Respect.  It’s a small word with big meaning.  Respect.  You don’t have to like someone to treat them with respect.  You don’t even have to know someone to show them respect.  Being respectful can be one of the easiest and one of the hardest parts of the job.

The one time it should be incredibly easy to show respect is when some one in law enforcement loses their life in the line of duty.  But the Sheriff and her administration can’t even seem to do that.

I will admit now, I was talked down off a bit of a ledge more than once when officers have been killed in the line of duty here in California and the Sheriff’s Office has failed to officially recognize those deaths.  I was pretty outraged once or twice over the past couple years when there was no order from our Sheriff or her administration to wear mourning bands as part of the uniform in recognition of officers who gave their lives just a handful of miles away.

Well, again, it’s my understanding, today is the funeral of Detective Sergeant Tom Smith, a BART officer who died in the line of duty and there has been no order from on high since his death that our department recognize this loss in the law enforcement family of the Bay Area.

But I was informed this morning that the insult apparently went one step further this time.  The Governor of the State of California ordered all flags in California to be flown at half-staff on January 21, 2014 in honor of Detective Sergeant Tom Smith and the life he gave serving his state.

I have asked several people this morning, and the best I have been able to tell, at no time on January 21, 2014 or any time since then has the flag at the Sheriff’s Office been ordered to half-staff in honor of an officer who died in the line of duty.

I don’t know who is in charge of making sure these things happen, but whomever you are, you owe law enforcement in general, your own agency, and the memory of Tom Smith and all the other officers you’ve chosen to disrespect in such a manner a public apology for the public insult.

I was very glad to hear, that each time many deputies chose to wear their mourning band despite there being no order.  To those men and women and all that serve our smaller and the greater community every day — thank you for continuing to understand what it means to show respect to the others who may not work directly beside you every day, but face the same risks and dangers every day, despite perhaps having leadership that fails in showing that respect.

All of you, Be Safe.



3 thoughts on “Respect

  1. I would say this is unbelievable but, sadly it is not. Sgt. Tom Smith deserves the respect and honor of the Sheriff’s Department as a fellow law enforcement officer. The BART Police Department deserves the respect and support of all agencies, especially one that within a few years will be working in Santa Clara County when BART opens in Berryessa. Sadly for all of you who work there, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department has become a shell of it’s former self when it comes to command leadership. There are many words to describe it but “pathetic” seems to sum it up.

    As someone in the “business” I was moved and impressed by the line of BART officers and Alameda County deputies who stood as an impromptu honor guard as Sgt. Smiths flag-draped body was removed by the Coroner from Eden Hospital on the day this sad event occurred. They were joined by civilians who were either hospital workers and/or passerby’s. Today are pictures on the internet of Union City cadets showing respect as well as the student body of Moreau Catholic High School. Why is it that kids and civilians “get it” but Sheriff Smith and her command staff don’t?


  2. Casey, Casey, Casey. You expect this Department to act with class and dignity when it can’t even treat it’s own with the same. Regardless of who is in charge of authorizing the black band, or the flag flown at half staff, the Sheriff is the one everyone looks to in these cases for direction. The death of any LE is a big deal and when it is as close as this one is, someone needs to step to the plate and take control of planning a group of Deputies to attend. Captains??…… listening???…….Anyone??….Bueller??…


    • To be fair, it is my understanding that the office is being represented at the funeral. I do not know by whom or how they were selected. I guess they at least realize, not showing up at the funeral would just be to obvious an insult.


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