The information provided on the county site is negligible, literally a one sentence memo from the sheriff:
“Laurie Smith, Sheriff, will travel to the Republic of Korea to attend the Tenth International Police Training Program on May 20-28, 2017.”
Pretty uninformative when it comes to sending someone overseas — and yes it is on our dime, don’t let her current lackey sell you short. We pay her salary, benefits, and we’ve paid a very high price for her failings in her absentee-styled leadership. I thought we deserved to know more about what exactly would be the benefit to the county outside Laurie Smith’s ego boost for her alleged presentation.
Here’s the funny thing, when you search “Tenth International Police Training Program”, just like that, in quotes, the magic Google box, always full of insane amounts of information returns 3 relevant responses, one from the county, one from the Mercury News story and one from some strange blog where the links go to random videos.
This immediately triggered the bad memories of her trying to sneak off to a “police related event” in the Philippines that turned out to be little more than a campaign stunt targeted at the Filippino community. Yes, she met police there and even tried to pass it off as a trip “to offer future training to the Philippines National Police”, but really it was a humanitarian trip with a medical mission that they piggybacked her PR mission with.
No, I didn’t forget that, though many chose to ignore it at the time. This time, I feel we deserve better information and transparency on this trip that I think we’re seeing.
The Mercury says the event is sponsored by “Korean National Police Agency”, but for an international event, I can find zero mention of it on various international policing sites from INTERPOL to IACP to the International Police Association. One would think that at least some of these organisations would have an international police training event listed in their policing events or news. I couldn’t find it.
I did find that INTERPOL used to have an “International Police Training Program”, from their site: “The INTERPOL International Police Training Program, created in 2006, also provides officers from member countries with the opportunity to rotate, in three-month sessions, through its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.” This clearly has nothing to do with Korea though and the last reference I could find was from several years back anyway.
If this is the 10th year of the Republic of Korea, or anywhere, holding an international law enforcement training program event, I’m stumped on finding any information. I scoured the official Korean National Police Agency site and KNPU’s (the more likely sponsor) site and found nothing. Granted not being fluent and forced to rely on translators isn’t the most efficient or accurate means, but I found nothing even hinting at an international police event to be held. Given Korea (and most nations) would love to brag about hosting an international educational event in this day and age of global policing issues, this search left me unsatisfied in my search to find out what this event really is about and what the sheriff would be speaking about.
Maybe I’m wrong, but this is looking less and less like what it’s been presented as, given the sheriff’s history, we have every right to question the quality of information being provided here. I admit it’s entirely possible I’m missing something, but the rub is, I shouldn’t have to be hunting for it. If one of my elected officials wants to travel internationally in our name to make presentations, the information on the trip, the venue, the sponsor, and the subject matter of the event and our elected officials presentation should be made readily available to me.
I went back again to the Mercury’s article, noting the sheriff refused to talk to the Mercury and the PIO (a notoriously untruthful lot in recent years) only offered that taxpayers weren’t paying for it and law enforcement executives were invited to learn from each other. Well, that’s not really honest either is it? We still pay her salary to do her job here and if she’s a present as appears to be claimed, unless she’s standing up as an example of how to not reform your jails, what does she have to offer that the international community reached out to her?
Not only are we paying her salary to be in Korea, the other price we pay is the ongoing lack of investment the sheriff makes in local training events – she’s notorious for refusing to work with other regional agencies to develop and support training. She has even worked to undermine it and in many instances held back her personnel’s access to training for ridiculously unprofessional reasons and personal vendettas, such as her relationship with the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium. Yet we’re sending her on yet another trip to offer training to the international community?
Has Smith ever spoken at, or even attended Urban Shield, a regional training event attended by both local and other agencies from around the country, the military, and even a few foreign counterparts? Of course not, that training isn’t popular here with those she needs to manipulate into voting for her. She would rather speak against it than support what is important training for all emergency services should we see a major crisis here. She would rather empathize with protesters who could care less about the why’s of this training, than explain to the public why training like this is the only way to prepare for potential real world events that could happen here — from terrorist attacks to dealing with mass casualty events like the next big earthquake. There’s no political value here in supporting police training, but apparently there is campaign value in supporting police training in other countries as long as she can get some political benefit from it… China, the Philippines, Korea. To those “training” demands, she runs as an “expert” though she fails to support training and even denies it to her own staff here at home.
The Board of Supervisors has approved this travel, regardless of the price to taxpayers expecting this sheriff to do her job for once. It doesn’t appear there was much in the way of curiosity about the event, but perhaps I haven’t found all the documentation.. .either on the county site or other sites.
I’m asking the Board of Supervisors to stay the decision to approve travel until such time the Sheriff either provides the public more information on this event, her role, and the benefit to our attention starved communities here; or the Board of Supervisors should demand she take the time as unpaid vacation time if she insists on going regardless of approval. No more community directed overseas campaign events under the guise of official duty.
For the record, Sheriff Laurie Smith’s current salary is $289K a year, this is salary only. To boil it down, we may not be paying for the tickets and hotel, but we are paying $5,561.49 in salary alone and untold benefits for a woman who has failed to keep our communities, inmates, and deputies safe, has sustained failing policies even after a commission investigating her failures, maintains archaic practices and a collapsing infrastructure to offer her “expertise” on the international stage, at an international policing event that no international law enforcement organization seems to have any information on?
Either I’m missing something or someone has to be pulling my leg.