Sheriff’s “Plan” Shows Prior Willful Negligence; More Bullying Tactics

Identifying a Workplace Bully

The sheriff is already on her way to publicly winning against the very commission she set up so she could be “transparent.” She set up her play and she took center stage. She absorbed through this façade called the Blue Ribbon Commission exactly what people wanted to see in regards to change, then she turned the tables. She turned Cordell into the “bully” despite it coming out that the sheriff tried to bully her into  the end results that would suit the sheriff’s next campaign. LaDoris questioned the sheriff’s deputies, attacked them! Oh dear — yes, those same keystone cops she has been dragging through the public mud in various fashions for years were suddenly “her deputies”. Suddenly the commission was the “bully” I was accused of being, the Keystone Cops the deputies were accused of being — only here to attack the sheriff because they wanted something she wouldn’t give.  In this case what the sheriff is unwilling to give is the very transparency she promised; what Judge Cordell gets out of this, beyond what is likely going to turn out to be an incredible waste of her time, all of which has been donated, I don’t know.

I do know that it’s not surprising the commission members, many of which the sheriff has been grooming for years either directly or through their organizations, there has been a deafening silence — even from the CPOA representative — in regards to this latest behavior.  Judge Cordell has done nothing but question how an incident could have occurred after just essentially hours prior being told there were numerous safety mechanisms in place to prevent it.  How dare she question information she was given in light of events directly in conflict with that information. Why are the commission members not uniting on that fact?

The sheriff has managed to run to the public first and cry she’s doing everything she’s supposed to and everyone wants to beat me up.  I’m just trying to do what people want and here’s this fabulous 13 point plan that I managed to create long before the commission offered you a single solid, unenforceable recommendation. She makes sure she doesn’t remind anyone that this plan wouldn’t be quite so extensive if it weren’t for her.  Now we know why it was so critical for Smith to be on this commission and it had nothing to do with accountability or availability to respond to questions (she’s pushed those off on Hirokawa, her scapegoat)  — its likley they fully intended to use this commission as a platform to relaunch the sheriff’s credibility off someone else’s back.

All we can hope is through the hype of the sheriff’s “plan”, the public doesn’t forget we are here because she took a functioning jail and turned it into a death trap. She is just now presenting the plan she should have presented 6 years ago when she made her public argument that she could do better.  There are county entities that swear that the cuts had to happen because the recession — but may I point out, these cuts were still continuing last January in 2015 when the sheriff cut out all enforcement sergeants, replaced them with 4 fewer corrections sergeants and then refused to provide the training necessary. Instead shunting off all the investigative work of 16 former sergeants to one investigator per shift.

The great recession ended in June of 2009 by virtually all economic accounts and standards, yet we’re going to argue that cuts made in 2011 through 2015 were due to recession. That there was no possible financial means to keep the review mechanisms, to ensure training was maintained at some reasonable minimum?  That they couldn’t find a way to ensure the integrity of the JTO program? I don’t believe them.  The sheriff has been playing the financial threat game with the deputies since 2004 or 2005 when she started threatening to pink slip deputies if they didn’t sign a contract with no raises. For the sheriff the recession of 2001 never ended and she’s been slashing or making excuses to no upgrade now for over a decade. So please, stop with the disingenuous arguments.

The sheriff has destroyed the jails, she has removed audit processes, safety oversight and administrative communication mechanisms. She has undermined the accountability mechanisms. She removed minimum staffing policies, a known safety issue in virtually any jail or prison. She has cut access to training and hobbled internal training mechanisms. Intentionally. She has ignored repeated efforts by her line staff to address safety issues such as the now infamous cameras. There are a number of people who have brought the issues up for years, to a person they will tell you they got nowhere. She has put officers and deputies with minimal training and experience into an environment where she’s failed to fully equip them to successfully deal with situations that may arise. They have no senior deputy to turn to, they may have a training officer, but they’re likely off elsewhere trying to do the other assignments they’ve been given that now take priority over training. There is no mentoring program to speak of despite Captain Sepulveda and Ass. Sheriff Beliveau’s presentation to the BRC.

