So one of the three candidates that I’d actually vote to elect as the next L.A. Sheriff has issued a statement on the issue of the Sheriff’s Department spying on the residents of Compton as well as called out disgraced Sheriff Lee Baca insiders Gardena Mayor and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Lakewood Mayor and Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers–both of whom were all up in the Sheriff’s Department at the time the decision was made to choose Compton.  Bob Olmstead,  a self described Sheriff’s Department reformer and whistle-blower, asks a great question.  Why didn’t they choose their cities to do the testing?  Why Compton instead of Gardena or Lakewood?

Olmstead said in a press release that he had deep outrage and called for an end to the program.

“It’s one thing to have fully viewable cameras in plain sight to help maintain security or prevent crime in local neighborhoods—but it’s entirely something else when the LASD spies on American citizens, like our government does to terrorists abroad using drones. The fact that the LASD knowingly hid this program from the public underscores just how deeply rooted and institutionalized the lack of transparency is within the department. This intrusive program infringes upon and violates County residents’ basic rights to privacy.  It’s wrong and I won’t tolerate it.

As Sheriff, I’ll meet with County leaders, mayors and community residents to develop appropriate ways to fight crime in their neighborhoods using community-based policing techniques that are proven effective and build trust between law enforcement and residents. We need more collaboration with County residents and we need to be more transparent as a policing agency. That’s the only way we can reform the department and rebuild trust with the people we serve.”

Olmsted added, “Paul Tanaka’s statement yesterday on ‘drone surveillance’ was not only hypocritical- it was an alarming example of just how much he’s willing to mislead voters in order to get elected. The reality is that in 2012, Paul Tanaka was the Undersheriff for ALL patrol operations of the LASD. As second-in-command at LASD, it was his responsibility to know of and approve of all operations, including this rogue domestic spying surveillance program.  For him to say he didn’t know about this is either a flat out lie or it further demonstrates his failure and incompetence as a leader.

Moreover, this question must be asked: Why did Paul Tanaka choose the City of Compton for this spying program, and not another City, like Gardena, Lakewood, Malibu, Diamond Bar, or some other municipality?

Why did Compton City residents have their privacy rights violated but not some other City? Compton is a corporate City, has its own elected City government, and is a Contract City with the LASD. They pay the LASD to provide police services—not unauthorized spying.

What would Gardena Mayor Paul Tanaka or Lakewood Mayor Todd Rogers say if this program was ‘just tested out’ in their Cities? Or will candidate Rogers, Tanaka and Hellmold say, “It was only Compton!?” Voters deserve to know the truth.

These kinds of municipal profiling, government overreach, and violations of privacy and public trust must be stopped.  As Sheriff, on day one, I’ll immediately put a permanent end to these invasive spying tactics and begin working to restore transparency, honor, and integrity to the LASD.”

I love it.  And for the record, the other candidates I am considering voting for are the LAPDs now Long Beach Police Department Chief Jim McDonnell and Lou Vince.  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.  And you know I will.

In the meantime, I need for you to make sure your voter registration is up to date before May 19.  A lot of candidates are screaming vote for me, but very few if any are doing any voter registration drives.  They only like to focus on the high propensity voters and of course those absentee ballots.