Sheriff Laurie Smith Is Right; It Is Interesting

The placement of new cameras alone launched a slew of questions when the news of the cameras came out. Why there, in a dorm that has had the least problems because of standard security practices. But for some reason, the day after the cameras were installed, insiders are saying those very practices were rolled back and they’re saying the order came from the administration.  Now, the timing of cameras and the fight yesterday afternoon is making people ask some seriously dark questions.

When will the sheriff learn, the truth will come out. I can only hope what appears to be the truth right now is a grossly misunderstood assessment of the past 48 hours.  I am being told over last night and this morning from sources inside the jail that there were definitely known general gang tensions and it is believed that at least some personnel in the administration was aware that a beat down was planned at some point against a particular individual.

I don’t know if any of the deputies present on 4A were aware that there was a boiling problem at that moment, something in regards to a debt needing to be paid according to one source. Either way, what is coming from inside the jail is that the cameras were installed the day before, and the next day deputies were ordered by the administration to change how they were programming the pod. I’m told people who’ve worked in the pod in the past said they would never programmed that pod in the manner they’re saying it was programmed yesterday.

It needs to be determined who and why it was decided to program the inmates in this manner — did deputies do it on their own or did administrators change programming for for some reason? And whomever did it, why? Was there an intent on the part of the sheriff to utilize her new cameras? Or did deputies decide the cameras provided them an opportunity? Or was someone viewing this as a exercise in time savings?  It’s critical to find out because what I’m being told is is ugly.

First off, no matter the reason or cause, the cameras could have possibly helped deputies by allowing an “eagle eye” view of the inmates to a deputy via monitors, an additional layer of immediate security. However camera monitors are locked away where only administration can access them, so they provide no value by allowing deputies to potentially better see actions, such as inmates “bunching up”, which they say is often a prelude to some type of incident.

4A houses alleged violent offenders and alleged gang members, sometimes from different gangs. Because of this, until yesterday I’m told, they were programming only a quarter of the pod at a time. This allowed deputies to keep members from different gangs separate and allowed a manageable number of inmates if something were to happen. If this is true, they’re alleging the administration ordered the elimination of yet another mechanism intended to keep deputies and inmates safe for no apparent reason.

Part of what is bothering me, is that I was told this morning that while the jail is on lockdown and this is an active investigation the sheriff is parading all over the media, a high level administrator has ordered these same inmates to be programmed again today. From what I’m told, it appears that he’s demanding it be done in the same manner that elicited yesterday’s battle royale. I hope this is either inaccurate or has changed if not.

Now I’m not able to confirm beyond my sources what I’m being told, and I understnad that it is one sided and certainly prone to it’s own bias. But with several sources from various areas saying the same thing, it has to be considered this information requires further examination. The implications are severely problematic and shocking to the conscience. Information currently seems to imply the administration may have intentionally allowed what they felt would be a non-lethal gang aggression so they could film it for a PR stunt.

There are so many coincidences that allow this train of thought to continue.  If you think back, the Walter Roches case comes to mind, the sheriff has repeatedly refused to release video calling it  an active case. Even though the Roches case is now closed, the sheriff is still refusing to allow the video of the cell extraction. However, yesterday’s events just happened, obviously still under investigation, is on the 6PM news just 2 1/2 hours after it ended with enough time for the cameras to show up and get video of entering hazmat teams. What exactly is the sheriff’s procedure and protocol for releasing video? I for one am becoming more and more curious about policy on this one. It seems to run on whims and political expediency.

The implications here are horrific and can’t be left as the rumor and innuendo that it is now. This demands an investigation of the highest order, with full transparency so we can find out exactly what happened — was the programming actually changed? Who changed it? Why? Were members of two separate gangs programming together? Was this common before yesterday? Was there knowledge about a planned assault? How far up did that knowledge go? Did line staff know? Many people want to know and have been speculating from the line staff to the cells and all the way to newsfeeds on the internet by citizens — why did the sheriff put these cameras on the floor that has had the fewest issues in recent memory? That speculation was out well before this fight occurred.  These questions need to be put to rest.

If the administration did not do the things people are accusing them of in this particular incident, they deserve to be exonerated of such heinous accusations. The accusations and claims are serious and the circumstances of timing do not help. We are owed some answers to these very disturbing questions and claims.

But this brings about another issue that has increasingly been rearing it’s ugly head. The public deserves clarification of exactly who is in charge at the jails. It more and more seems that Chief Hirokawa is in charge over the bad things and the sheriff is in charge of the perceived good. If Hirokawa is in charge of the jails and responsible for the decisions there why do we see the sheriff shopping for cameras and later “helping” install the cameras”? Why do we see her on the evening news talking about this fight and how we can see what the deputies are dealing with in the jails? I’m guessing  though it will be Hirokawa called to the table by the Blue Ribbon Commission about the questions LaDoris Cordell has about this incident. Let’s face it, this is more evidence that Sheriff Smith has designated Hirokawa as her scapegoat.

It’s this simple, if Hirokawa is truly in charge of the jails, at best, how can he run facilities when the sheriff randomly decides she’s in charge? At worst, it’s all an act to blame the guy who’s about to retire anyway and protect the sheriff who should be forced out of office through public pressure at this point as far as I’m concerned.

Deputies are saying inmates throughout the jail system are panicked. Even if the actions I’m told about above turn out to be completely wrong and an organized story to go after the sheriff (shamefully and requiring it’s own discipline if that were to be true), these people should not have been programmed together under any reasonable evaluation of the rules and general safety practices in just about any jail in this country.

I’m asking the Board of Supervisors to find an independent and unbiased investigative source, unaffiliated with the county government or sheriff’s office to examine what happened over the past 48 hours in our jails. That the investigating entity be given power to take action, unlike the Blue Ribbon Commission investigation. That it be determined if there were intentions on the part of any one, be they deputy or administrator, to cause a situation that allowed this fight to occur and that the public be made fully aware of the results of the investigation.

What happened is unacceptable and we need to stop worrying about the fixes for a moment and determine the causes, especially if any one of these current claims are accurate.  Intent can undermine any fix put in place.

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3 thoughts on “Sheriff Laurie Smith Is Right; It Is Interesting

  1. Well reported, its about time someone had the “b s” to stand up and report the truth, everyone is afraid of loosing their job for telling the truth, the people deserve to know what their money is being spent on and how they may be treated one day if they end up in jail. People are dying everyday in jails for no good reasons at all. Its time this kind of behavior stops and the people behind it take responsibility for their actions. There have been nothing but problem after problem since Laurie Smith walked through that jail door she should be the next one that charges are brought up against.

    Good reporting Casey Thomas you have a new follower and I will help pass the word Thank-You

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    • Thank you, Donna. I wish I had the ability to prove more of the information I know about both corrections and enforcement. Unfortunately the nature of what we do doesn’t always provide evidence that should be made public. I believe though, there are other people working on it. The sheriff says she’s going to run again, it’s just another clear statement that she cares nothing about law enforcement, less about the function, mission and success about her office than she does about her own ego.

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