Sheriff – the road ahead…

Sheriff of Stanislaus County - Jeff Dirkse

As it now appears likely that our next Sheriff will be Jeff Dirkse, we look ahead to the task he has at hand.   With the Modesto Bee reporting “Stanislaus County Sheriff candidates strike conciliatory tone as election concludes”, the right things are being said.

Regarding Alanis, Dirkse said “I respect his service to our county and the commitment he also brings to public safety,” Dirkse said. “I appreciated the opportunity to discuss and debate our ideas for the Sheriff’s Department.

We sincerely hope so, and we hope that Alanis continues to be a valued member of Dirkse’s team.

Jeff Dirkse’s win out of a combined $325,000 in total spending by the respective campaigns, was anything but a walk in the park for the next Sheriff of Stanislaus.  Far from a mandate, it brought to the surface issues that The Backstory has been ringing the alarm bells on for years.

When Dirkse is sworn in he will take the helm of a divided and demoralized department that has spent an estimated $18 million dollars in lawsuits and settlements.  Among the issues:

  • Death in custody
  • Negligent Homicide
  • False Allegations
  • Prosecutorial vindictiveness
  • Redirection of federal funds
  • Targeted Jailhouse discrimination
  • Frivolous Spending
  • Workplace Harassment
  • Discriminatory Employment Practices

Dirkse’s statement that “he looks forward to working with outgoing sheriff Adam Christianson to work on recruiting and hiring qualified staff and to address other issues in the Sheriff’s Department.“ makes us cautious as to the extent Adam Christianson will be involved in fixing the issue plaguing the department.

The fact that Sheriff Christianson was at the center of dysfunction and abuse of public trust should limit his input into future hiring and “addressing other issues” in the Sheriff Department.

Team of Rivals by Doris GoodwinWe highly recommend that Dirkse read Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln Paperback by Doris Kearns Goodwin.    He may gain some fresh input in to the place of opposing candidate Juan Alanis.  Alanis represented the angst of hundreds of Deputies and should have a place at the table.

Regardless, Dirkse’s campaign signs promised that he was “Ready to lead” – let’s hope is ready to create meaningful change as well. Leading a 700+ strong group of bitterly divided staff will take every bit of his “leadership skills”.