The speed and openness surrounding the arrest of the corrections officers is highly unusual in such cases, said Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University and specialist in violence at prisons and jails. “The level of transparency is quite exceptional,” Dr. Lee said given “a culture of cover-up collusions, even between police departments and correction officers in the past.”
Don Specter, the executive director of the Berkeley, Calif.-based Prison Law Office, which fights to protect prisoners from things like excessive force by guards, said that Sheriff Smith’s move “should send a very strong message to other corrections officers working in jails or prisons, that the rest of their careers — and possibly their liberty — is at risk if they do things like this.” New York Times
In her opening remarks before joining roundtable discussions with Deputy Mollie Madden, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith explained how her patrol division and jails have written LGBTQ inclusivity into their official policy. “The policy is the only policy in the country that we found that encompasses from inmate intake, to re-entry back into the community, and the time while they’re in custody,” she told attendees. “The policy provides guidelines to properly housing LGBTQIA inmates as well as making informed decisions regarding access to programs, services, toiletries, preferred clothing items and many other things within the facility.”
With an emphasis on safety, Smith continued, her agency works to treat everyone fairly. “We’ve also been the first law enforcement agency to include both preferred and assigned sex information in our law enforcement computer databases,” she said. “This allows us to consider inmates’ pronouns and name preferences during day-to-day interactions.”
San Jose Inside
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters, “We’re proud that justice was served and that those that are culpable are behind bars.” KQED
“We don’t need a Taj Mahal,’’ Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said. “So much has changed since we started that I wanted us to re-evaluate the plan, come up with realistic population projections and consider a fiscally responsible alternative.’’ Mercury News
Told it would take two more years and up to $20 million to install more security cameras in Santa Clara County’s troubled jails, Sheriff Laurie Smith decided Wednesday to whip out her Costco card and buy a few herself. The cost for 12 cameras to test: $761.24 — which Smith put on her personal American Express. Mercury News
Sheriff Laurie Smith gave highlights of the 13-point plan during a meeting of the county’s Public Safety and Justice Committee at the board chambers in San Jose this afternoon.
Many of the proposed changes were on the table prior to 31-year-old Michael Tyree’s death in late August at the County’s Main Jail in San Jose, Smith said. “I don’t believe that the jail should ever be a holding facility for those that have mental health issues,” Smith said. “Very often we find that the crime they’ve committed is sometimes a result of their mental health issues,” she said. KTVU
At the news conference, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith implored Garcia-Torres to tell authorities where Sierra’s body is hidden.
“If Garcia-Torres has one ounce of humanity or a shred of humanity in that cold-hearted murderer’s heart, I call on him today to tell us where Sierra is so we can bring her home,” she said. LA Times
[T]o the credit of county officials — including Smith, who supervises the jails — there was never an attempt to argue that this was an isolated incident in a well-run institution.
“The disappointment and disgust I feel cannot be overstated,” Smith said at the time. She was transparent as details surfaced, and she aggressively pursued the arrests.
For months before the murder, Smith had been working with other county officials on reforms in response to two lawsuits over jail conditions. She acknowledges that many of the claims were spot on. Mercury News
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is thinking big.
She’s asking for round-the-clock, affordable childcare for her deputies.
Smith said that while she wishes her office had the resources of Facebook or Google, “I think it’s a great commitment. And I think it would be really, really good to get really good quality people.”
The fact is that when new deputies first graduate from the academy they’re often stuck working the graveyard shift for years.
Smith said they lose out on quality applicants who can’t find or can’t afford the childcare to cover the unusual hours.
Smith said, “Many, many deputies, women and men, have this as an issue. But it’s particularly an issue for single parents, and it’s a job you don’t go into because childcare is just not available.” CBS Local
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office unveiled in-car gun safes for its deputies’ personal vehicles Thursday, becoming one of the first police agencies in the state to comply with a just-signed law inspired by high-profile killings that used stolen law-enforcement weapons.
The 750 safes and lockboxes purchased “will significantly reduce the risk of guns falling in the hands of criminals,” Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a North San Jose facility where the county’s vehicle fleet is maintained. Mercury News
The city of Cupertino has signed off on a new 10 year contract with the Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff.
The contract will run from fiscal year 2014-15 through 2024-25 and will continue the city’s relationship with the law enforcement agency that has been in effect since Cupertino was incorporated in 1955, Sheriff Laurie Smith told the five-member city council on July 1.
“We’re really, really proud of the relationship that we have established with you,” Smith told the council. “We value our relationship, and we’re proud to keep the community in Cupertino one of the safest cities in California.” Mercury News