When the sheriff’s incumbent and her political advisor talk about crime in the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office, you frequently hear how she is in charge of “two of the safest cities” in the country.
This is true. There is no refuting that at face value. But let’s scratch the surface of that facade. These two cities are both well-off with little to no poverty or adverse conditions that tend to draw more criminal activity.
We’re not talking high crime areas, we’re talking areas with privacy walls, HD security cameras, high end home security and in some places, even private security patrols.
I guess it also helps that the detectives for the county have been pulled and added to the West Valley division — it’s easier to solve and reduce crime when you actually have enough detectives. See, the issue here is that to keep the contract, she has to produce… she has no such motivation for the unincorporated of the county.
In comparison, the unincorporated county jurisdiction, according to the last available FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, has a homicide rate that is the 3rd highest for all jurisdictions in the county. The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have qualified investigators, not for the lack of detectives hard work and trying, but because she rotates people out of these critical positions after 3-5 years – moving them back onto patrol, into jails, to south county or west valley — the point here is that a detective in the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office is never allowed to gain the experience and training needed to solve some cases; and the idea of a detective following a cold case to completion is non-existent. The DA is the agency that handles cold case investigations now on a more regular basis (hint for the incumbent sheriff’s campaign: see how he did that — said he would do something, did it and can provide actual results to the public?)
Property crime rates have been increasing around the state. The state overall has an average increase of 7.4%, while the county of Santa Clara labors under an increase exceeding 20%. Yes, there is a good solve rate in her two favorite cities — but it’s easy when the home owner can hand you an HD video of the criminals wandering around the house filling their sacks like anti-Santas.
That’s the key here — the Sheriff’s Office can do a good job when the job is easy, like it is in Saratoga and Cupertino. When the job is more difficult, involves time and effort and skill and training, she has undermined the ability of the deputies for years leaving the rest of the county with a less than glowing record involving crime rates that you’ll never hear her mention.
Mike Honda calls our incumbent an “outstanding leader” in her new ad. How would he know? What has his interaction with the sheriff’s office been that he would have experienced the quality of leadership on the job? Does he understand that when some one is a successful leader they don’t have 1200 people cast a public vote of no confidence and support another candidate? While I appreciate your opinion Mr. Honda, some clarification on what you base that opinion on would be helpful.
The incumbent goes on to claim she puts public safety first? The article in Rolling Stone indicating that the investigation into the sexual assault of Audrie Pott (in one of the incumbent’s “safest cities,” no less) was put off for at least a week; Marc Klaas and Danny Domingo have come out and stated that the incumbent stonewalled search teams trying to assist — some reports from internal sources even indicate her and her administration openly ridicules the KlaasKids searchers. The active shooter incident with Shareef Allman failed to put public safety first by internal accounts; similar internal accounts are showing great conflict between the official story of the Metcalf attack and the people who were actually present at the incident. If there is even an appearance of putting public safety first by our incumbent, I’ve yet to find it. Her simply saying so in a self-produced ad doesn’t prove a thing.
Then we hear how our incumbent is committed to keeping kids off drugs and out of gangs… with what programs? She has none. I don’t exaggerate, even DARE has been shut down more than 5 years ago now. All community policing, all programs that would bring deputies into regular interaction with kids to help prevent drug use and gangs have literally been cut under Sheriff Smith. How committed can you be when you do nothing to mitigate drug and gang recruiting?
One line even states our incumbent “turned the sheriff’s office around.” Turned it around from what? Was the office going downhill when she took over? What was the problem? Corruption? Lack of training? Inability to do your job because of lack of modern, or even functioning equipment? Oh wait… that’s the Sheriff’s office today. She has turned it around, and now it’s going in the wrong direction..
Then we hear how Smith has saved $10,000,000 at the jails alone. Jails, I might point out, which are currently dangerously understaffed — putting inmates, officers and the public in danger. Inmates in constant lockdown increasing tensions between inmates and officers unnecessarily, increasing the risk for violence as we’ve already heard is happening. While she has saved us $10M, she is costing us our security. She is ignoring that during this same time frame, AB109 came to town… and rather than ensuring we spent some of that “saved” money to ensure we had staffing, training and equipment to deal with it, she’s here bragging about how she’s made us less safe, but saved us some money.
The incumbent says a lot of things. That doesn’t make them true. The sheriff is happy to put out her little Facebook ad full of words, but words only have the value and power we give them. Her words are empty — claims with no verification behind them.
I’ve never really thought the Sheriff had her priorities straight when it came to many things, but she has proven beyond a doubt at this point — her focus is not on community safety, it’s on developing a facade she believes will deflect public scrutiny. She has promised us a comprehensive plan, but provided a reality that is only skin deep.