Law enforcement threats should be taken with a grain of salt

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Law enforcement threats “Save our jobs or else…” California Sheriffs’ unions were quick to file lawsuits to stop the early release of inmates from jails across the state. Recent law enacted Jan. 25th called for the early release to ease financial pressures from the down economy. It has long been argued that incarcerating non-violent, low risk offenders does not make sense under a cost benefit analysis. Now with the coins in our pockets dwindling we are forced to make tough decisions reevaluating what we are spending our money on. Housing low risk offenders is costly and ineffective and this new law reflects that reality. Politicians’ mouths may say jail the offenders to please the public but their empty pockets are saying something else. People vote with their money not their mouths and a little fat has been trimmed from our justice system. Trimming fat usually causes some squealing and in this case the sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies are squealing because they don’t want to lose their jobs housing these low risk offenders. Well, none of us want to lose our jobs but it is happening across the board. Everyone is feeling the bite of this down economy from teachers, to engineers, from lawyers to dock workers employment is down. The difference between the aforementioned professions and that of law enforcement is that law enforcement sits in a unique position of public trust. The public relies on these agencies and pays them to insure our security. We also rely on them to tell us what we need to do in order to insure our safety. When people are scared or threatened they are willing to spend their last dime especially when authoritative figures advise failure to do so will be at the public’s peril. “If you take the massive layoffs we had last year, couple that with the massive layoffs we may have this year, the release of more inmates on the street, more prisoners, more criminals, it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Bill Miller, vice president of the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs Association. “Do we need even one victim because of this?” asked Miller. “Somebody’s going to get killed because of this.” Scaring the public into spending occurs at various levels of government. We all remember The Bush Administrations hollow threats of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” followed by an unlimited and seemingly endless flow of American dollars.Another local example of this can be in the bankrupt city of Vallejo. The City of Vallejo’s Police Department suffering from cutbacks and a bankruptcy were quick to use their position in the community and access to the press to scare the community to spend or suffer the consequences. While it is true that our cities and counties all need to allocate some of our scarce funds towards law enforcement. Yelps and threats from law enforcement should be taken with a grain of salt due to the obvious conflict of interests that these very powerful police agency possess. Remember power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. John Campanella, Vallejo Sacramento DUI Attorney