NBC Bay Area News did a story yesterday. It was titled how local agencies react, but in the interview with our DSA Vice President, who kindly put himself on the line again to stand up for us despite the sheriff working hard to target him in attempts to stop his efforts to improve our office for deputies, it should have been how our agency has failed to act.
Agencies around the nation, including San Jose PD and San Francisco PD are doubling up their unit patrols for officer safety. We have seen 10 officers killed in the line of duty in just 10 days, and at least another 15 shot and wounded. 8 of them killed or injured in three different cities in just the last 36 hours. I’m writing this the night before I post and I’m almost afraid to get up in the morning to see these numbers have grown again and have to do a rewrite through more tears rather than just an edit. (Whew! Just more pols bickering ) I think across the country we all feel that way right now. Rhetoric around the country is ramping up which means there will likely be more shootings. People aren’t listening to each other, everyone is taking offense. We know how that is, we’ve tried to get people to listen to us and we’re still not being fully heard about the condition of our office after years. All that has happened and the only thing our sheriff only has offered us only a sparse internal email about how her heart was with Dallas, and the community and fellow agencies reached out to her. Little for words to show her concern or support to her own team other than the usual I expect you’ll remain the professionals you are. Well sheriff, that remains a given. You should know that by now.
I said the other day that the most immediate threat our deputies face is their poor administration, and this is an example of why. The threat of a shooter is always a potential, but the threat of poor administrative oversight and lack of concern for safety is a daily reality. Deputies see it in their equipment, their training, the policies that they have, or more likely don’t have. The fact that the DSA Vice President is forced to go to the media to tell the public they have to ask for what other agencies are simply doing as a safety consideration. Kudos to DSA Vice President Winslow, he did it with far more tact and respect for the sheriff with all her poor decisions than I could offer if it had been me. I guess that is why I am the blogger and not someone trying to be mediator.
While other agencies state they already have doubled up units just a scant 4 days after the shootings, Santa Clara Co. deputies are left to ask and hope the sheriff will take heed 10 days after Dallas and in the wake of a second horrific act in Baton Rouge. In light of her having to gut her Civil unit, and pressure investigations to fill contract positions in courts, many don’t see any likelihood of their requests for double units being prioritized and fulfilled.
This is especially terrifying in light of the fact of we have several deputies who at times patrol solo, well out of reach of backup, and at times even out of reach of radio or cell communications. I hesitate to offer that information, though I have in the past; we decided that our community needs to understand the lack of continuity and concern when it comes to ensuring safety of our county patrols by the sheriff. Some of these patrols should NEVER be single unit patrols. But she’s never cared about those deputies, nor much about those communities in the county. Given they stood with deputies against her in the last election, she would see adding a double unit as rewarding the enemy. Just more distorted priorities.
We would like to think our communities support us and, just like the vast majority of law enforcement are good, the vast majority of our community does support us, even when they may believe there are improvements to be made and problems to be fixed. And as this blog proves out, we agree, improvements are needed. However, despite the fact that our communities are supportive, a very disturbing incident happened at a community even the other day. When SJPD Officer Michael Johnson’s mother spoke (after what I’m told seemed to be intentional delays to try to avoid her speaking) and stated police lives matter too, someone apparently had enough of a hate-filled heart to yell “No they don’t!” Yes, those people are in our community too. They hopefully won’t act on their feelings, but they are there and they are a potential threat at any time. And the only time they matter to our sheriff is when she is defending herself. Then, and I imagine she will have a deep caring to show the press should one of our deputies or officers from any of our county cities is injured.
In light of a 30% vacancy and pressure to fill contracts, our deputies already have to carry the increased risk. And like I said the sheriff and her top people understand the risk. This situation is being handled like this despite a recent message to me from whom I strongly believe to either come from the sheriff or a very close confidante that clearly indicates that understanding.
“There are a lot of good deputies here and are trying to do the right thing under very bad conditions that the law enforcement community is facing.”
That’s more concern for her deputies than I’ve seen from her, maybe ever. It’s a shame it was simply an artifact of the 4th floor’s anger at me and their belief that making it appear I’m attacking deputies in general rather than her poor administration will some how convince people I’m the only problem here.
The sheriff doesn’t care about her deputies, their safety, or how her administration is perceived. During budget meetings, our sheriff just promised the county 25 newly minted deputies from academy this month, but there are already a number of concerns with her fulfilling this promise. First, not all deputies make it through field training. Second, sources in the academy are alleging there are a small handful that should have been released from academy, but the sheriff apparently overrode their failed scores and kept them because she needs personnel so badly. Lastly, she is in the process, from what I’ve been told, of committing as many as 25 deputies to a new VTA contract expansion. This means depending on timing, the county units currently short staffed will remain so at some level for potentially a year to 18 more months.
Yet more bits of evidence to add to the pile showing the sheriff only cares about the risks of being a deputy when it suits her PR team’s efforts. What sheriff has a PR team? One who can’t be honest with you and has to have every public appearance and statement highly moderated because she knows her priorities are not what they should be.