Speak Out or Sit Down

The other day I approved a comment on the “In Memoriam” blog post. I shortly there after pulled the comment. I did it for two reasons. I didn’t think the “In Memoriam” post was an appropriate place for the some to prove how small minded they were. The second being that I didn’t want to risk an outbreak of on the blog, that particular post especially, while I was not going to be around to manage it.

That said, here you go children, your own post to make unproven accusations about who I am to prove your worth and loyalty to the sheriff. You should know by now, keep it within reason, I’m going to let you say your piece, no matter how bad you make yourself look.

Here is the response I pulled from the other blog post:

Dj

Casey “roger w” Thomas

For fear of being overly repetitive, let me say yet again — I am not a member of the DSA in any capacity. Nor am I a member of the CPOA. I’m not any of the deputies that despise the lack of ethics and effort by the sheriff and her leadership. I am a “tax paying citizen” like all of you and I’ve had enough of the mismanagement and deception of the Sheriff and her administration to demand change. Ask yourselves why she is so invested in selling us a “story” that the DSA Board released public information. Information that passed through pretty much the entirety of Santa Clara PD, entered the District Attorney’s Office and wended its way through to court offices? No one in all those people decided to tell the media a deputy was arrested? Why do her minions feel the need to come and post silly things like that above?

We must consider the fact the sheriff is desperate to take the heat off for her own “leaks”. Evidence in an ongoing internal affairs investigation is handed directly to her favorite media entities– the same entities that broke the story about the deputy. She parades nearly her entire admin staff in front of the media to all but convict 3 deputies in the court of public opinion despite the investigation not being complete. The oft repeated and completely unfounded accusation the sheriff has fed the media that one of the deputies was walked off for giving information to HA. We’re supposed to suddenly believe these relationship building efforts with the media wouldn’t lead to her releasing the information on another deputy’s arrest? Right.

The administration showed an unbelievable sense of entitlement at the DSA meeting the other night. To think that they can send a lieutenant and a small handful of wannabe shills to the meeting to point fingers and make unfounded accusations and then have someone post the above comment on a page dedicated to notifying the public of the sheriff’s office befuddled investigations, embarrassing manipulations, and outright negligence.

We’ve often talked about the sense of entitlement, the separation of classes in the sheriff’s office, the institutionalized oppression that is increasingly notable with this increasingly visible division. I was recently talking to both enforcement and corrections personnel about something I’ve mentioned here briefly in the past — the degradation of the promotion process. It suddenly struck me where this increasing sense of entitlement has come from.

Talking to older sergeants and lieutenants, I was told about a process that took several steps involving written tests, interview panels; a process that actually required studying to get to the top of the promotion list. A process which required you know things like how to handle incidents of sexual harassment, or understand the management collapse of LAPD’s Rampart division, or how to handle the disciplinary process should a subordinate need discipline. A process that was conducted by “in house” and “out of house” personnel to balance any bias. A process that once meant something to those taking that step to becoming a leader within the organization, but has increasingly become to mean little other than a royal endowment of favor.

You don’t have to do any of that lengthy, emotionally wringing process any longer. You just have to pass a brief interview by a panel of often biased individuals who know how to grade according to the sheriff’s standards. You just have to find a way to “prove” yourself to the sheriff and her immediate underlings before that interview and you will be placed on the list accordingly. As I said in other blogs, a completely subjective process that identifies no qualities that show you’re capable of doing the job. It’s how we end up with nearly an entire administration of individuals with roughly 15 years or less experience and people who are captains and above who have been released from other agencies only to somehow manage to be hired by the sheriff and promoted at an accelerated rate of speed no matter their failures.

The promotional process has become an implicit approval of what you’re willing to do for them, rather than a documented approval of your capabilities and successes on the job. This is a process run by personal preference of a monarchy that immediately implies a sense of “thou” when you are “chosen” rather than a sense of accomplishment when you achieve. You are now somehow a favored child in the eyes of the sheriff. The entire process puts you on a false pedestal from the moment you are “shoulder tapped” to the time you take your new assignment and start stepping on those that now exist just for you to ignore. The process proves to the many other deputies everything I’ve described, as they almost always know the results before the interview notes are dry. It’s especially transparent when several have been unable to pass a written test and once the written test is abolished they suddenly make grade. Yes, the deputies know leadership is eroding at a fast pace within the office. A process that is almost complete and perhaps not recoverable for a generation because so many promoted to upper levels have 10 to 20 years left in their careers. People who promote often joke it’s just for the money, while others, who should promote simply state they want nothing to do with the lack of ethics it takes to get to the top of the promotion list.

