Monday, January 25, 2010

Failed OCSD Experiment & the OSCD Scott

>Chief Hunter wants to be the Scott that is heard around Orange County in the 2010 campaign for Orange County Sheriff, so-tospeak.  “ Our campaign is confident that Craig will impress Orange County voters with his fiscally conservative approach to the budget, support for 2nd Amendment rights, and his proven track record of executive leadership in the Anaheim police department,” says Alex Avetoom, Craig Hunter for Orange County Sheriff 2010 Campaign Manager.
For those who think that the 2010 Orange County Sheriff is a two-person race, we wanted to know if there is a compelling argument for Orange County voters to at least consider other alternatives. “. I am running for Sheriff because I believe Orange County citizens are hungry for a strong and ethical law enforcement professional with my background of more than 30 years of experience as a police officer in Orange County. These difficult times call for a Sheriff who will take responsibility for the tough choices that must be made on budget, policy and culture,” say Chief Hunter and then adds “As Deputy Chief of Police for one of Orange County's safest cities and largest police departments, I have the administrative and executive experience needed to restore fiscal responsibility and end the culture of "Los Angeles style" politics in the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Orange County Sheriff's Department needs a leader who will propose realistic solutions for solving its $60 million budget deficit, the county's multi-billion dollar unfunded pension obligation and work to ensure transparency and accountability of the Sheriff's Department's activities and decisions. As Orange County Sheriff, I will take a stand and not pass the buck onto the Board of Supervisors like the current Sheriff.”

So what about Sheriff Hutchens’ controversial conceal carry weapons (CCW) policy. According to Sheriff Hutchens, she is merely following the law: “the Sheriff has the discretion to approve or deny CCW license applications as well as revoke licenses that have already been issued,” it states in part.    What would the Sheriff Hunter’s CCW look like:

"I am concerned that recent restrictions on Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) Permits have significantly infringed upon the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens putting the safety and security of their families in jeopardy. Our current Sheriff has intentionally and unilaterally curtailed these rights as part of a strategic political gambit. It should not be a controversial or complicated issue. The common sense and practical approach to the issuance of CCW Permits is founded in my belief - that lawful citizens have a basic right to protect themselves and their families.
My position on the issue should be the gold standard and is consistent with most reasonable law enforcement chiefs in our state: while California law requires that law enforcement officials establish good cause for a CCW, the sheriff has complete discretion in determining whether or not good cause has been established. Any candidate seeking the office of Sheriff should be clear, open and honest with the taxpayers of Orange County regarding their position on protecting the constitutional right to bear arms. As Sheriff, I will properly execute this duty, and will never construct an artificial disadvantage for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from violent criminal elements. I would welcome you to visit my webpage at to read more about my platform and my letter in support of AB 357.

Can you expand on what the OCSD culture would be under you administration and how you would go about the transformation process?

"I would promote a culture of world-class customer service in all aspects of the Sheriff's Department's operation. I would promote a community policing and problem solving philosophy that engages the community and is seen as a leader in law enforcement. I would promote a culture that provides services in the most efficient and effective manner in an effort to maintain safe communities and spend tax dollars appropriately."

The people of Orange County need to know the Sheriff works for them, not the bureaucracy.
While there are many change models in organizational leadership, success begins and ends with the Sheriff who sets the vision for the Department. The bottom line is that they all require collaborative relationships and inclusive participation by the entire organization. You must charge your organization with effecting positive solutions so they take ownership of it and have a stake in ensuring its success. This will bring incredible job satisfaction and pride to employees, which in turn will ensure a much better run Sheriff's Department.

The contract for OCSD services between the various cities and the county do not include performance metrics. The state is supposed to perform audits to make sure taxpayers are getting what they paid for, but to date, there have not been any audits in the cities we have looked at. Understanding that law enforcement contracts are signed (“negotiated” is a misnomer), under your administration what would accountability for OCSD services look like?

If the OCSD runs the contracts as 12 silos, then it is appropriate that the measurements would be worked out between the city manager and the “chief” of police services. The manager would know the concerns of the community through the city council. There are a lot of similarities, but each city is also unique and may have other requests or concerns. Typical basic measurements are response times, clearance rates, crime rates, and budget management. There can be many others, but those are typical. If you listen to your customers, you will know what is important to them and then measure success based on how well we are meeting the needs of the respective city. The most useful measurements usually take surveys and also a robust crime analysis and problem solving culture. Those are usually quality of life issues and customer service ratings.
One area I believe needs in depth analysis is the Sheriff's Department passing on increases in pension costs to the contract cities. This has a major impact on city budgets forcing them into a corner and choosing to cut law enforcement services overall because the Sheriff has offered no mechanism by which it shares its burden of pension costs for our deputies.

Closed Loop Corrective Action: The Orange County DA’s office is not familiar with the term. What we mean is that we would like to see a clear trail of an incident from any law enforcement agency in the county to its logical conclusion. If the incident does not need to go to the DA, then we want to be assured that management has a handle on it – as opposed to simply closing cases to avoid the work, as recently revealed by the OIR. 

 I am not aware of any “lost cases” in my dealings with the DA’s office. The trail you are looking for starts at the investigating agency and your final answers will be there also. I believe in a comprehensive audit and inspection program for all critical areas of the department. There are many records management systems on the market that stop cases from “falling into a hole”

I believe it is important to have a sound investment in emerging and more efficient technologies.  This type of work (the OCDAs eDistrcitAttorney) takes time and money. It’s better to be on the leading edge of technology, than the bleeding edge. The entire county has come a long way with technology over the past 5 years. Frequently we are asking companies to invent what we need. We will get there eventually. As Sheriff it will be my goal to see the OCSD come into the 21st Century of Law Enforcement.

Union and Corporate culture. In a good number of cases,  elected official work toward one objective, while the union works to a different objective, while management and the taxpayer is squeezed from both sides. In this model, the surviving managers are not necessarily the most effective, but the ones who can bridge the gap between the elected official and labor – sort of like play-dough. Labor is an integral part of the desired corporate culture. What is your plan to manage the scenario described above?
Open collaborative communication, clear mission, vision and values and participative leadership style is what I would bring to the department. We need to develop critical mass to move our objectives forward which starts with establishing common ground and respecting one another from the very beginning. As Deputy Chief of Police in my city and as a law enforcement leader in Orange County, I have a proven track record of bringing stakeholders together to achieve results. 

OCSD corporate culture - Even after Sheriff Hutchens decreed that the OCSD culture had been corrected, there are multiple signs that the Carona-era culture permeates through the organization.. Just redenlty (Oct 14, 2009) the OCSD blog published cartoons with questionable taste that clearly shows that previous problems persist. 

More than a year and a half ago, the Orange County Board of Supervisors appointed a Sheriff from Los Angeles on a split 3-2 vote when embattled ex-Sheriff Mike Carona resigned. Today, not a single member of the Board of Supervisors has endorsed the current Sheriff for election in 2010.

I believe many people share my view that the appointment of Ms. Hutchens was a failed experiment. Where once people hoped she would bring effective change, in fact she has proven to be more of the same. The signs of "no confidence" in the current Sheriff are strong indicators that she does not meet the measure of quality the residents of Orange County deserve. Her liberal policies and Los Angeles style policing practices don't fit in Orange County. It has been two years since the people of Orange County have had an elected Sheriff, one that they choose based on their values. The wait is over and the time has come for practical policing strategies that are already effective in Anaheim, which is the safest of the ten largest cities in California. As a proud Orange County native, I will bring the Sheriff’s Department into the 21st century by putting the safety of Orange County residents first and championing the cause of fiscal responsibility for Orange County taxpayers.

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