The last 4 years of hibernation has been rough on the Sheriff, she’s out of practice. All the dismissive remarks she’s gotten away with in the past aren’t working any more. Some members of the press are daring to ask real questions, with her refusing to make a statement, hiding behind a PIO who is desperately spinning social media like this office has never seen before. I guess we can tout that as a “technology development” for the Sheriff since she’s currently suffering from The Emperor Has No Clothes syndrome in regards to the rest of her claims about improvements.
So since she can’t go to the members of the press who still want a statement about her interview with Tony Kovaleski of NBC Bay Area News, she’s running to her old standbys, the bought-and-paid-for Mercury News, and some new soft sources like the Los Altos On-line to pretty her up for the public and maintain her “popularity” as some would like to call it.
So what has she been saying to these sources — how far the office has improved under the Sheriff? Not really. Most practices, equipment, technologies and policies were either in place or just coming into place as she took office nearly 16 years ago with little to no improvement on much of what already existed. Maybe she talks about the development of new concepts such as predictive policing? No, that kind of wishy washy thing is for other agencies. A comprehensive training system to ensure the highest level of training at all times for all deputies? No, but the SO does now have an increasingly neglected Law Enforcement Academy.
The Sheriff instead has been reliving her glory days about how she broke the glass ceiling for women (yet has done little to nothing for the women in her department, a good majority which are supporting Kevin Jensen in the next election) and how she helped puppies at the Christmas in the Park event – despite the controversial use of inmates at an asbestos- and black mold-ridden jail where her workers are saying there is an increasing concern regarding cancer diagnoses with her staff at this facility.
Don’t get me wrong, the sheriff being a part of her community and breaking ground for women 20 years ago is important stuff. It is relevant to be a part of your community and contribute to the betterment of those who live around you. But right now, considering the shape of her office, it rings a bit like Nero’s fiddling while Rome burns.
There are serious problems in the Sheriff’s Office. Many of those problems are of her making through poor promotion practices, her lack of engagement in the department she runs, her practice of refusing to create office policy leaving deputies wandering aimlessly so in the event something does happen, she can say they were appropriately “in” or “out” of policy as she needs, to cover herself.
The sheriff sends people out to my blog to “defend” her actions – saying that we have new technology, new cars, lots of training and more – yet they’re arguing nothing more than straw houses when it comes right down to the reality of the office.
Is she scrambling to put out a few extra training moments to a few visible people? Yes. Is she suddenly updating email programs and other legacy software in an attempt to say she’s “modernized” the office? Yes. But the reality is, what she has done doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of what the office does day-to-day. You can run a campaign on an election year scramble to “improve” things, but you can not run an office successfully with that type of strategy.
Time for some one to apply a consistent hand of leadership to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office… Kevin Jensen for Santa Clara County Sheriff in 2014.