Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has stones. First elected in 2010, and re-elected twice, he has the personal experience and political weight to ask tough questions, especially of other elected officials. Questions so tough that the paper of record, the Sacramento Bee, decided he needed to be fact checked.
If you’re taking flak, you must be over the target.
Lately he has been the target, as one of the several California County Sheriffs who has chosen to disregard Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest safer-at-home orders. When Sheriff Jones contracted COVID in December, Newsom used a press conference to attempt to shame the Sheriff as a COVID denier, and cast aspersions on his leadership decisions:
“A few folks that just don’t, some just don’t necessarily believe this is a serious pandemic still, which is just remarkable. Some that have expressed that actually tragically have come down with COVID themselves,” Newsom said.
The Sheriff fired back with a statement, addressing the Governor’s blame-and-shame tactics, and reiterating the WHY behind his refusal to enforce the Governor’s diktats. In part,
“While I remain in quarantine, there seem to be those (including from the Governor’s press conference today) who can’t resist connecting my contraction of Covid with my official position of not utilizing armed officers to enforce emergency or other orders. Two distinct things.[…]
“I personally have not engaged in any reckless behavior, I generally always wear a mask in public, I don’t engage in activities over the recommended numbers, or dine out when it has been against the rules. Three things, incidentally, we know others have done but been lucky enough to escape infection.[…]
“Though some would like to blame me, and as savory as it would be for some to do so, one would similarly have to blame all 14 million Americans that have contracted the virus, not to mention hold almost 300,000 people responsible for their own demise. That certainly defies logic, and is borderline evil.
“Now to my refusal to enforce directives–and they seem to come from everywhere. From public health officers who may not be doctors, from various elected officials, though they are not lawyers or court officers charged with guarding the Constitution, and from unelected bureaucrats who are neither elected by, nor accountable to, anyone. The primary reason is practical–we don’t have the staffing. We still do all the same types of things we have always done, and we don’t have additional time or staffing to take on more.
“The second reason requires more introspection. There exist serious questions of Constitutionality, probable cause, and reasonable suspicion that guide our actions as law enforcement officers. We can’t guess, we can’t be wrong, and we can’t take the word of politicians, bureaucrats and health officials that they exist.”
Sheriff Jones was part of the Day 2 panels at the Re-Open Cal Now Public Policy Conference, where he delved deeper into the serious Constitutionality questions, and had directives for the citizens of California on how to protect their Constitutional rights.
I had opportunity to interview Sheriff Jones and ask him a few more in-depth questions, for which he had answers. A refreshing change from our other elected officials who don’t even know how to ask the proper questions.