And let’s talk about the new Assistant Sheriff. How in all these cuts of dire necessities does she argue that she needs another Assistant Sheriff more than she needs that few hundred thousand for training? Or to put an extra body or two on shift? Or to end the short shifts and have more staff full shift?  An assistant sheriff, particularly one that has done nothing to attempt to minimize growing deficiencies in his own role because he’s to busy trying to have a nicotine overdose, is more important than any of that?

What the sheriff has shown us here is that all this time she knew at the minimum what she was doing was wrong. She has again manipulated the situation and is now attempting to emerge as the saviour to the horrifying results of her own willful negligence. She intentionally ran on the ability to run the jails cheaper — and she gave us exactly what she promised, yet that seems to be already forgotten. She’s right, she understands progressive — she’s proven it with this plan. But in the 6 years running the jails and the 18 running the Sheriff’s Office, I can find no *substantial* progressive program that has been implemented fully, beyond promises and occasionally a weak façade. She’s cut many of the progressive programs — virtually all community policing programs that don’t serve a political purpose are gone. From the report writing system to the email to the mobile devices — we’re now YEARS behind other agencies.  We lag in training despite her position on the CaPOST commission.  All we have that is progressive are the fairy tales about these things she spins for the public.

Remember now, what we’re engaging in is correcting the failures from her last successful attempt to avoid her own accountability  — you know the one where she swore she held people accountable, that the deputies hated her because she wouldn’t give the greedy unions a raise, that she was a strong female leader and the men (most which supported her before her failures became evident) didn’t like that?  Really people, how is that working out for us that we’re going to allow her to do this yet again?

Look at the top of my page, at the list of people who have suffered and lost because of the sheriff’s manipulations. How many more are you willing to allow to be added to that list because you’re going to fall for this same act yet again?

These are not new tactics for our sheriff. This is what she does. Those who work for her have seen it again and again — one of her versions of a carrot and stick — beat the people who question you and offer a carrot to those who are watching while you tell them the burden of having to manage people who behave so poorly and you better never do this to her yourself.

I linked to the article above about workplace bullies and their tactics to succeed in the world; through a blend of seduction and intimidation. The sheriff is a master at this game and they easily could have put her picture at the top of this article.

LaDoris Cordell had her chance, she was offered to bask in the glow of the sheriff’s power. The sheriff called her for a private meeting and gave her the opportunity to be a part of the success of the 2018 campaign. The judge refused and today she’s found herself shoved out the door and the door slammed in her face, while the sheriff gets her shills at the Mercury News to distract everyone with her own plan.

I have to add, what Tracey Kaplan and the Mercury News call independent journalism likely makes our founding fathers roll over in their graves. From a family with journalists in it, I find it a terrifying caricature of what journalism is supposed to be. Dismissing a potential attempt to deceive the public by endangering those inside the jail as “a fuss”? I can only guess at the price tag attached to buying a media outlet and reporter to protect a corrupt official.

To publish a story after all the recent events that goes, “Look everyone, the sheriff has come back from her hard excursion where she endured unfair attacks on her performance and brings us new wisdom. Aren’t we blessed! We almost missed out on this because of mean old LaDoris Cordell!” is simply giving up any journalistic integrity that might exist in your soul. You could have probably saved Nixon from being forced out of office had you been available in the day.

And to the employees of the sheriff — I hate to say it, but 33 deputies stepping up was not enough. The sheriff is going to implement her oversight board she lays out in this “plan”; if she gets nothing else done, and she likely won’t, it will be oversight the way she wants it. She is going to staff it with those that she was was able to convince to stay silent as she took LaDoris out. It will be curious to see how many people on the commission begin to see their bonuses handed out.

She is going to pick an “Inspector General” that is in her pocket – Just figure out who you want standing next to Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez for this matched set. Just like she has done with every thing else she touches, it will be built on political favors. It will be dirty – just think Jethroe Moore, a man known for comparing cops to Nazis for nothing more than a donating funds to a cause, getting an appointment to California POST right before endorsing her campaign and appearing at her events. And it will lock everyone one in together because they will have all worked together to undermine a legal investigative commission and create positions for themselves where they have power of “oversight” from a position that can and will leverage public bias against law enforcement. Could the sheriff ask for a better tool to keep you “in line”?  I doubt it. There will be nothing fair or impartial about any panel she sets up.

