Snark Infested Waters ~ Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards


Move along, nothing to see here

Posted on October 3, 2020 by Bob Edwards

High on the list of Lessons of 2020 is that people (particularly “those people”) – are often beaten or Arrested to Death with impunity. So it’s understandable that voters’ ears perk up when our Sheriff tells us Measure P is a bad idea because . . .well . . . he doesn’t like it.  

Measure P would greatly strengthen IOLERO, the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Oversight created by the County Supervisors in the outrage following the senseless killing of 13-year old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy, perhaps the most dramatic in a list of questionable deaths at the hands of law enforcement that have cost county taxpayers millions in lawsuit settlements.

Per the county’s website, “IOLERO’s primary functions include reviewing complaints against the Sheriff’s Office, community outreach, and making policy recommendations to the Sheriff’s Office.” 

But IOLERO is currently understaffed, underfunded, and denied access to information needed to do its work. The 2020 Voters’ Guide notes that besides adding staff and increasing IOLERO’s budget, Measure P would “expand the oversight authority and independence of IOLERO to investigate Sheriff-related issues . . . and compel production of records and witnesses.”  

Sounds reasonable. But given the Sheriff’s pouting opposition, readers can be excused for thinking Measure P authorizes no-knock colonoscopies on his entire staff. 

He strenuously insists P would make his job harder. But foot-stomping seems to be his approach to public service. He reacted similarly when, before COVID-19 infected 7,000+ county residents (and counting) and killed 120 (as of press time), he announced he wouldn’t “enforce any f*#king orders” of the county’s health officer. County supervisors coaxed him off that ledge.

Now he rants in the Voters’ Guide that: “Measure P doesn’t improve civilian oversight; it just creates unnecessary red tape. It takes deputies off the streets, away from helping residents and from helping us in disasters. It forces fewer deputies to do more with less training and lower funding.”  

How P would do any of that isn’t clear. The far greater threat to public safety– and to his deputies – is the dark pall of distrust and suspicion his opposition casts over even the Good Apples in his ranks, who deserve all the support and respect they can get.  After all, 2020 has not exactly been kind to the reputation of law enforcement, which has spent much of the year brutally clubbing & tear-gassing protestors protesting (wait for it) police brutality.

In that environment, a sheriff who cared about his deputies would want the public to know everything they do – and put up with? – especially in situations that draw complaints and/or feature a corpse. Rigorous IOLERO investigations of every complaint – from thoughtless rudeness to homicide – could be extremely useful to a sheriff interested in building public trust by letting voters see exactly what his Apples deal with daily. Knowing that their job performance will be an open book can only sharpen their skills, sensitivity, and pride in doing their often-thankless work. And doing it without falsifying their incident reports.

Nonetheless, even with impeccable transparency and the best of reforms, officer-involved “incidents” will still happen. Over time, a strong IOLERO can help us distinguish the inevitable from the avoidable, and reduce the latter. But in the current State of our Union, Measure P could be all that stands between the Sheriff and a greater chaos that endangers us all.  

For the Sheriff’s sake, and ours: Yes on P.






2 thoughts on “Move along, nothing to see here

  1. Thank you Bob for writing this. We need to get the word out and make sure Measure P passes. But, I want you to be aware and perhaps make the Sun aware of some very misleading signs I have seen. I was confused when I saw these things. They just state no on P and say it is wrong for Sonoma and farmers and vintners. So I had to ask myself, what does oversight of the sheriff’s department have to do with farming? Check this out: This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen. And just who is Transparent Sonoma? It appears that if police organizations put their name on the No drive, it would be just too truthful, so someone came up with this thing. The uninformed will see these giant signs and assume P has something to do with agriculture. I am going to try and find out what the actual membership of Transparent Sonoma is. But, you seem to know how to get to the bottom of stuff, so let me know if you find anything out.

  2. No on P. What we need is fewer staff for overview in this department. We need quality not quantity for coverage to overlook specific department complexes, such as for specific law enforcement overview, high-level case information questioning/judgement/and protocal standards to be implemented by board elected and unbiased qualified Professionals that run for this specific elected office and department overview.

    If we strive for just more coverage, then we lose the justice and equality that is absolutely vital due to a lack of informed qualified decision makers Thanks to hiring coverage vs. or instead of quality decision makers that are entrusted and equipped to handle cases from start to finish without raising any concerns or questions from the general public.
    We hire qualified teachers to educate classrooms based on completing certifications and schooling so that we can fully Rely on individual teacher accountability to educate our children. That same idea should be vetted for department oversight and accountability via law enforcement case matters. Fully vetted and qualified individuals will be trained and certified to fully perform and denounce decision making efforts with full frontal justice and equality throughout every case and each decision. General public should have the ability to access and overview this work- so if a professional deems unjust, the GP can publicly rectify the individual or seek further info as to why and how law enforcement decisions were made via the ethical system that SHOULD be implemented along with this role. NEW JOBS, Qualified individuals, REQUIRE NEW JOB DESCRIPTIONS AND TRAINING UNDER CERTIFICATION PROCESSES.
    As a millennial, I am tired of watching our government turn to shit. Implementing functional roles that are based on the statute of ethical judgement and decision making processes are overdue!!

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