When you’re a deputy and see your hard-working peers shunted aside from promotions and certain assignments for doing a good job in favor of the guy who hides in the office, steals the work product of others, who can’t make a decision, or sidetracks a critical investigation with their incompetence, what’s your reaction?

What does it do subconsciously seeing time and again that it’s not work, education, bettering yourself, and bettering the office that will get you promoted, but keeping your head down, failing to stand up against ethical violations and being willing to do whatever is demanded to just stay out of the line of fire? It won’t be your ability to mentor, lead, or make a decision that gets you noticed (at least not in a positive way), but what you will do for the sheriff when she sends one of her minions to ask that which will get you that special assignment or promotion.

What it does is degrades moral, there becomes little reason to worry about work ethic, why bother pushing to improve yourself, or your surroundings. There is no point, that won’t get you ahead. Why put in extra effort when it’s virtually meaningless to everyone around you?

Now that you’re all properly in your place for this latest game, the battle over who leaked public information, it’s time to see where all the sheriff’s pawns stand with the point system.

  • Will you speak out, loudly, against the DSA, cast blame regardless of evidence? Three points — you’re likely to be promoted in the next cycle, or garner that plum assignment you’ve been jealously eyeing no matter your experience level to qualify you.
  • Will you be one that stands there silently, head down, trying to pretend none of this affects anyone? Only a single point for you, you make it under her radar at least.
  • But if you’re willing to at least mutter negative comments about the DSA and those seeking to add ethics to the office to your friends, hopefully within earshot of a reliable admin to pass on that you’re a player, you could go up 2 whole points. This will catch the sheriff’s eye and give you the chance to impress her.
  • If you speak out and request proof and ask for confirmation of the rumors, minus one. Your immediate boss will be told to put you on “the list”
  • And if you support the DSA or CPOA, speaking out regarding ethics, management, lack of commitment go straight to jail and do not collect $200.

Here’s the problem we need to think about. This regime is on the verge of collapse. The media is digging in both enforcement and corrections. We all know bad things are going to come out. No way is this done, nor should it be considering how the sheriff has run this office into the ground. The BoS is scrambling to protect their interests, trying desperately to figure out how to neutralize the sheriff without burning their own houses down. The county is paying media consultants for damage control and secret investigations for costly law suits that likely could have been avoided had the sheriff met with these groups as at least one of them repeatedly attempted to do. How do we protect ourselves from being their scapegoat?

All these problems the sheriff should be focusing on fixing and yet here we are arguing over public information and hearing the DSA is hurting deputies, not the poor environment they’re working in. Why is the DSA and CPOA a threat and need to be discredited so? Because for the last three years you have been speaking out. Some members of the media started to pay attention to the problems. Your voice is finally starting to be heard and to be blunt, she needs to shut you up. Now. She needs to discredit anyone inciting your voice… the DSA, my blog, deputies she believes provide information to outside sources. So yes, to boil this blog post down to a few words… beware the sheriff’s latest intimidation campaign.

We can stand here quietly and let her house fall on us while she holds press conferences and convicts us for all her failures, or we can stand up, swallow our pride, take the bit of heat some of us may get for honest mistakes and unknowingly being led down the wrong path by people with bad intentions. We need to do this before we can’t come back and stop this in it’s tracks. Let her house fall on her. Let us be ahead of the curve in reaching the public before the worst happens and we can’t climb out from under the typical stereotyping she is so willing to use to her benefit to push the blame on us.

Too often we know what is happening and remain silent to just let things pass. Yes, there’s been mistakes made, but a mistake made in good faith/conscience, or a mistake made for lack of training, lack of resources is a mistake that can be prevented in the future if measures are taken. Silence in this case is a cancer. The cancer can be excised by speaking out or it can be allowed to spread by remaining silent.

We have a choice, it’s time to make it.

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2 thoughts on “Speak Out or Sit Down

  1. The thing that always amazed me is what happens to certain people after they are promoted. Those you once worked side by side with become someone else. Those “hand picked” people who were not promoted based on merit all of the sudden know more than they did before they got promoted by just adding strips to their uniform.

    I still believe there are enough good people there for someone like Kevin Jensen to “Make the Sheriff’s Office Great Again”

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    • We have a LOT of amazing deputies, we still have a LOT of amazing sergeants, but unfortunately she has now reached that level in her destruction. It’s been a methodical process that has left us with a small handful of captains and lieutenants who can command any level of respect in their jobs — she’s finally reduced the sergeants promotional process to a short interview with a few questions at best. It will eventually decimate the ranks of sergeants as it has the ranks above. At that point, where can a good deputy look to improve his career other than outward to other agencies.

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