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Letter to the Editor: I endorse Johns for Sheriff

Dear Residents of Plumas County:

I have been a member of California law enforcement for over 21 years and had the privilege of serving five of those years in Plumas County.  During my tenure in Plumas County, I had the pleasure of working very closely with the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office.  I wanted to share some of my insight into law enforcement management.

For eight years of my career, I served as a sergeant supervising multiple different units from field operations to administrative responsibilities.  During that time, like many sergeants do, I often questioned the decisions being made by the boss and believed if I were the one in charge, I would do everything so much better.  One day I was granted that wish as I was promoted from sergeant to commander and overnight suddenly became responsible for everything from day-to-day operations to budgets and staffing.  That is an extremely steep learning curve and there is a very narrow margin for error.  The experience was eye opening and the best thing I can relate it to is that sometimes you just don’t know, what it is that you don’t know.

I appreciate the difficulties of being a manager of a law enforcement agency in a rural town and I know those challenges grow exponentially when you lived in the community and have come up through the ranks to ultimately one day be supervising people that were once your peers.  The reality in law enforcement is that not everyone gets promoted, not everyone gets the specialty job they want, and that is never going to be popular with those who don’t get the job.

When you are the boss, you have an obligation to the community you serve and your agency to make the tough decisions, even if that makes you wildly unpopular with your staff.  I know because I’ve lived it.  At one point I was even questioned by one of my supervisors who asked me if I wanted the staff to “like me.”  Sometimes being the boss truly is not fun and if you are doing your job right, not everyone will always like you.

Sometimes when you are attempting to effect change in your agency the process is uncomfortable and unpopular.  Being the Sheriff is not a popularity contest liken to a high school election where you are promised if you vote for me, I will make of all your wildest dreams come true.

It is obvious that some of the decisions that Sheriff Johns has made are not popular, however if they are not illegal, immoral, or unethical he is making those decisions in good faith to serve his community and to protect his staff and the Sheriff’s Office. It is easy to “Monday morning quarterback” the decisions being made when you do not understand all the other considerations that are taken into account.  It is easy to have the benefit of hindsight when you condemn or question decisions that have to be made in a split second.  But the reality is you need someone with experience and a willingness to make those decision for the good of the community they serve.

In all my interactions with Sheriff Johns, he has been the consummate professional.  He is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of law enforcement, as well as supervision.  Sheriff Johns has high expectations and holds his people accountable while being fair and equitable.  He also loves Plumas County.

In my personal opinion, Sheriff Johns is the most qualified individual to serve Plumas County as the Sheriff.

Captain S. J. Richards

Peace Officer

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