Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Office Can Change With Your Help

I am taking a couple of comments from Kathleen Flynn on different posts and reposting them here as a full blog post. I’ve [changed] a couple of things for contextual clarity. We don’t all read the comments here and I feel there is some good information for you here.

I’ve been told that we apparently have a new ombudsman program to support us; there is more information below. While it’s written indicating it supports jail staff, it’s my understanding they will also take calls from enforcement deputies.

We are not helpless in our cause, we have reporting skills and evidence collection skills that should surpass that of the average citizen. We simply need to apply our skills and efforts to proving what is going on in the sheriff’s office. Take it as a challenge — our skills are better than hers. We know it, now let’s prove it.

At this moment it’s incredibly hard to not give up, but there are changes happening. There are people starting to see what we’ve been seeing for years. Now is not the time to remain silent and walk away, not when we’re finally starting to win some battles. The more we push, the bigger the wins will get.

What we need now is hard proof of what the sheriff is doing, particularly in the jails. Sheriff Smith has cleansed the jails as best she can, clearing the clipboards of admin memos, eliminating “training” materials like the PREA Q&A sheet, etc.  At this point, you are the only source of information, so if you have managed to hold onto any of that information she is disappearing, or other reports that indicate mismanagement and intent by your supervisors, now is the time to step forward with it.  Contact me if you wish to remain anonymous or reach out to either the DSA or the CPOA — both are actively working to get any available information through to the people who can do something with  it.

For those of you in enforcement, start documenting now. It’s my understanding it may be only a matter of time before they find a way to start looking at the damage she’s done there.

by Kathleen Flynn

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-known 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.”

I hope everyone who watches the [Public Justice and Safety Committee] video understands that all recommendations that are submitted by ALL commissions on [jail reform] to the Board of Supervisors, and that are approved will be reviewed by the County Executive’s Office and will be referred to the budget process. Recommendations that are approved by the Board will be prioritized during the budget process and will be implemented according to available funds. Simply put, if there is not enough available funding for a certain request, then it will not implemented, until funding is found at a later date, if at all.

The bottom line here is that budget constraints are why much of the hard work of commissions goes to the way side and very few recommended programs, increased staff, or improvements comes to fruition. It is a sad but true fact of government.

On a different note, [Casey’s] last article asked people to step up and expose the difficulties you are enduring. Well, I know two incredible men who are doing just that! I’ve attended the last two Blue Ribbon Commission Meetings (BRC) and I have to say that I am very impressed by DSA Vice President Roger Winslow, and SCCCPO Vice President Julio Alvarez for their extraordinary leadership, courage, and strong representation of their men and women. They are telling the BRC everything that is wrong in both the Sheriff’s Office and in the jails, and the Commissioners are listening.

Given what a capable job these Union leaders are doing in representing you before the BRC, my hope is that those of you who are fearful of coming forward will reach out to your Union reps to assist you, rather than suffering in silence.

Also, you may reach out to the Office of Human Relations if you have a grievance. They have started a new program for officers and inmates. (FYI- They also have a very good mediation program.) The contact for the Jail Ombudsman is either Eunice Lee or Kate Jones. The general new intake email address is: JOP@ohr.sccgov.org
Eunice’s number: 408-993-4122. Her email is: eunice.lee@ohr.sccgov.org
Kate’s number: 408-993-4115

The protocol would be that you contact Eunice, speak about setting up an in-office appointment (if you would like to), and then they schedule it. If you don’t want to come in, they can begin a case over the phone. They will give you their address at that time (if you want to come in), since they don’t take walk-in appointments for the Ombud’s programs.

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3 thoughts on “Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Office Can Change With Your Help

  1. A few suggestions to help. First of all do not use County computers, smartphones or Wifi systems when documenting as suggested above. Do not use those systems for anything that is not directly related to your job. Anything personal should be done on personal devices. Know that the County and the Sheriff and full access to everything you do on their system and they WILL use it against you if it serves their purpose. Any documents that you are going to archive should be printed out and kept at home. You should also forward those documents to your personal computer to keep. Make sure that your are not doing that with documents related to crime reports, investigations, etc that are protected from dissemination. Remember the department can search you work computer, desk, patrol car etc at anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, that is all good advice. Be assured the sheriff is already searching computers. If you’re afraid to forward an email, you can also take a picture with your phone — to repeat the above advice, not with any documentation that is protected from dissemination.

      Anyone who has additional ideas or advice, please feel free to add it here. We need to support each other.

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