Sheriff John Whetsel of Oklahoma County.
By Steve Long
The Otter Limits
Posted: July 28, 2012
EDMOND, Okla. -- If
the top cop in your county can’t obey the law, what does that say about your
A few days ago, Fox News 25 reported that the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office has been using inmates from the Oklahoma County detention center to build signs for his re-election campaign.
Sheriff John Whetsel was interviewed and admitted that his office did do this but claims he did not know about it. He also apologized to the citizens of Oklahoma County for this happening and states it will never happen again.
Whether or not he knew about it or not, this is not the type of person I would want as the chief law enforcement officer in the county. If he did know about it, he is an unethical leader and not any better than some of the criminals he hosts in his jail. If he, in fact, did not know about this, he is a poor leader and incompetent because he can’t seem to manage the daily operation of those under his charge.
John Whetsel has been the Sheriff of Oklahoma County for sixteen years. He originally ran against J.D. Sharp on a platform of fixing the jail. He has not fixed the jail. In fact, not only has he not fixed the jail, he has made it worse. The Department of Justice performed an inspection on the Oklahoma County detention center and issued a report listing 60 key deficiencies of the jail. Of those 60 deficiencies, 55 of them were management in nature, not structural deficiencies. And what is John Whetsel’s answer to this report? He wants to build a brand new jail. He wants to impose a new tax on the citizens of Oklahoma County to the tune of $340 million to build a new jail that will not fix over 90% of the problems outlined in the Department of Justice report.
The Oklahoman reported recently that the Sheriff’s Office is unable to conduct sobriety checkpoints this year because they do not have the funding to do so. The first thing I think about this is why is the Sheriff’s office out of money? The Sheriff’s department receives an annual budget not to mention the extra expenditures he has requested year after year for the operation of his department from the county. Why can’t the Sheriff manage his resources effectively? This is beside the fact that these sobriety checkpoints he is conducting have, more often than not, been outside his jurisdiction. He is conducting these checkpoints in municipalities such as Midwest City and Edmond, where there is already a standing police force. Some might say that the entire County is his jurisdiction but the fact is that things related to traffic safety, among other things, is the responsibility of the local police forces. The only places the Sheriff’s department could doing these sorts of things is in un-incorporated areas such as the Deer Creek area and areas in northeast Oklahoma County. This type of globalist mentality in our law enforcement is not something we need. Let the local police do their job. On top of this, anytime the Sheriff’s office conducts one of these sobriety checkpoints and writes someone a ticket in a municipality, that city loses money. That money should be going to the city, not to the county.
This is the same elected official that has squandered millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer’s money on military-grade equipment that is not necessary for a county law enforcement office.
Again I have to ask. If the top law enforcement office in the county cannot hold himself to the same legal system as you or I, how does he represent the people of Oklahoma County? Is this the type of person that should represent Oklahoma County to the rest of the state, or the rest of the country? Is this the type of person we should allow to serve another 4 years after 16 years of poor law enforcement?
Sixteen years is long enough. The current Sheriff has proved time and time again that he is incompetent and not fiscal responsible. It is time that Oklahoma County elect a new Sheriff to address the problems of mismanagement and alleged corruption inherent in the current Sheriff’s office. It is time we elect a Sheriff that is a good steward of the taxpayer’s money. It is time that John Whetsel is held accountable for his practices. It is time that we have a new Sheriff in town.
Steve Long operates The Otter Limits blog and is a contributor to Red Dirt Report. He lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Red Dirt Report.
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report