  Some of them addressed on my blog, many of them not.  Reality is at this moment we have an opportunity to not just get “change” but change we can respect with an honest and trusted person, Kevin Jensen.

Kevin knows what the office is in need of, be it morale rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation — a real effort at upgrading technology and not just an election year patch, this is the guy to vote for.

Please Support Kevin Jensen.  You can DONATE to his campaign online.  If you have any questions or concerns about the donation process, you can reach out to his campaign, or review my prior posts on how to donate via Paypal.

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” — General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

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10 thoughts on “You are not Entitled to Your Own Reality…

  1. One part of this that bothers me is that they are using “new cars” as proof that the sheriff is being innovative and providing cutting edge equipment to her deputies. You can’t say you’re being innovative when you’re being forced to purchase something new. Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Vic in 2011. The agency is purchasing new vehicles because it can’t purchase Crown Vics anymore.

    “Maybe the deputies don’t know the Crown Vic is being discontinued. Let’s tell them we are buying better cars because we care about them!”

    Come on now.

    Another thing…they keep saying the sheriff is great because we’re the only agency that has continuously been hiring through the economic hard times. This is true. But…
    It’s easy to “continuously hire” when you have a high number of vacancies but very few hires. As an illustration, if I have 40 vacancies to fill, it would seem logical to hire 40 bodies at least right? Surely our academy can accommodate a class of that size. Obviously it can. Look at the size of the current class. Instead…’No, no, no… Let’s only hire 5. We will run short staffed, but we can keep hiring and having academy classes if we only hire 5 at a time.’ These obviously aren’t correct figures, but has anyone ever wondered why our backgrounds division was only able to hire groups of 10-15 for several classes (claiming there are not enough good candidates) to put through the academy while divisions were running historically low on staffing? But an election year comes, staffing becomes a big issue, and out of thin air we’re able to scrape up classes of 30+ recruits? Apparently we can get the hiring sergeant enough help with a little election year pressure eh?

    Stop insulting our intelligence. I hope our admin really does start being innovative (it’s in our mission statement after all). I really do. Smith will be gone next year, but her legacy admin will still be here. The administrators who follow her (and it isn’t all of them) need to stop investing so much time trying to figure out how to put a spin on things to try making them look good. It’s embarrassing. Everybody sees right through it. We have for years. The opinions of those who write on this blog are nothing new. They have been around for years. We’ve just finally found a way to get you in the loop and express our views without being banished to a terrible assignment or being kept from good assignments that we put in for because we “must be punished” for our dissension. Don’t dismiss what is being said on this blog. Listen to what your people are trying to tell you.

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  2. First thanks to WTF for the shout out a few days ago. It is nice to be remembered. The comments about the K9 issues are right on point. The department will loose the FLSA lawsuit just as they have lost all of the previous ones (at least three times) and just as every other agency has lost theirs. The case law is quite clear that a handler must be compensated for time spent caring for the dog. This includes things like grooming, bathing, feeding, exercising, going to the vet, etc. right through picking up the poop. You would think Laurie would have learned by now. As they say, insanity is doing he same thing over and over expecting a different result. Some departments give extra pay and some adjust work hours to meet the requirements of the law.

    Equally insane is the idea to kennel the dogs at Elmwood. NO police agencies in North America kennels their dogs. The military only does because their handlers live in enlisted housing units where you can’t keep a dog besides there is a difference between a military dog and a police dog. These are well-bred smart dogs who need the constant stimulus and socialization of living with their handler. During the Scooby case I tried to make the department understand the emotional connection between the dog and the handler. When I was a handler, I spent more time with my dog than I did with my wife. The Sheriff couldn’t understand the connection then and she still doesn’t get it.

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about a sergeant having a dog. All of the Canine Sergeants before me were also handlers. There was a decision when I took over the unit that I wouldn’t have dog which was probably good because it would have given the Sheriff and her thugs one more thing to take away from me.

    To Casey Thomas and all of you who add comments, keep it up! This is a 15 round match between now and June and we all have to keep punching without let up. This administration is like an onion with a rotten core, so keep peeling off the layers. We all have to overcome the BS put out by SubZero and all the others who write in support of the Sheriff. Oh wait, SubZero is a party of one.

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    • I forgot to include my comments about the Canine Unit web page. This page was the same when I was the unit sergeant. There weren’t 9 dogs then and hadn’t been for a number of years. The handler in the picture conducting search of a car is Kevin Greig. He retired around 2000. I posted these same observations in my Facebook page this past June. Someone only identifying as the Webmaster said the page was currently being updated and would be completed in the near future. Still waiting!

      Other pages like the SAB are also way out of date. A web site is an organization’s portal to the world. A great web site does not make a great department but a bad web site tells the world you lack pride and just don’t care.

      Maybe a tech savvy deputy with one of those slick new tablets in their fancy schmancy new car can fix this thing up.

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    • Ted Atlas, you were the major reason your team was the best the SO had on Swings. There were other supervisors, but they never understood how to work with young and seasoned deputies. They never knew how to get the best out of them in critical incidents, but you did. You stood up for Julie while many left her swinging in the wind and those of us that worked with her and Scooby will forever support you for laying you career on the line for her and what we all knew was right. You had done that for others which did not get the same scrutiny that Julie had and they never knew you went to bat for them. I and others did and will always respect you for that.

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  3. Casey, you forgot to address the dual purpose K9 that was so graciously provided by the Sheriff. But wait, it wasn’t the Sheriff…. I meant the one that Bechtel bought and donated to the office. Apparently someone has been burned by donating money that is intended for a specific item. So instead the specific item was purchased and donated to the Sheriff’s Office, so that the money didn’t get hijacked and repurposed by our illustrious leader.

