Submitted by contributing author, HOJ
I agree with CT on the many points he’s made on his recent post, “Lack of Communication, Lack of Cooperation”. Where will these units come from? How could it possibly become a reality? We are stretched thin everywhere and it’s a struggle just to keep us staffed at safe and sustained levels.
I would like to address something Sheriff Laurie Smith stated in the San Jose Inside article where she was responding to Mayor Chuck Reed.
The article quoted Sheriff Smith, “If Mayor Reed is not interested in our assistance, a simple ‘no, thank you’ would have been appropriate, If he wants to disagree on policy that is ﬁne, but politics should stay out of the public safety debate.”
I for one agree with Sheriff Smith on this, politics should stay out of public safety. We in law enforcement understand best how to run, staff and ultimately provide law enforcement services to the public. Politicians should stick to politics.
Sheriff Smith’s statement and the SJ Mercury article evoked two conﬂicting observations that came to mind. The ﬁrst issue is how Dave Cortese attended a recent Deputy Sheriff’s Association meeting where he sought our support. When asked directly who Mr. Cortese supported for the Sheriff’s election and why, his response was expected but his reasoning was alarming.
Mr. Cortese said he came out early in support for Sheriff Laurie Smith. His reasoning behind backing Sheriff Smith had nothing to do with her credentials, performance or accomplishments. He quite simply stated he was backing her to return the favor of her backing him in the past. Politics….favor for favor.
I wonder if Mr. Cortese and Sheriff Smith were already discussing this proposal of augmenting SJPD with Deputies while he actively sought our endorsement? That way if he garnered the DSA’s endorsement that would provide tantamount legitimacy to his and Sheriff Smith’s plan.
The second issue is with Sheriff Smith’s statement where she states politics should stay out of the public safety debate. While I agree with her statement in word only, the practicality of it falls short. Just look at Mr. Cortese’s statement he gave to the DSA. Apparently it’s ok to have a politician openly support you just to return a favor. Apparently it’s ok for that same politician to work directly with you in order to shape and craft public safety that ultimately impacts two separate departments.
Sheriff Smith’s statement further falls on it’s face when you examine two separate websites. The ﬁrst is Kevin Jensen’s webpage listing his supporters and Sheriff Smith’s webpage listing her supporters. You’ll quickly notice that when you apply Sheriff Smith’s logic of politicians sticking to what they know and leaving the running of law enforcement to law enforcement personnel it’s apparent she has no problem accepting & using political endorsements for her selfish gain.
Not a single law enforcement agency supports her. Instead, she has the political backing from dozens of other politicians (minus SJ Mayor Chuck Reed of course) who she states should stay out of the public safety debate. Hmmmmm, interesting. Apparently her statement only seems to apply to those politicians who don’t back her. I’m sure all those politicians are simply “returning the favor” too.
On the ﬂip side, Kevin Jensen has the support of a large variety of groups, individuals, organizations and every single law enforcement agency in the county (minus SJPD surprisingly). Now when you use Sheriff Laurie Smith’s own words, it’s clear that Kevin Jensen is the only real choice for Sheriff of Santa Clara County. Law enforcement, not politicians know how to best provide the necessary services to the public.