Under Sheriff to NBC: “We Did A Great Job” on the Metcalf Substation Attack

UPDATE:  NBC video and further follow-up on the interview available here

How often does that trite phrase get hauled out by the sheriff and her fourth floor staff now? We did a great job!  Sierra Lamar (Should have been, “we got lucky”), Audrie Pott (Should have been, “we had politics in the way”) and now Undersheriff John Hirokawa dusts it off for the Metcalf incident (should be, “seriously, we haven’t done a debrief and the incident happened over a year ago?!)  No, I’m very serious on that last one.  There was no debrief done on a major incident by a major law enforcement agency to understand what happened, what the response was and what the follow up should be.  Not after it happened on April 16, 2013 and not when the Wall Street Journal brought to light how serious the situation had been in February of 2014?  We finally have confirmation of this failure right from the horses mouth — and he’s not joking.   Reading the article, clearly he’s serious.

NBC Investigative Unit’s written story has been released.  I will update with the video later when it’s accessible as well.

There seems to be a few issues in the story — “Hirokawa pointed to emails from three supervisors involved in the Metcalf response who found no problems with it.”  What three supervisors?  Will they be named in the video? I certainly hope so.  I’m assuming the then Lieutenant who failed to show up for 5 hours and was promoted for her “great job” is one of them?  An example of the quality promotions we have seen in the Sheriff’s office more often than not.  Of course she wouldn’t have a problem with the response, one would actually have to be present to know what the response was and actually have an issue with it, right?

“Hirokawa said he now plans to call for a complete debrief.”  So what?  What does that mean in the office of Sheriff Laurie Smith?  A complete debrief on a matter that should have been debriefed in May of 2013, 15 months ago? Lehigh What is he or the office going to do with that debrief?  Will anything change?  Will anyone know if anything changes?  Does the administration even comprehend that things need to change?  Or will a “debrief” be put together and thrown into a file somewhere so they can say it was done?  I will say, it’s one step further than they’ve gone on any other incident that I can name.  There was never a debrief on the Lehigh mass murder incident, which happened all the way back in 2011 now.  Another critical incident with a poor response that suffered no review of the “greatness” of the job done by the decision-makers, the Sheriff herself, on that incident.  Here’s another idea from me to you, Tony — a follow up in 6 months to see if they’ve actually done the debrief and what the resulting policy changes are from it.

“When asked to respond to Gonzales’s claim that requests for additional resources were not granted quickly enough, Hirokawa said he wasn’t going to second guess the sergeant’s interpretation of how the call should have been handled.”  Probably a wise idea since, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess, the Sergeant has far more knowledge, experience and training in what the response should have been than Hirokawa does.

A couple of interesting tidbits I got from insiders on this story — Hirokawa didn’t agree to talk, he was confronted after the office refused to give NBC access to him for an interview.  The day of the “interview” in the parking lot, there was enough of a disturbance to draw a number of people who took photos and started sending them around asking what was going on and why was the Undersheriff “fighting” with reporters in the parking lot.  I received some of those images and texts that day, so I have no reason to doubt that there was some kind of unexpected confrontation on the part of the Undersheriff.  Why is the office that the recently elected sheriff said “is willing to talk to and work with anyone” already hiding from the media?

Through a lesser assured means of information, Zoe Lofgren was rumored to have said that she wasn’t going to help NBC attack “her friend” the sheriff.  If this is true, it’s interesting that Zoe Lofgren, who requested that letter outlining the response at the request of her constituents, which was then forwarded to my attention and on to the public stream it has been floating in since, is putting friends and politics before her job – AGAIN.  I’m quite sure that Zoe didn’t realize the can of worms she was opening up by requesting that letter and sending it to her constituents.  I’m sure if she did, she would have never have asked for it at the Sheriff’s fundraiser that day and this story would never have seen the light of day.