Is This the Reform Tax Payers are Looking For?

My last blog was about how the sheriff’s administration seemed to be a little confused on what “public information” is and how it gets released. They appeared to have been making something of an effort to start a rumor the DSA released public information rather than focusing on fixing issues that have been plaguing the office. You would hope the sheriff would understand it’s time to heal and recover rather than expending such effort at deepening the divide.  As of yesterday though, things have gotten downright bizarre according to sources.

Since that last blog, a lot of information has come into my hands. It seems the administration has lost its mind and is now in some strange, desperate bid either trying to undermine the DSA to the point of seriously trying too hard… or worse, trying to intimidate deputies into keeping their mouths shut and not going to the DSA when they have problems, potentially undermining the DSA’s efforts towards reform. Or worse yet, flat-out implying that they would have protected the deputy arrested over the weekend if someone in the DSA hadn’t released already public information.  Oh wait, that last, they’re actually doing. Perhaps this is the new PR campaign for the sheriff’s ethics – I’ll take care of you if you take care of me.

Oh yes, this is starting to get that deep and that dark and that desperate and strange. It now involves the office as a whole culminating in a special moment of roll-call training from upper administration during briefings this weekend. Trust me when I say anything other than a basic briefing is a big deal at briefing. People have tried for years to get various mini-training sessions, speakers, etc. during briefings to help improve deputies and the sheriff will not engage the office in even this form of minimal training exercise.

Let’s start at the beginning though. Last Sunday, deputy arrested. The office has him appear for duty on Monday only to send a team in to make a public spectacle and walk him off the job while everyone else is present and preparing for shift. It was a clear message to everyone something serious was afoot and an attempt to start the rumor mill going. The actions of the Administration incited the DSA to send out an email through the private DSA system to reassure the deputies and to say they were working to support their member in every way possible.  Shortly after, when the media started to make inquiries of the DSA they released a statement. The story then breaks by two media entities that appear to be on each other’s heels. One of these entities has been given leaked information in the recent past, most notably the extremely limited access text messages and identities involved in an open IA investigation. The other I was recently told has a personal relationship with a captain who has made very poor decisions in the past and recently this journalist and his organization have appeared to benefit from other hand fed stories from the sheriff’s administration. Maybe we should do a CPRA request for the sheriff’s captains’ emails or text messages to these particular reporters to see just what is being “leaked” and to whom.  But be quick, the sheriff’s records policy is to delete an email after only 90 days.  Deleting public records after a few months. That seems odd too, doesn’t it?

Forgive me for hacking historical literature, but it’s as if the sheriff’s weavers have told her they have woven her a uniform that only those worthy can see.  In the administration’s hubris they pretend they are worthy and can see the brand new uniform, and pretend that all is right telling the sheriff her uniform is perfect. But the deputies see the truth, the weavers have fooled the sheriff and she wears no ethics.

With the details above, you might be saying, so what? And honestly, despite hearing at that point about a captain calling their entire division in for a special meeting to tell them how the office could have “protected” the deputy, to the West Valley captain having “casual conversations” around his division about how the sheriff wanted to help but the DSA ruined that, I thought when I wrote the blog the other day this whole thing would blow over and be done.  Turns out it was just the tip of the iceberg and I’ve been informed that I was wrong. Given the events of yesterday morning… way wrong!

I’ve been told select administrators were ordered in on their days off from as far away as Sacramento area to make a presentation about how the DSA has damaged the opportunity for the sheriff to help this deputy. These presentations were done during briefings before deputies go out on patrol to ensure a broad reaching message was sent. That’s a lot of unnecessary manpower and effort being used to convince DSA members the DSA is their problem and the sheriff’s office could be their savior.

Among some of the more disturbing thoughts, this is an organized effort by the sheriff to assure us that her people would have protected someone who was allegedly arrested for a criminal matter regardless of outcome of the investigation.

Another problem here is the obsession over who “leaked” this information; it shouldn’t matter.  The investigation isn’t complete. I would fully expect the sheriff to do whatever is appropriate should the story as we’ve been told not be fully accurate.  But the sheriff’s administration has made an effort to send a message to every deputy they can reach that they may have done something different if this story never made it to the public eye. Because it is there already, they’ve implied their decision is made before an investigation is even done.

This is exactly the sheriff’s ethics problem our deputies have been talking about here for years now. ”Leaders” going to briefings to speak are actively working to reinforce the understanding that those willing to sell their soul to the sheriff will be protected no matter what. They’re confirming to every deputy the sheriff has no qualms about reaching out to someone who has found themselves in a serious situation and manipulating events so the individual is indebted to her for future dirty work so they can keep their job.

All the sheriff has done sending her staff to have conversations, meetings and even briefings is show contempt for accountability and fairness and enforce the idea that misbehavior is accepted under the right circumstances. Just as bad, it appears to be an attempt to undermine reform and marginalize those supporting reform or the DSA. They’re saying out one side of their mouth, “do something wrong, come to us, we’ll protect you. The DSA will call a reporter, but we’ll make sure you keep your job if we can keep it quiet. If you go to the DSA first, there’s no protecting you from us.” From the other side of their collective mouth they then tell reporters the unions are the cause of so many law enforcement issues because POBAR rights hinder her from transparency and justice.

All this is confusing to those many deputies with any ethics seeing this; why is the administration heaping unnecessary humiliation on a deputy, already facing enough of his own making, in front of our membership with such a bizarre message? Aggressively pushing what appears to be an unethical agenda through various means to reach every deputy possible with a worrisome message. Ask yourself why.  Is it because if they push an overwhelming and repetitive campaign they hope you will start believing what they are selling? Let me explain the administration’s other underlying message more clearly to you who would dare hold to your ethics against such a bold recruiting event to the dark side: “Don’t look them in the eye, keep your head bowed and don’t talk back, we are many.”

The sheriff and her people have gotten away with this behavior for so long they have no concerns or fears about such openly offensive behavior. Looking at the cabal of usual suspects who are spreading the message and how they’re doing it should in and of itself speak volumes.

The only question now is who will hold the sheriff and these administrators responsible for these damaging, inappropriate attempts to intimidate deputies into unethical actions?

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  1. Pingback: County Attempts Slight Of Hand | Casey Thomas' World

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