    I understand that Bechtel also purchased both the Patrol K9 and the Narcotics K9 back a couple of years ago. I guess now he is responsible for most of the K9 Unit, with the remaining K9’s coming from Homeland Security grants and Pups For Peace.
    I said K9 Unit, but that’s a misnomer. K9 teams aren’t considered a unit. They are only collateral duties for Deputies (and Sergeants). This is why the K9’s have an annual budget of $0. The enormous budget is augmented by the division the K9 team is assigned to, with the division contributing an additional $0 to the overall training and equipment budget of the K9s. With the combined funding from the the Sheriff, the K9 teams are allowed to train on their own time and at their own expense. But I guess the K9 handlers should be thankful that they are allowed to wear BDU’s, instead of the Class A uniforms they were required to wear for all those years in direct violation of the uniform policy.

    Anyway, the Sheriff’s Office does have a new K9 team. This is despite the fact that two of the three previously established teams are still in the middle of a Federal Lawsuit for FLSA violations committed by the Sheriff. I guess the willful indifference portion of their lawsuit will be pretty easy to show, since she just settled the same lawsuit with another handler a year ago. The only other handler decided not to join the lawsuit because he felt that someone might be vindictive and not promote him if he joined the lawsuit. Apparently that paid off too, because he did get promoted. Now he’s a Patrol Sergeant K9. I’m not sure who is supervising the Deputies if he is expected to deploy his K9 partner for a use of force, but I’m sure that our head-shed clearly thought out the General Orders, Patrol Procedures, and general liability involved before they decided to make that decision. Right? I wonder if County Counsel knows about that? I guess it’s not that much different than when a Lieutenant/ Watch Commander is supposed to be supervising the Sergeants and Deputies, but is busy kicking a proned out, handcuffed suspect in the head.

    Hopefully the K9’s aren’t subjected to getting tattoos that read “Sheriff Laurie Smith……” Like all the other property under her dominion.

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    • Welcome Scrubzero. Can you provide the example of where someone was “burned” by our office after donating money? I and am sure others would love to here more examples of this type of abuse. I was unaware of the “MASSIVE” budget going towards our K9 Unit. Zero dollars sounds about right thought when you consider she is not a visionary, but instead demonstrates quixotic views when she thinks of her beloved department. Of course our illustrious leader STILL hasn’t had the common sense to update her webpage despite all the public attention to her farce she puts forth on its pages. It still states we have nine K9 units, but lists out only eight?? Was Box of Rocks responsible for the math on this? Did Neuselinni provide these figures from his matrix? It’s just more bafoonery!!

      The budget assigned to our K9 unit is absurd when compared to other allied agencies. When you look at the lists of responsibilities our K9’s respond to it would sound like these units are an invaluable addition to our team. Unfortunately that is not the case once the all mighty $$ is introduced. The Sheriff (more importantly that penny pincher Neusel) wants to do everything on the cheap and could care less of their general lack of knowledge towards patrol and the affect it has to those of us who have to suffer the fallout of this type of small minded thinking. The fact that our K9 units have to pay for everything they get AND she still wants to house the K9’s at Elmwood to be cared for by inmates (Don’t worry, she made lots of friends at her recent “Inmate Appreciation Day” bbq she hosted there) instead of being with their handler to further the bond that is needed.

      I’m not sure if the K9 Sergeant’s refusal to join the lawsuit was rewarded with his recent promotion but it does raise a valid concern when you look at the Sheriff’s past behavior.

      As for the Lt. in question. I would caution making him the cynosure of this comment thread. The focus needs to stay on those who have proven their dis-respect and ineptness when attempting to lead or otherwise provide for this department. Don’t fall into the trap of using a video (I’m assuming you weren’t personally present) to charge and convict someone of wrong doing. We see that happen all too often in the media and don’t need to do it ourselves. Just my two cents on that.

      Thanks for taking part in the discussion.

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  4. Casey, it’s only a rant of no information is passed along. You hit the nail on the head. This Department started to go sour when “chuckie” made 3 assistant Sheriff’s. One was an outsider from Foster City, the other two were Sergeants. Now we have a group of do nothings sitting in offices on the 4th floor. The US, has his little group of friends and the others are a captive audience. Both AS, are different, Skip is a straight up guy, and those of you who deal with him know that. Mr. Neusallini on the other hand has been spoon fed his entire career. Crashes (totals) a new traffic car at Sears Point during training, no repercussions. He is promoted from the Bureau, then where did he go?..jails?..courts?..patrol??…no to westside as the admin Sgt. Now that’s a “hand picked” spot for a Deputy who really never did anything. I remember they even made him the Jails Captain, a guy who was never in the jails, but put in charge. When you look around the Department, do you see people in leadership roles who you make you laugh??……The Detective Bureau?….the same Capt who drove a good sergeant to want to roll up from the coroners office?. HQ patrol, a Captain who had to be sent back to patrol to qualify for promotion. Then where did he go?. Jails??..Courts??..Patrol??….no he was made the PIO. There are other stories just like this, just change the names. Casey Thomas is right, it’s time for a change. Keep up the good work Casey.

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    • I totally agree with Mr. Thomas and Fed Up. No one in this agency respects these Captains because they have not earned it. Their complete lack of experience is the reason they continue to make poor decisions weekly! I find it very hypocritical what happens to a deputy when they make a poor decision….. Yet our incompetent so called leaders comtinue without any correction.

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      • Even more examples of these fine leaders Sheriff Smith has stuck us with. Why does she want to destroy this department before she goes? If she cared about the truth or gave a damn about what a mess she has left us with she would listen to these blogs and comments and try to make it right. I am not surprised with all the negative comments she has been getting especially if only a small amount of what is listed here is true. What can we do to focus the microscope on these and all the other nutty behavior Sheriff Smith has done and looks like she is gonna continue to do?

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