The comments coming from the sheriff to protect herself are astounding. I posted about her “officials” claims about an air gun. Now I continue to read about “a stronger pepper spray”. They are kidding us, right? They used Clear Out. Now the company that makes this product also makes a more effective pepper spray called PUNCH III, but that wasn’t what was used. Clear Out is an ENHANCED OC (pepper) spray. It contacts contains 1% Orthochlorobenzalmolonitrile (CS) and 1% Oleo Resin Capsicum (OC). CS gas is a chemical tear gas, not a “stronger OC” as claimed by “officials.” People need to stop taking the administration at their word — she’s a proven liar, her PIO is a proven liar and most (but not all) of her command staff are proven liars and they will play word games with us.
Now keep in mind, OC vs. CS doesn’t imply anything was done wrong, intentionally or unintentionally, by the deputies involved in the cell extraction of the inmate that died. What we are seeing here though is the sheriff’s willingness to downplay what may negatively affect her if found out, but if the deputies involved were accused of any wrong doing in the death, and by her own words, there was no foul play, she wouldn’t be so eager to stash this information away. If she can downplay the tools used, she can downplay the serious training gaps involved.
So all we know about this death at this point that is honest from the sheriff, is there was no apparent wrongdoing on the part of the deputies that would have caused the death. That will be good if the death is determined to be a homicide in the future, which it still could be. No foul play doesn’t mean the inmate didn’t die from injuries sustained from the accidental misuse, or even correct use, of one or more tools due to the lack of TRAINING provided by the sheriff to her personnel.
But let’s see what else the sheriff is willing to say to save herself.
We see the sheriff is going with her usual strategy — can’t be me, must be you. She started by blaming the dead inmate, reiterating his history in the news over and over again. Yes, his actions played a role, but they have nothing to do with the level of training provided, or in this case, not provided, by the sheriff’s office. She is also clearly willing to burn the jails to the ground to convince the public the only problem in her jails is the deputies — many of which she has hired or promoted.
She’s going back to those who’ve come to our attention in the past? How about she start with poor leadership she has allowed for so long — the sergeant that stood on the back of the restrained inmate? There was video played on NBC news showing it. It wasn’t made up. Oh wait, he’s an untouchable. I got some background on that video, too. THAT is apparently what passes for a training tool in the jails these days. No, no, no — not for what not do, you sillies. And the sheriff holding people responsible? That sergeant has since been promoted, not once, but twice. Yes, commit an act of violence on video that no one in the media catches wind of, do what you’re told after that, and you become a captain.
Who has come to the attention of the sheriff in the past? And why is it only now, after 2 people are dead, she’s seeking patterns and problems? Shouldn’t that be a day to day thing? When someone comes to your attention shouldn’t you actually do something then? And why is she so laser focused on the deputies being the problem and not at all concerned about the environment? The training, the supervision, the protocols and policies. I guess because it’s impossible to focus on what simply does not exist. One wonders if you had a policy that required a sergeant on every floor, a radio system that was recorded, training officers who actually had time to train and were respected rather than feared — would we even be in this situation at all? Probably not. Had appropriate and standard mechanisms been in place they would have fixed or eliminated these risks.
While we need to address the problem, we need to address the root of the problem that allowed these bigger problems to happen. That root that needs to be excised so the weeds can’t grow again…that root is the sheriff. She needs to go.
So there are a hundred complaints against officers. And rather than take even a slight bit of blame for her poor attendance to her job, she’s going to stand on her soapbox and destroy the moral of every single officer and deputy under her star to prove to the public that the problem here isn’t her. That she hasn’t been looking for patterns, that she hasn’t addressed issues as they’ve come to the attention of the office is her fault. It’s a shame, became the sheriff has some amazing people working for her. She knows she does, she knows she hates most of them because that have frequently brought issues like this to her attention for years now. That seems to be the one trait in her personnel that she likes the least.
I am interested to see how she addresses digging through past issues — what about the lieutenant you allowed to quietly retire for drug issues? You going to press charges? No, of course you’re not. You couldn’t anyway, you blocked any further investigation so evidence wasn’t collected and it’s just a “personnel issue” so nothing has to be said.
You’ve created an environment without training, without supervision, where people get promoted for doing the wrong thing, where TO’s injure cadets, sometimes with career ending injuries, in front of entire classes. Their only reprimand? Being assigned as a TO in the jails rather than the academy.
You’ve created an environment that taught incoming people you’ve hired that this is how it’s done here. You’re going to go after those who came to your attention in the past? How? When reports against officers are just thrown away by lieutenants and captains because they know nothing will happen, or worse, they know the offender is someone you want to bring up the line as a pet and they might get in trouble for bringing them up for an IA.
Yet sheriff, here you are, being a “leader” in your sudden actions, but forgetting your quote — to paraphrase, a leader is defined by results. This is the result of 5 years of your leadership sheriff.
The jails are now your creation — your budgets, your policies or lack thereof, your supervision, your changes. It’s time for you to take credit for it. It’s time for you to step down and not burn down the jails and the many good officers and deputies that are there. If the community and Board of Supervisors allow you to finish destroying this place for no reason other than to cover your ass, it will end only in more tragic results. How many times can we say this?
Yes, there are people that need to be addressed in the jails. There are people who need to be addressed in enforcement. You’ve failed to address them for years, even when brought to your attention. There will always be people that get into this kind of job who don’t belong and the vigilance required to deal with them has been twisted to a sociopath’s needs in this office. Excising the bad from the good needs to be done with care, with fairness, and not on what is more and more appearing to be little more than a desperate witch hunt for the media to see the sheriff suddenly doing her job when should could barely find her office for the past 2 years. She’s not doing her job. Sadly, both she and I know the media probably won’t see it. They will bash deputies at the jails as you tell everyone how horrible they are. It sells and that’s what they want. The public will blame it on them and stupidly giving you the 6th term so many of us have personally heard you brag about because you “cleaned up” the jails. Assuming you can get anyone in a 1000 mile radius to work for you once the results of your inquisition, the jails might last another couple years without the structure so desperately needed that will never really get fixed once the vultures have picked over the deputies and moved on.
You’ve killed people sheriff. No, not directly by your own hands. But you are responsible for a system that allows a 3 year officer be the senior officer on a high risk floor. You are responsible for a policy that treats a potentially lethal weapon as an “air gun” and calls a chemical weapon “stronger pepper spray”. You are responsible for turning your cheek to the violence, ignorance and misconduct of far to many people you’ve promoted way to far up the ladder. You are responsible for not taking seriously the need for policy, the risks of gutting staffing. You are responsible for treating training as a reward and punishment system in a career that demands as much training as possible for everyone.
You are responsible, sheriff. Step down, sheriff. Let someone else fix what you broke and are willing to break more for your own selfish reasons because fixing it would expose your own failures and would be to much work to hold your interest anyway.