I’ve had some people reach out with concerns about the petition to remove Sheriff Smith from the BRC we’ve been promoting, about what a signatory will be required or asked to do. The petition is not mine, so I reached out too its creator to provide you some information on any obligation and purpose behind the petition.
There seems to be concern by some that by signing the petition that I began on change.org, they will be subjecting themselves to scrutiny by either the Board of Supervisors or the Sheriff. This is a petition that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors encouraging them to not appoint the Sheriff to the Blue Ribbon Commission they are forming to review issues in the jail system. No one who signs can be compelled to speak to the Board or anybody else. You are merely expressing your First Amendment rights to speak out to elected officials.
I fully understand the hesitation that current members of the Sheriff’s Department have about taking any stand against the Sheriff for fear of retaliation. If you truly can not set that aside, then I encourage you to ask your friends and family to sign in your behalf. We are just looking for a significant number of signatures in order to get the attention of the Board. If we fail to exercise our Constitutional rights out of fear, then we dishonor those who have given so much to preserve those rights.
As you can see in the comments section of the petition, this is beginning to attract some attention from signers outside of the area. They all see that this is a conflict of interest. The way to ensure success with this petition is to attract wide spread attention on the Internet. If anybody has a way to do that or connection with any journalists who can carry this story and a link to the petition, please encourage them do so.
Personally I have little faith that this Commission will accomplish anything that will improve the conditions in the jails for inmates or staff but for there to be any chance of success, the person with the ultimate responsibility for that organization can not serve on the Commission. It is akin to Richard Nixon serving on the Senate Watergate Commission or Ronald Reagan serving on the commission investigating Iran-Contra.
We have all seen the “Teflon Sheriff” win so many battles and avoid recriminations for her acts. It is time for the rest of us to win one of those battles and prevent her and her political cronies from running roughshod over those professionals who work so hard every day.