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Body cameras

EDITOR: Today, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office will request that the Board of Supervisors authorize more than $1.1 million for the purchase and operation of body-worn cameras. With proper policies, these cameras would be a benefit to law enforcement and the community. Sadly, the most recent policies, as presented to the county’s law enforcement task force, are deficient.

Current policies allow deputies to deactivate their cameras anytime they believe its use is no longer necessary. If deputies are free to turn them off as they please, then a body camera’s role in providing a check against law enforcement misbehavior is destroyed.

This is just one of several concerns associated with the policy. When the Sheriff’s Office made presentations to the task force on the body camera program, it was clear that it was only seeking input on the model to be purchased, not the policies that would guide their use. Until there is a public process to guarantee that we have proper policies in place, the supervisors should delay making such a large expenditure. Otherwise body cameras will be a farce that will ultimately do more harm than good.

JIM DUFFY

Rohnert Park

The real agenda

EDITOR: A question for Dawna Gallagher-Stroeh, who was quoted in the Dec. 2 article about fluoridation (“Making a Case For Fluoridation”): If her “first and foremost concern that this would impose something on people with-out their choice,” then why isn’t she honoring the choice made by the people of Healdsburg by a large margin in the recent election to continue adding fluoride to our water?

Clearly, giving people a choice isn’t her first and foremost concern. Rather, it is her agenda, which is to try again to have fluoride removed from Healdsburg’s water and to prevent it from being added to Sonoma County water. This is more honestly stated in the final paragraphs of the article, which mention her plans to introduce a fluoride-removal measure in Healdsburg in 2016 and to “start working on stopping this countywide.”

Let’s at least be honest about agendas on both sides instead of using campaign buzzwords that don’t really apply to the issue at hand.

LAURA BEACH

Healdsburg

Look within

EDITOR: In light of the recent revelations of high-profile individuals accused of domestic violence and rape, respectively, and for all of the victims of these insidious actions that don’t get reported, I would like to resubmit a letter I wrote to the paper on March 15, 2004:

As men and fathers, when will we teach ours sons, and the next generation of men, that sex is not a pleasure, when at a women’s expense? That smooth talk and stealth walk, drinks and such, are no different than imposing oneself, physically on another. One is violent and visible, the other subtle and invisible. Both means, however, are to the same end.

As men and fathers, when will we learn to teach our daughters, and the next generation of women, that they need to understand how men think and act at times, and they should be never, ever be afraid to question motives.

It is our responsibility, and ours alone, as men and fathers, to make every effort for a generational change, for our daughters and our sons. It is easy to blame outside influences, it is harder to look within.

STEVE MIKSIS

Santa Rosa

Earning respect

EDITOR: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, WMD’s? Products of corrupt, evil men who deserve our respect. Systemic child abuse by priests and ensuing cover-up … by men who deserve our respect. Unarmed civilians gunned down … by trained, body-armored men who deserve our respect.

At some point, it must be understood that all those in positions of power and authority have the ability to abuse them. While it may only be a small percentage, it is those few who create the environment in which we all exist.

To expect Americans, a people created by defying authority, to blindly bow down to abuses piled on us on a daily basis by the powers-that-be is to renege on our basic right to life and liberty.

All due respect given to those who have earned it. To those who think it comes included, regardless of merit, with a job title or uniform, it’s too late.

STEVE FRANCIS

Santa Rosa

Eligibility workers

EDITOR: Congratulations to the Sonoma County Human Services department for gaining 85 more jobs and $21 million in spending money (“Long wait for needy, Nov. 22). I’m thrilled that the needy people of the county will be benefiting.

However, the Human Services Department wastes millions of dollars each year on the hiring and training of eligibility workers only to lay them off after six to 12 months. Approximately every three months, there is an ad in the paper recruiting for this position. The county narrows down the thousands of applicants to 10-30 trainees through a detailed selection process and is obviously getting the most qualified individuals for the job. The county should concentrate on retaining the employees it has and re-examine is inadequate training process and on-the-job demands.

I can’t imagine what eligibility workers are going through now due to Affordable Care Act. The people most affected by these constant layoffs are the exact clients that the department is trying to serve. As a former employee of this department (and there are a lot of us), I urge the county supervisors and county controller to look into exactly how this money is being spent, and I urge the taxpayers to demand an audit.

PATRICIA MURRAY

Rohnert Park

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