You are Now Defenders of the Status Quo

co-authored by Casey Thomas and Deputy Seeking Change

If you’ve read the Mercury article now you see what $95000 buys the public by way of transparency and honesty.  You are now defenders of the status quo, and distressed because LaDoris Cordell is coming to show us how bad you are.

You are now people who have been minimizing the death of Michael Tyree as an “isolated incident” who don’t feel there are issues to be addressed.  It doesn’t matter this argument flies in the face of the fact many of us have been saying if things don’t change it will only continue to go downhill.  That part doesn’t help the supervisors and sheriff in their efforts.

They don’t even mention that a death followed short weeks later — Walter Roches whose death doesn’t even qualify a mention in the release — it’s not convenient to the argument they’re making.  If they go that route they risk showing what employees of the sheriff’s office have been trying to say for years. There are dangerous problems here that we must address.  That doesn’t fit the agenda of countering the arguments we’ve been trying to make though.  It doesn’t fit the agenda of reframing the story to benefit a few who deserve no applause after doing the wrong thing for so long.

See by mentioning Walter Roches, they would do several things.  Refocus the public attention on the fact this absolutely isn’t a singular incident.  That there is still a question as to whether or not Roches died due to deputies not having appropriate training, a lieutenant that wasn’t aware of basic policy, an undersheriff who lied about existing policy for the FN 303, and the fact the sheriff has refused to release manner and cause of death for 4 weeks now.

Two deaths prove our argument and rather than finally being able to breath a sigh of relief that things will be addressed, we get called “defenders of the status quo” and Walter Roches will disappear into the oblivion of the short attention span of the American public.

Who came up with this attack that is so vaguely, but clearly, directed at the deputies?  Why the politically expedient lobbyist lawyers they’ve hired. The county is willing to dump a fortune to protect themselves from their mistakes, the truth and anyone who will speak out to their neglect of problems brought to them quite some time back now.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Cortese thought it critical that the chair of this “commission” be completely trusted by the civil rights community.  The sheriff’s personnel aren’t a concern when it comes to their trust of the committee, they are happy with the status quo after all, right? The objective here is to send each issue, other than mental health, down one of two paths; blaming deputies for a myriad of failings, most over which they had no control, or ignoring the problem altogether.  Deputies don’t trust their sheriff, their assistant sheriffs, most their captains and many of their lieutenants. Their PIO is a proven liar who is making clearly false claims to the media.  Clearly the deputies aren’t entitled to trust anyone in this process.

Instead, we are expected (and sadly, likely will) to stand silent in the face of accusations that we don’t follow  “written policy” without this committee having even met, never mind having taken the slightest glance at what written policy actually contains.  Hey, you tell it to the people in weasel words, they’ll believe it.  After all you’re the big, bad bullies who got your badge because you like to abuse people — just ask anyone.

Clearly the objective here is to paint our continued and consistent argument for improvement and our objection to the continued narrowing of this “commission’s” goals as a demand for “status quo” because it benefits the media, the supervisors and the sheriff to shut us up and minimize our concerns.  It’s an easy mistruth to peddle with all the anti-police rhetoric and the lack of reach the deputies have. The sheriff who can’t even show up for work, promotes people who lie, have DUIs, pick up prostitutes, saves money on the backs of rape and murder victims, is suddenly the hero in the picture.  She has a tough job reigning all those bad deputies andd without a whip would just run rampant and beat up everyone they came across. Good thing LaDoris Cordell is here with all the civil rights people to set us straight about how wrong we are to want a broader spectrum of change than one that just makes them look good.

I won’t even get into Grilli’s appointment. I don’t know his background, I know Santa Clara has a holding cell, hardly a location to garner a lot about “correction’s operations”.  If I am to be honest though, reading the metro link on the earlier blog post, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to campaign for people in uniform. That tells me almost all I need to know about the person selected to represent my interests on the committee.

All our effort to reach out to the public relegated to non-existence with a couple of pen strokes from a lobbyist lawyer who has promised transparency and then offered us silence for 3 weeks and a burning curiousity as to why there is still no manner or cause of death for Walter Roches.

Hey, all good.  You know what everyone — there are plenty of agencies out there looking for great men and women who take their job, training, policy and professionalism seriously.  There is no reason to stand here and wait for the entirety of the sheriff’s failings to fall on our shoulders or just continue to be ignored.

Find a new job at an agency, in a city or county, that you can be proud of and will be proud of you.

job openings for deputies

Job openings for corrections

Jobs for police officers

If you can’t get them to listen, if you can’t get them to care, leave them.  The future of your career doesn’t have to die for a sheriff with a poor reputation because she’s protected by her political friends.  The lack of respect for our sheriff outside of her friends already reflects on and impacts us and it’s only going to get worse.


One thought on “You are Now Defenders of the Status Quo

  1. Casey, we want to publicly thank you for all that you’ve done to expose the truth. I truly believe in the silent majority and feel the helplessness that not enough people are listening.

    There are many reasons why the public seems uninterested. A major part of why things evolve such as they do, is the severe cut-backs in the media (just as in law enforcement). There really isn’t a true investigative team within the media in general, in contrast to what’s advertised. Other times, their reports are curtailed and dictated by their bosses and corporate pressures placed on them. A reporter gets too big (read: making too much money) and they’re replaced by lesser paid newer reporters who may not have the history others did.

    While not defending the media, so many other things are going on in national and world arenas so this may seem inconsequential to many. Even the Mercury/News is a shell of its former self. Down-sizing results in a lot of AP wire stories and many stories from their other bay area newspapers being published, having little or nothing to do with San Jose. The lay-offs and staff reductions within the media in general is alarming. Don’t expect a Woodward/Bernstein story occurring in today’s environment.

    And then there is the political arena. The political relationships and ties are disturbing and so obvious that they do not need to be restated. Look at who endorses who. Look at who contributes to political campaigns. As what was stated in the movie, All the President’s Men, follow the money.
    You have to believe County Executive Jeff Smith when he said, “we’re trying to figure out how to do the public-information collection and not create a huge number of lawsuits.” This was (to their credit) in a recent Mercury News article regarding formation of the “Blue Ribbon Commission”.

    You want a story? Investigate how much money the County has paid out as the result of settlements and lawsuits stemming from incidents at the Sheriff’s Office. Compare this to similar sized counties or cities and departments.

    Maybe nobody wants to know the truth because it is too painful to deal with. Status quo. It is much easier to accept and go along with the way certain people wish. Making decisions is not difficult. Making the right decisions subjected to scrutiny or controversy really helps define great leaders.

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