Perpetual Review Must Have a Purpose — Elmwood Review Redux

But I do get tired when things are all show and no substance.  A problem which seems to have shown itself in regards to the repeated “reviews” of the jails in Santa Clara County — repeatedly without measurable improvement or results.

The Mercury kindly dropped this grand news on us in mid-December like it means something…. oh, my they’re going to do a review of the jails, things will get better now!  See the county cares, the Board of Supervisors care, the Sheriff cares… we’re looking into it.

Honestly, there are several issues here.  One is the fact that a review in this county clearly means nothing to date.  The two links below are to two grand jury reviews done in 2007 and 2008 respectively indicating severe issues within the Santa Clara County jail systems.  We’re at the end of 2013 and I’ve been told by multiple sources that virtually none of the concerns have been addressed, and some of them are even significantly worse.

2006-2007 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury Report – Elmwood: 4 escapes in 5 weeks

2007-2008 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury Report – Elmwood: Continuing Threat to Community Safety

So now the county is going to review the AB109 situation according to a local news wire service article dropped by the Mercury News.  So what.  How far does one have to look?  Not far from what I’ve been told.  They’re spending $500,000 of county taxpayer money to review what the Sheriff and her “Chief of Corrections” haven’t even stuck their nose into the jails to attempt to determine on their own as far as anyone can tell.  Not even the most basic of issues which appear to be painfully evident to anyone who is on the job with their eyes open.

AB109 provides funding for officers to be assigned to and trained to work with AB109 inmates.  According to numerous sources in the jails, there has been no such training wotht mention.  Does the Sheriff not know this?  Has this not been passed on to the county?  Why?  This appears to be an obvious problem that should have been addressed outright and hardly needs another half million dollar expenditure to discover.

AB109 provides funding to staff full-time AB109 officers.  There are no permanently assigned AB109 officers/deputies and I’ve been told that the designation rotates to whomever is available to put in the position that day.  Again… obvious problem, we need a half million dollar study to determine this?

The Mercury article above states “Violent acts against jail staff have jumped since realignment, with 17 assaults during the first six months of this year compared to 10 for the period in 2012, according to the county.”  I’ve been unable to verify the 17 assaults, being told by multiple sources that they have been asking for these statistics and have been brushed off. I have seen paperwork that hinted at more than this number and liberal and conservative sources alike reported last week that the inmate-on-officer assault numbers were actually down in our county.

So what is the deal?  More, less, status quo? Different sources appear to have different answers for who knows what reason. Honestly, it sounds like this “review” is a $500K patch right before election time to “help” the Sheriff at a time where it is becoming more and more clear that the candidate is only popular in the back rooms politicking.  Rather than sorting out the obvious problems and organizing the available information so that it can be useful, we’re going to get a pricey dog and pony show for the taxpayers at the taxpayers expense.

Now to further compoud the previous lack of concern on this issue, and I could have somewhat incomplete information on this point, but it was indicated to me sources that the sheriff did not apply for available grant money to help mitigate some of the expense issues we’re surely going to hear about after this review.

Top this story off with a cherry the Mercury News reported that the City of Santa Clara and a number of other law enforcement entities within the county are increasingly concerned by violence in their communities.  You know who you don’t hear from in that article about all the violence in the cities in our county?  The lead law enforcement official of the county – Sheriff Laurie Smith.  More and more we’re left wondering exactly where our Sheriff is applying herself as a manager and a leader.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be anywhere visible, at least not in regards to the law enforcement responsibilities in this county.

How about after we do the review regarding AB109 problems in the jails we do a review to find out exactly what it is our Sheriff does do for the nearly quarter of a million dollars we pay her a year.

Better yet, taxpayers, save yourself the money of reviewing your current Sheriff and her lack of policy, action, leadership, knowledge and management capabilities — vote for Kevin Jensen, a man who had a grasp on modern ideas and a future vision to try to bring crime back under control in this county.

PS – I came back early… 2 weeks of family… you know what Ben Franklin says about visitors and fish, right?  Happy New Year!

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4 thoughts on “Perpetual Review Must Have a Purpose — Elmwood Review Redux

  1. As a supervisor at Elmwood that did payroll, we coded two over times as AB109, not that the officers were assigned, just a trick to show that the money was being spent.

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  2. As much as I hate to say it, the jails were much better off with their own Director and Assistant Director than the current band aid management. How can the jails be expected to run well, with the Under Sheriff now considered the “Director”.? As much as I like the US, he is not known for having any jail experience during his career. When it was managed on it’s own, Director Edward Flores and Assistant Director Kevin Jensen took the time to make sure things were done right and only had “Custody” to worry about. The big thing that caused issues was the “Peace Officer” status and everyone thought the Sheriff would save the day. Well has she?….no she has driven a stake between the troops, allowing some to become “Deputies” and others to remain CO’s. Reports will come, studies, and other paperwork, but the problem is ineffective leadership. Time for a change. The change?….Kevin Jensen for Sheriff.

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    • I am retired from the SCC DOC…Director Edward Flores and Assistant Kevin Jensen were awesome!!! Director Flores has retired and I am sure that Kevin Jensen will be the new Sheriff!!! “SHE” has not “SAVED” anything!!! Time for change. Time for honesty and a man that REALLY cares for his Jails as well as The Sheriffs Dept. too make everything go right! Time for new Younger Brighter Leadership!!! Go Kevin Jensen!!

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