Submitted by contributing author, Sans Peur
I know there has been a lot of talk and rumors about where the money goes? Really, this is a very good question. Seems that the incumbent has not been getting the exposure that she is used to seeing and wants her name on rolling, tax payer paid bill boards. Each vehicle, building or piece of property associated with the Sheriff’s Office has the incumbent’s name prominently displayed for all the public to see. The message to the voters of Santa Clara County is the incumbent, or at least her name, is all over the county for all to see. Name recognition at tax payer expense? Maybe that is part of the reason for the continued fortune of the sheriff and her continued re-election successes — tax payer funded election advertising.
The corrections buses have managed to slip under the radar on this though; that oversight is being quickly corrected. Let me explain.
Santa Clara County is one of the largest counties in California, geographically as well as population density, and has a very large inmate population and court system. With a large court system comes a need for extensive inmate transportation and with a high level of transportation comes a large number of transportation buses and vans to move the inmate population between facilities and court hearings. Why do I bring this point up? Good question.
Several years ago the Sheriff’s Office realized that with the great number of buses and vans running between courts and facilities that there is an excellent opportunity for promotion of the Sheriff’s office by way of rolling billboards. There’s even a “Long Haul” bus that travels the state for inmate movement.
We have all heard that the Sheriff’s Office is low on correctional officers and patrol deputies and the Sheriff’s Office used these rolling billboards as ways to self promote and get “free” advertising on the streets of the county and state.
These buses have been roaming the streets for years advertising, “Be a Star and Wear the Badge” with the hiring website prominently displayed below www.gosheriff.com.
The Sheriff’s Office having a deficit of upwards of 100 or more deputies, requiring the Under Sheriff and Assistant Sheriff’s to work in court rooms just so the judicial process could continue because of short staffing. You would think that hiring and filling vacant positions would be a priority. That does not seem to be the case here at the Sheriff’s Office.It seems that re-branding the buses is the answer here. Rather than trying to hire more needed correctional deputies and patrol deputies the incumbent seems to have come to the realization that name branding is of utmost importance and the buses and vans have been scheduled for a face lift and maintenance. This all requires the buses get a new coat of paint along with the incumbent’s name displayed in the place of being a “Star.” Maybe the incumbent believes she needs a few more lumens in the stage lights this election season.
Four months out from the primary election the incumbent has the tax payers put her name on the buses to get that “name recognition” out to the voting public. Over the years being a “Star” was good enough for the labeling, but now that election season is in full swing it’s not good enough any more.
What is the cost to tax payers for this face lift? How much does each of the labels cost to produce? What is the cost of labor for the removal of the old labeling and replacement with the new labeling? When did the Fleets and Facilities receive the order to rebrand the buses and vans? What was the original requisition request for the buses when originally put in service? (I’m betting just as we have seen on the streets for the last several years. But, I have been told the relabeling is because Fleets and Facilities did not label as originally requested. Seriously, eight plus years on the street and now it’s time for a change?)
I too believe it is time for a change and rebranding of the Sheriff’s Office. It’s time to have a “Star” shining brightly to give direction and leadership. I believe that Sheriff Jensen’s name will be recognized in the future for positive community involvement, not just for being slapped on every available surface within the view of the sheriff.