While the public may be impressed, we know this is the sheriff taking control of her destiny and reducing real transparency even further, no matter what it costs anyone else. It will be a cold day in hell before she lets go of the one thing that empowers her in her insecure world and allows her to control the destiny of others. We’ve been told here by her supporters, repeatedly in various venues, they will carry her out on a stretcher and she will not resign short of a debilitating disease — she has no intention of leaving before then. She’s not done with you for all you’ve done to her…whatever she thinks that might be.

The reality is, if deputies don’t begin to step up and show proof to those in a position to do something, the sheriff will get away with this too.

I’m going to be honest here. I’m having yet another existential crisis in regards to this blog. Why am I here? If we have 1200 deputies and only 33 of them are willing to step up, even with anonymity, why am I bothering? It’s hard for me not to say let the sheriff fill her little panel of shills with people who will turn their backs on you to build their “activist” credentials by helping the sheriff “hold you accountable.”  People whose only concern is the exposure and resume padding an appointment to this kind of group will give them. We know there will be no integrity and it will likely be another means to provide proof against you when the sheriff needs someone to toss under the bus to scare everyone. The sheriff’s collection of political favors is large, and she has much to seduce them and more with from her position as sheriff. She will get a favorable review board just like she got a favorable Blue Ribbon Commission. A commission she recommended, just like she’s recommending this group.

Those of you with information and documentation that refuse to step up, you deserve everything you get… and corrections, it will likely come to you first. You talk, you complain, you tell people how much more dangerous your job is and how the sheriff has made it that way…yet you stand silent at your best opportunity to change that. You are the majority on our side, there are twice as many of you and yet you don’t speak at all.  You have the BRC conducting interviews, you have the FBI in your midst. Talk! Hand over any piece of paper you have! Show them that the problem exists in the willful disregard of a leadership and administration more entrenched in showing the public they “saved money” for re-election than they are with your very safety as well as everyone’s around you.

We’ve had many conversations in our nation about fighting for the freedom’s of those that won’t at the very least stand by us and fight for their own benefit.  Those who as soon as we leave, lie down their weapons and give them to the enemy because they’re afraid. Yes, your fear is valid, she absolutely is a threat to all of us. Your unwillingness to even speak or provide information to those attempting to build a case will not end up protecting you. While things will appear to improve from the outside, from the inside she will simply have installed another tool to better target your “insolence” and refusal to support her.

Why am I here? I need an answer to that. I’ve been happy to be a public voice for these past years, but my blog is a small voice in a large crowd who I’m beginning to feel listens while their backs are turned. If you’re not going to step up to opportunities like the one the Blue Ribbon Commission and FBI are currently offering you — the ability to speak and offer evidence with no one there knowing your name — then I’m wasting my time. I have far less power to push real change than they do.

If you want change, this blog alone can not bring it to you. You can’t stand there when an opportunity is in front of you to present your case.  You, as individuals, as groups, and as unions, ultimately have to find a way to create the energy needed to bring it about yourselves and the courage to speak to those that have at least reach to get the public to hear the sheriff needs to go, that she is central to these problems either exiting or increasing in severity.

Rather than just saying her unilateral actions are bad — tell the public WHY they’re bad. Tell the public what her unilateral decisions have already done to harm the jail environment and safety. Explain the gaps in her actions because she couldn’t be bothered to get more than her viewpoint on an issue before taking action. Tell the public how it could have been better handled.

Why has no one asked why the commission representative we fought so hard for did not call out Sepulveda and Beliveau on the policy regarding discipline and mentoring? Not a single question was asked to clarify the lack of implementation of the policy they were presenting as if it was standard every day practice.  We managed to make enough noise to force the supervisors to put an appointee out there to address exactly this during the process and, at least to me, the silence was deafening. If we can’t speak up at moments like that even, whatever the reason, we’ve effectively provided our defeat ourselves.

Yes, I’m ranting again. I’m letting my own frustrations out there yet again. I’m seeing an opportunity pass us by that if we don’t fight for it to be done right, will crush moral, incentive and desire to do anything on the job even more than now. I honestly didn’t think that was possible.  This is this office’s Measure B should Smith, Cortese, and Chavez be allowed to create and implement it in the same way they created this commission to be disposable — on their own, without transparency, and without your input or trust.

