As I reported last week fellow Liberal OC blogger Dan Chmielewski and myself met with ActingÃ‚Â Sheriff Anderson at his office in Santa Ana on Wednesday.Ã‚Â InÃ‚Â Part I of our interview with Anderson we discussed the events surrounding the tragic suicide of the 16 year old son of two Orange County Sheriff Department lieutenants which has led to a departmental investigation as well as a full scale investigation by the District Attorney’s office which are looking into possible wrongdoing by the OCSD in how they handled the investigation.
We then turned our discussion to his beingÃ‚Â the Acting Sheriff.Ã‚Â “I feel very comfortable doing the job.Ã‚Â I prepared myself for it,” said Anderson.Ã‚Â “I’m not talking a resume’ thing, I just feel very comfortable doing the day to day sheriffing job.Ã‚Â What I find distracting is the politics that are going on during the appointment process.Ã‚Â That can be a little time consuming because I have to be responsive to it on behalf of the department, not on behalf of Jack Anderson.”
Anderson, while understanding the scrutiny caused by his predecessor, voiced what I sensed was a bit of frustration on his part.Ã‚Â “There are people attacking this department for their own personal reasons or to promote their own candidate or for their own agenda.”
As a twenty-one year veteran of the OCSD, Anderson also took the time to defend those in his charge.Ã‚Â “I have to stay vigilant in trying to represent the department and let peopleÃ‚Â know that the vast majority of the men and women that work for this department do an honest, ethical days work.Ã‚Â What was revealed by the special grand jury report is not representitive of them,” Anderson said.Ã‚Â “They (the deputies) need to recognize that I know and the public knows that they do a good job.”
Anderson went on to say, “We are not going to allow these few people who were identified in the special grand jury report to define who this department is and we are going to clean that up.”Ã‚Â
The conversation then turned to the appointment of a new Sheriff by the Board of Supervisors.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“I back the best candidate,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Anderson.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“When this all came to light and the board was wanting to look at the 6 or 7 people, kinda what they like to call Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe usual suspectsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, I argued against that and said you should do a national search.Ã‚Â You need to do it because the way Mike Carona left office has injured the reputation of the department.Ã‚Â One of the ways to get that back is to go out nationally and get the best that would be interested in working here in that capacity and ask them to apply.Ã‚Â Have a public interview process, and whoever gets selected will in essence be validated by the process.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Anderson went on to explain, Ã¢â‚¬Å“There will not be an impression that there was a backroom political deal done by locals but the best talent came forward and this person was validated by the process.Ã‚Â And that will help the organization regain its reputation as a professional organizationÃ¢â‚¬Â.
TheÃ‚Â Acting Sheriff realizes that there is a chance that he will not receive the appointment from the Board of Supervisors so we asked him about his future with the OCSD should that happen.Ã‚Â When asked if he plans to stay with the department he responded, “Oh yes.Ã‚Â I originally planned on staying with the department for thirty years and I am on year twenty-two.Ã‚Â I don’t plan to go anywhere.”
However Anderson’s future with the department is most likely out of his hands should the BOS select someone other than himself.Ã‚Â Does he think that person would keep him on board?Ã‚Â “That will be their decision.Ã‚Â I am who I am as far as my work history.”
Anderson followed that up with what was his most profound statement of the discussion, “I was here twelve years before Mike Carona arrived and I knew I’d be here long after he left.”
“I have always been loyal to the department no matter who the leader is.Ã‚Â My work ethic doesn’t change,” Anderson continued.Ã‚Â “If someone else is selected Sheriff that person will have to come in and evaluate me based on my past experience.”
“I will do what I have always done which is to make contributions to the department.”Ã‚Â And then inÃ‚Â what appeared to be a dig at his predecessor Carona, Anderson said, “If that supports that Sheriff then that’s okay too because that’s my boss and I will follow their vision and goals as long as they are ethical.”
In Part III which will appear tomorrow here on the Liberal OC we will wrap up our conversation with Acting Sheriff Anderson and will discuss his ties to the Orange County Republican party including his being a member of the party’s county central committee.
Dan Chmielewski contributed to this post.