Deschutes County Sheriff: Nelson vs. Schaier

So you haven’t decided which candidate to support for Deschutes County Sheriff?  Here’s my final advice for you.

Credit: The Bulletin

Keep your eye on qualifications.

Nelson has 27 years of experience and training in law enforcement, and in every aspect of running the Sheriff’s Office.  He’s highly experienced and has extensive advanced training in three essential areas of the job of every top cop:  supervision, management, and command.  He also holds a bachelor’s degree from OSU.

Schaier has only 11 years of experience.  He has never held a law enforcement position of supervisor, management, or command.  His training is limited.  He has no college degree, but he claims he’s expert in “21st century policing.”  Bull pucky.

Schaier claims he has all the experience he needs, because he worked as a “manager” in an auto sales business before he joined the police.  In actuality he was only a high school graduate when he went to work in his family’s business, and he was only employed there until he was 24 years old. Don’t be fooled by Schaier’s claims of “managerial” experience prior to policing:  he has none to speak of.

Retired Bend Police Chief Jim Porter never even promoted Schaier to a supervisory position.  Porter’s “endorsement” of Schaier is little more than a public vendetta against Shane Nelson.  It certainly isn’t an honest or convincing statement of Schaier’s preparation and accomplishments for the job of Police Chief – let alone Sheriff.

Ignore Schaier’s rosy campaign promise of “greater inclusiveness.”

Because Schaier means to appease the deputies’ union.  And that’s not what Deschutes County needs.

Focus on Nelson’s established record of being willing to fire “bad apples” for misconduct, corruption, racism, and police brutality.  Schaier’s priority is to be buddies and friends with the disgruntled union members in the Sheriff’s Office.  Nelson’s priority is to make damned sure that his deputies adhere to their professional oaths and ethics.  And Nelson is willing to go to the mat with them if they don’t:  he has a firmly-established record of doing just that – he’s fired nine “bad apples.”

And that’s exactly what I want of every top cop.  Fire the “bad apples” that need to be fired.  That’s what my tax dollars are supposed to be getting from top cops:  the determination to handle misconduct, corruption, and brutality with finality and determination.  That’s a primary responsibility of top cops.  Being friends and buds with employees damned well better not get in the way of that.  Nor should unions.  Nor should happy talk like “inclusiveness.”

Ignore Schaier’s rosy campaign promise of “greater transparency.”

Secrecy and “need to know” is deeply ingrained in cop culture; “greater transparency” is a vacuous promise, a mere gimmick that has been dangled out to voters and tax payers by top cops and prosecutors throughout this country for the better part of a century – and always without true fulfillment.

Retired Bend Police Chief Jim Porter wasn’t committed to real transparency, and the record shows it.  Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson isn’t committed to real transparency.  The City Council and the County Council haven’t been committed to it, or even concerned until this election season. The new Bend Police Chief, Mike Krantz, won’t be committed to it.  And Scott Schaier won’t be transparent either.

If central Oregon citizens want greater transparency in our law enforcement, we’ll have to work very hard to force it on the cops – no matter who is elected as our next sheriff.  It’s going to take serious thought and political action as well as sitting at the tables and negotiating with city and county councils, the D.A., the sheriff, and the police chief – and likely even the state of Oregon.

Better to stay focused on qualifications and experience than campaign promises that sound good but are without substance.

Ignore Schaier’s rosy campaign promise to ‘end the lawsuits.’

He’s already been involved in two – and he’s only been on the job for 11 years –and their settlements have already cost taxpayers a million bucks.

Take heed of Schaier’s rosy campaign promise to ‘end employee grievances.’

The grievances against Nelson have been filed by disgruntled employees, disciplined, demoted, or passed over for promotion; and by an employee who thought he could flaunt the Sheriff’s uniform policy to leverage a phony issue for his own election campaign.

You and I, as voters and taxpayers, might do well to be wary of any top cop who doesn’t have grievances filed against him.  Like as not, it may just mean that that top cop is too buddy-buddy with his employees to discipline, demote, or fire them when they need it.  Or he doesn’t see problems developing in his ranks.

And finally, question Scott Schaier’s professional judgment.

He’s only 35 years old.  He’s only been a cop for 11 years.  He’s never been promoted to a supervisory position in law enforcement – let alone management or command.  He hasn’t completed a bachelor’s degree program, he doesn’t have advanced training in supervision, management, or command.  He thinks his first job as a high school graduate gave him sufficient “managerial” experience to run a law enforcement agency with a $50 Million budget.  He thinks he ‘established’ his ‘management style’ in his family’s business, in six short years of dubious responsibility.

He has already cost taxpayers $1 Million in settlement fees, in two police jurisdictions.

And he has already killed a man in the line of duty.

This young cop is not ready for the job of Sheriff, and he won’t be for many years.

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