I heard people were asking why my last few blogs have included getting into the conversation of oversight NOW. I think the implications of the actions taken yesterday should sufficiently answer that question for you.

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10 thoughts on “Sheriff’s “Plan” Shows Prior Willful Negligence; More Bullying Tactics

  1. Pingback: Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Office Can Change With Your Help | Casey Thomas' World

  2. Casey,
    Thank you for all your hard work, and for the personal sacrifices you make to do this blog. Thank you for the hours, days, weeks, and months of research you do, and for the dedication you put into this blog. As a civilian who knows nothing about the way the jails or Sheriff’s Office is run, I personally appreciate the way you are educating me on these vital issues.

    To those of you who read Casey’s blog everyday, I want to thank you for your service, and I’d like to ask you to be safe out there. I’d also like to ask you to do one more thing, PLEASE start documenting EVERYTHING you are going through and give copies to the FBI, the BRC, and keep copies for yourself.

    Today’s topic hit home for me personally because I am a well know community activist, and advocate for victims of violent crime, and families of homicide. People come to me all the time for help, but the minute they find out that they will have to do the work to get what they need, many of them just give up, or try to manipulate me into doing it for them, or try to shame me for refusing to do the work for them. The truth is that there are just some things that you just have to do for yourself.

    Having said that, anyone who is being harassed, bullied, or subjected to a hostile workplace most certainly has legal recourse, and from everything I’ve heard and read, your workplace falls under these categories and more. You are luckier than most because so many of you are being subjected to the same thing and can file a law suite together, so you won’t have to go it alone.

    It is VITAL that you document everything! He said she said just won’t cut it. All of you are required to write reports in your everyday work, so you have a huge advantage over those who don’t know how to document things properly. Sit down and take notes after each incident. Write down what happened, what was said by whom, with the dates, times, and the person’s name. SAVE ALL emails, voicemail’s, so you won’t forget what happened later on.

    I know exactly what you are thinking right now, “That’s easy for her to say, she’s not going through this! I have a family and bills to pay!” Well, you’d be very wrong about that. I’ve been demoted, fired, and harassed on a job before and my employer kept getting a way abusing and hurting others because back then, we didn’t have protective laws like we do now. The bottom line is that leaving a job to get a way from the abuse just allows your employer to hurt the person taking your place. I’m sure whomever left the job you are working in right now left you with the abuse they suffered because they didn’t fight back.

    We’ve all been told that standing up to a bully is what needs to be done to stop them, and I can personally say that the old saying is true. Bullies use your fear to control YOU. So take your power back, take a deep breath, and do the right thing for yourself, and others. As Dr. King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

    And for those of you who see your co-workers being hurt, and aren’t catching their back just remember this, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

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  3. I thank god everyday I commute to my new job that my destination is no longer the Republic of 55 West Younger. I know why people don’t talk because I was one of them.

    I have been asked hundreds of times by many people why I left. I have spread the truth about the sheriff being incompetent and the fact that the few times I did meet her in my 14 years, I walked away wondering how she can be Sheriff. All these stories you write about Laurie are great. I believe she has turned into a s¥!t show and needs to go.

    That whole merger with corrections…I felt the effect pretty quickly at headquarters. I will never forget my first interaction with an admin person from corrections, Lt Decasas….total incompetence, no people skills and a liar. How a person like this can be a Lt. anywhere?!? but as we all know MOST promotions here are not merit based. That woman destroyed the division she was assigned too and our admin let it happen. Mission statement, “our employees our are best asset” …..bull

    Keep up the good work….the word is being spread by more and more people then you know.

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    • So someone is seeing the light! How come everyone cannot see the light. Promotions of incompetent people are the NOR for the SO unfortunately. Why not send them off to a different job where they stop screwing up our jobs and OUR reputation!

      How sad that the promotions that happened are NOT what SHOULD have happened. DISGUSTING actually kiss ass, brown nose, climb under a desk, say or do the right (although it is WRONG and everyone knows it!) and you are handed those bars and strips. What a JOKE and they wonder why NO ONE respects ANY of those promoted?

