Back in September 2016, I applied for a volunteer position on the Deschutes County Sheriff’s new Citizens Advisory Panel. I was accepted and spent the years since then meeting roughly monthly with Sheriff Nelson and the other panel members.
Volunteering on the CAP was a way for me to serve my community, try to help my sheriff, and try to help the people who do extraordinarily difficult jobs protecting us all. It was an interesting experience but I can’t say I was in any way influential.
Meanwhile, over the years law enforcement incidents in this country have left me increasingly disillusioned with the profession. After five years on the Panel I came to feel that my participation was of minimal value for either DCSO or the citizens of my county.
I also felt increasingly that I wanted to speak more plainly about the problems in cop culture; but that my speech might reflect poorly on Sheriff Nelson or his advisory panel.
Given these misgivings I felt it best to resign my position on the Panel, and I did so on July 16, 2021.
I still support Shane Nelson as Deschutes County’s sheriff.
Although we disagree on many things, I came to know Sheriff Nelson well enough to tell you that he is a man of compassion, integrity, ethics and professionalism. He’s not as progressive as I wish, but then again he’s more progressive than average. (And then again, Bernie Sanders isn’t as much of a leftist as I am, either. But there’s a big difference between my philosophical outlook and implementing policy on a day-to-day basis.)
Most importantly: DCSO has a decades-long history of misconduct in its ranks, and Sheriff Nelson quickly established a strong record of zero tolerance for it. The fact that his deputies’ union stands against him at each election cycle is all the proof you need. And it’s all the reason you need to vote for him again.
I wish Sheriff Nelson well, as I do his – our – deputies and staff at DCSO. Every day I hope they all get home to their loved ones safely, without injury, and without having had to injure anyone in the performance of their duties. I wish them health and happiness; success in their careers; and success in their mission: protecting and serving all the people of Deschutes County.
Because cop culture is a social phenomenon that’s fraught with serious problems. But cops are real, individual people.
But, from now on, I won’t pull any punches, either.