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Letter To The Editor: Office Of The Sheriff

on April 19, 2017 - 4:25pm
Los Alamos
Regardless of what any of us thinks about keeping the sheriff's office, the public decided the question of whether to have a sheriff.
Now is the time to carefully define the scope of duties so that this office does more than throw out the first calf at the annual rodeo but on the other hand, doesn't waste effort duplicating police duties.
Plus, any duty that involves the potential for violence or public interactions that could put the County at risk for a lawsuit requires personnel training that the county will have to pay to obtain.
If as Councilor Pete Sheehey said in his letter, we are currently hiring contractors to do a job we should do ourselves, perhaps we need to look at whether this is money well spent. Its time to put the snark aside and define the roles and responsibilities of the Sheriff's office.
Perhaps we need a steering committee, with the sheriff, the police chief, chaired by a liaison to council (perhaps not a sitting councilor since this seems to be such a bone of contention) and a citizen panel? Put out some straw man proposals and have public hearings. I would suggest perhaps a councilor emeritus who has been somewhat neutral on the subject, if such a person exists.
My main concern with this whole topic, other than defining logistics, is my worry that the county administration, and perhaps some on Council, objects to the sheriff's office because the office is independent rather than in the Administration's chain of command.
On the other hand, the shabby way that former Acting Police Chief Randy Foster was treated by the county makes me wonder if we need a buffer between the police and the rest of the administration.