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Sheriffs, Guns and Money in Santa Clara County

As a young journalist, I was once invited to a meeting with Sheriff Bob Winter at the West Valley Insurance Office. One of those present there asked the popular Gilroyan if there was anything he could do to help. I remember Winter making an excuse to grab envelopes from his car and step in his cowboy boots across the parking lot.

The cumbersome and disrespectful spectacle emphasized the paradox of the chosen sheriff. On the one hand, the political process allowed for communal connections outside the isolated world of cops and bad guys. On the contrary, it has created a system of associates

Winter set up a sheriff’s advisory committee that handed out tags to citizens that could be flashed during a traffic stop – or at a Space Video movie rental store, as did businessman George Brix in 1984. Police were called two years later when a $ 32 dispute over late fees flared up.

Brix maintained his badge even after forcing a server to eat a summons at gunpoint in 1981. Like a member of another advisory board who was convicted of false imprisonment and possession of blackjack, and a third arrested for large-scale theft and forgery of charges.

In 1986, Mercury News found that Winter had collected $ 24,575 donations for the campaign from 36 gun license holders over the previous five years, and that nearly half of the license holders were members of an advisory board.

Winter resigned in 1989 following a lengthy battle with the county jail labor costs board, which saw Judge Bruce Allen take over the county’s repair system. The inspectors created a department of repairs and appointed Charles Gillingham as sheriff.

Lori Smith rose through the ranks and was elected in 1998. The first woman sheriff in California marked the end of the network of good boys, at least with the look. It slightly improved the department and the inspectors gave up an independent repair system and returned control of the prisons to the sheriff’s department.

The beating death of a mentally ill prisoner in 2015 shed light on the prison’s management problems. Sheriff Smith was criticized for poor oversight, but in each election round she faced election challenges from command team members approved by labor unions that were equally if not more immersed in scandals.

Faced with flowing waves of criticism from right-wing deputies, left-wing prison defense attorneys and a district prosecutor you confronted over his desire to engage in unauthorized telephone tapping for prison phone calls, the corner-sheriff tightened with her support network.

Sheriff’s advisory council members reached the county’s pistol range for the best of the West’s annual competition, fired machine guns and donated money for law enforcement toys, from thermal binoculars to gun safes and SONAR search and rescue devices.

Although Winter’s badges were no longer issued, members could carry an ID card the size of a driver’s license that resembled a police officer’s ID card. The Holy Grail was a covert weapon permit, which screamed status and connections. A speeding Ferrari driver can, according to the protocol when applying for a license and registration, advise a police officer that he has a gun in the glove compartment in accordance with CCW law.

Lori Smith did not invent the privilege system, nor will it end when the next sheriff is elected – presumably with the support of labor unions whose goals will include securing pay rises and pensions for their members, and ensuring oversight and internal investigations. Do not drill too deep.

After 24 years, the county will have a new sheriff, and the change is good. Sheriff Smith took up his post as reformer but came to represent the establishment. Ironically, the case against her – a preferred issuance of gun permits to political supporters – was not something she brought to the office. It was an established tradition from which its male predecessors emerged – but which led to the fall of the country’s first sheriff.

Sheriffs, Guns and Money in Santa Clara County Source link Sheriffs, Guns and Money in Santa Clara County

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