The Wild Wild West?

What’s more interesting the 2013-2014 Yolo County Grand Jury Report or the reaction to it?

The Grand Jury report characterizes Yolo County sheriff Ed Prieto’s administration as being out of the ‘Wild, Wild West’.  The Grand Jury looked into Prieto allegedly at the urging of the County Board of Supervisors who were concerned about the Sheriff’s department used up more human resources time than any other department in Yolo County.  In the past couple of years Prieto has been sued on at least three separate occasions for creating a hostile work environment and/or sexual harrasment.  According to a Sacramento Bee article:

The allegations are serious: sexual harassment, intimidation, disregarding state labor practices and creating a hostile workforce where some of Prieto’s subordinates – sworn peace officers who carry guns – are afraid to speak against him without the protection of anonymity.

But the allegations against Prieto are not even close to being the worst aspect of this story. Big sections of the grand jury report against Prieto are a joke and Yolo County supervisors, who asked for the report, weren’t happy with the slim results.

Apparently the County Board of Supervisors should be happy they have results at all.  While they wanted the investigation done they had a hard time making that happen.

Just getting the grand jury report done was a chore because some key figures wanted no part of it.

Saylor and Rexroad wanted Jeff Reisig, the Yolo County district attorney, to investigate Prieto, but they said they soon learned that Reisig took a pass due to his close relationship with Prieto. Reisig was unavailable for comment.

Two Yolo County Supervisors are quoted in the Bee’s article regarding the report.  Apparently the County Board is going to request the Grand Jury flesh out their report.  How much success they will have remains to be seen.

 Prieto is so friendly with leading Yolo County legal leaders that supervisors had to rely on a grand jury that clearly whiffed on its assignment – and there is no law-enforcement body with any teeth in place to step in.

The supervisors pointed out any other department head with this many problems would be fired.  Since the Yolo County Sheriff is an elected position there isn’t much the Supervisors can do.  The Grand Jury released their report after the recent elections so if the voters wanted to do anything with this information they will have wait another four years.
The combination of the allegations against the Sheriff coupled with what can only be described as a thin Grand Jury investigation undermines the public’s trust and confidence both in law enforcement as well as the independent body that is supposed to oversee the Sheriff.