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  4. You ask why no one is speaking up? It’s clear, look at what happened to some of those who did speak up and pubically endorsing Kevin Jensen, or who did speak up when they disagreed with the sheriff. Look at where that got them. Demoted, fired, or everything taken from them. Most of us agree with you, but like you, using a false name to protect yourself, know not to speak out too much, because we’ve seen what could happen to you. Like Frank said on the last post, the public was warned and knew what both unions stances were. They don’t care! When the sheriff endorsements are all local politicians and Kevin’s was all law enforcement, that shows me the public doesn’t care enough to do their own homework to see who they vote for. It’s sad. The real voice for change are the voters and they’ve proven, they don’t care.

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    • Yes, I use another name. I mostly use it to protect those who provide information and write for the blog with me. The sheriff can’t touch me. She can’t fire me, she can’t IA me, she can’t make my every day a living hell. So it’s not to protect me, but it’s to protect those that may be associated with me that she could go after in my stead, even though many don’t speak out with me, and virtually none know that I’m doing this. Otherwise, I would gladly stand in front of her office daily and tell her I think she’s a criminal. Trust me, that day may come yet if people continue to leave.

      That said, you have an opportunity to go to more than the public. You have a BRC that can at least weaken her position if they decide to do the right thing and lay this at her feet — but that takes people talking. You have the FBI in your jails looking for something. Both have been willing to talk to people anonymously — meaning you don’t have to stick your head of your hole. The commission has no idea who has talked, but that opportunity is now past, so it’s moot.

      As for “look what happened” to those that did speak out — most of them continue to speak out. They have families, they have bills, they have everything you have. They also realize that if no one speaks, nothing ever changes. That the public didn’t get it last time, but sometimes, OFTEN, voters need to be told more than once. If everyone feels like it’s time to quite fighting, honestly, my recommendation to those that are fighting is go find a place where you can enjoy your career because the fight isn’t worth it. Not enough people where you work care.

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    • Deputy Truthful,
      The public does care, they just DO NOT KNOW what is going on! And the reason they don’t know is because they aren’t being told.

      You are right about one thing though, the public keeps voting in the old guard simply because no one is out there knocking on their doors and educating them about the candidates. No one is out there attending community debates, forums, public events, going to the Chamber of Commerce, or small businesses, or women’s groups, or Rotary Clubs, or Lion’s Clubs, or community organization events to EDUCATE them on why we need a new Sheriff.

      I work on campaigns all the time and I can tell you first hand that when I knock on doors, or sit at a campaign table at an event for a certain candidate, or phone bank, and educate voters, they usually take a lawn sign, hold a coffee, volunteer, donate money, or tell their family, friends, and neighbors about the candidate.

      As to Kevin’s campaign, your support of him has paved the way for a better chance of him winning, should he run again, because he now has name recognition. MANY candidates who know hold office have lost at least one race because no one knew who they were. People are more comfortable with the Devil they know, then they Devil they don’t. Also, no one in the County knew who Kevin Jensen was. He started too late, was dealing with his dying father, and was not getting out into the districts that have a high voting rate.

      Campaigns are about the right timing, hard work, take lots of money, and desperately need volunteers. You have almost two years to gear up for the next election, the time to start is NOW! Starting a last minute campaign is SURE DEATH!

      The other reason the public seemed to ignore law enforcement’s endorsement of Kevin was because back then Measure B took the focus a way from the Sheriff’s race. Pension reform was the big focus, not public safety. The public didn’t know law enforcement outside of getting pulled over for a traffic infraction, or being arrested for a crime, or being a victim of a crime.

      Your Unions needs to do community outreach, participate in, and hold community events, so the public gets to know you. If you want people to care, let them meet you, and get to know you instead of them meeting you during times of adversity. If you think I’m kidding about the power of community outreach, ask yourself where Sheriff Smith spends most of her time.

      She attends community dinners, Christmas in the Park helping homeless animals find homes because she partners with animal shelters and rescue organizations, she attends community meetings/dinners/events, the list is endless. And please understand that I get how limited your time is, so your Union should hire a community outreach person to do the job for you. So, if you really want to create change, EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, by fighting fire with fire.

      Thank you for your service and please stay safe out there.

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