At first I was surprised, I was slightly impressed. I read the first part of the Palo Alto Post article last night and I thought, “Finally!” Finally, the sheriff takes a little responsibility for her actions in regards to at least one case we’ve been discussing.
She states, finally, that yes, Aldon Smith got special treatment at the jails and was fast-tracked through and that yes, she was wrong to invite Aldon Smith to party with her friends on Carnival Ride 1 (our incumbent’s almost personal helicopter) and shooting guns for a fundraiser. (Wait… isn’t it illegal to use taxpayer purchased equipment to fundraise?! Show me where the money for that fundraiser went.)
But the story changes there. Rather than hearing that she had any part of it… actually showed up that early to give Coach Harbaugh and his staff a tour of the jails while they waited for Aldon, we hear– well that’s just how it is. That’s what the deputies do, I had nothing to do with it. Really?! How often do you show up to give families waiting for their loved one’s a tour? Never? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it. Never.
It only took her 6 months to answer and figure out how she could attempt to squirm out of all responsibility and blame her deputies.
Let’s talk about how the incumbent and her administration don’t make decisions about special treatment. Let’s talk about a deputy who was arrested for a DUI. Yes, deputies make mistakes, yes he was properly disciplined according to policy (unlike some others we could mention… a captain*cough*cough*). However, let’s talk about the life endangering “special treatment” this deputy got at the behest of his patrol captain.
When the deputy was brought in, according to policy, the captain of the division the deputy is assigned to is notified. This deputy happened to be assigned to patrol division with a captain notorious for malicious behavior towards deputies simply because he can. When the captain was notified by the jails lieutenant that the deputy was in custody and being held separate from general population, as is the norm for safety reasons, the captain immediately responded by ordering the deputy put in general population.
Deputies aren’t separated out of general population because they’re “special” or they are getting “special treatment” because they’re cops and they deserve it. It’s actually a safety consideration. Putting a deputy in to a cell with upwards of 10 people, any of which could be violent, any of which could have potentially had interactions on the street with the deputy, or simply who may think it entertainment to assault a deputy who won’t have assistance quickly enough to save him from serious harm.
For safety purposes, people who are arrested for murder or sexual assault or other crimes that may put the suspect at risk of being assaulted by other inmates are segregated for their safety. The deputy wasn’t even allowed the same safety considerations that serious criminals are given.
Despite, from my understanding of conversations that occurred as the order went down the line, a number of people protested at this decision, sergeants did attempt to stop it at some level, but when it came right down to it, all were afraid to deny a captain known for his malevolence and the administration’s lack of effort to restrain his abuse, no one would refuse the order. The deputy was placed in general population, endangering his safety, as well as the other inmates in the cell. and any deputy who may have had to go into the cell to stop an altercation had one happened.
Yes, the hand of the sheriff and her upper ranking personnel can and do reach into the jails to make decisions like this in cases where they’re notified of “special” requirements.
Then the sheriff implies that the arresting agencies are responsible for “where and how” a suspect is booked. As if San Jose PD or Santa Clara PD or any other agency in the county can come in and say, hey, this is Aldon Smith, get him out of here in 2 hours and by the way, could you get the Sheriff down here? Jim Harbaugh will be coming to pick up Aldon and would like a tour of the facilities. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Agencies do have the ability to book suspects at their own locations and bring them to the jails later if necessary. They can base this decision on their own policies and practices, be it cost related, distance related or whatever. But once an agency drops off a suspect for booking at the county facilities, they are not in control of the process.
This whole interview with you is like one of those meaningless backhanded apologies. You know the ones — I’m really sorry I did that, but not really. Be accountable for your actions for a change. Perhaps he would have been fast-tracked out — more likely he would have sat in a segregated cell for his safety, like other people have many times. You showing up was just the icing on the cake, we did noticed that you didn’t even mention your presence.
This is just one example of the “fear and intimidation” and “blame someone else” policies that are meted out by or with the blessings of the incumbent. It’s an example of how, yes, when the upper administration feels like interfering, be it the sheriff herself or a captain, they have no qualms in doing so. And yes, when it becomes a point of issue and they’re questioned, they find some one to throw under the bus.
Thank you, Sheriff Laurie Smith, for giving us yet another example of what you call leadership and exactly why we need change in this county. You’ve had 16 years, you’ve done nothing in at least 8 of them to improve the office. You’ve created an atmosphere of abuse, favoritism, distrust and disrespect amongst your personnel with actions like the above.
I can’t even imagine how decimated the office will be if you’re allowed another 4 years of your abusive and self-serving management style.