OPEN LETTER TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
To the fine men and women who serve in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department:
As you probably know, after much thought and consideration I recently announced my candidacy for Riverside County Sheriff. I did not come to this decision easily and I do not take this challenge lightly. However, after watching the current Sheriff systematically dismantle the Department over the last several years, it became obvious to me that I am uniquely prepared and qualified to not only be Sheriff, but to win this race.
As a 30 year law enforcement professional who has spent the last seven years successfully leading the Hemet Police Department and our community through very difficult times, I feel it's time to step up and try to do the same for my brothers and sisters within the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Unfortunately, I have experienced firsthand the chaos and turmoil the current Sheriff has created. There are so many incredible professionals being overlooked - or punished - by a Sheriff who puts politics above professional integrity. This simply cannot continue or we all know the Department will implode.
The County is facing a financial crisis. Staffing shortages and inefficiencies within the Department are making it unsafe and virtually impossible for you to do your jobs effectively. The jail bed crisis continues to be ignored. Allied law enforcement agencies are being abandoned. Our communities feel unsafe…. ALL of this is due to a huge failure of leadership by the Sheriff.
Let me share with you the kind of leadership it will take to get the Department back on track - leadership I have shown throughout my career and leadership I will bring if elected to the Office of Sheriff.
I believe there are five key components to effective leadership: Vision, Inspiration, Accountability, Passion and Humility.
My vision for the Sheriff's Department consists of three main priorities:
1. Change the culture from one of fear, intimidation and punishment to one of confidence, respect and appreciation. This includes training and equipping our people properly!
2. Set goals and objectives that focus on empowering employees to make decisions and take risks to improve public safety. Yes, this means pushing decisions off the 2nd floor and trusting our people!
3. Develop real solutions to address the serious issues facing our Department like patrol staffing, jail overcrowding and budget shortfalls. The current administration talks a lot about the problems but it takes leadership to identify and implement solutions! Weak leaders cast blame, strong leaders shoulder it.
I look forward to collaborating with the members of the organization - all ranks and assignments - to further develop this comprehensive vision.
Next, I believe great leaders know how to inspire their troops. This is one of the core values of the Hemet Police Department's strategic plan. Inspiration starts with trust. I've always felt most inspired when I knew my boss trusted and believed in me. This leadership trait starts at the top and permeates throughout the organization. I have observed the opposite culture within the Sheriff's Department and I can't wait to change it. Men and women who choose to serve in law enforcement deserve our genuine trust and confidence. In turn, I've seen the amazing results of an inspired and empowered workforce. There is nothing more rewarding to me than to watch my people succeed.
Management teams should serve as coaches and mentors. Lieutenants and sergeants should work to equip, train and enable our employees to do great work, and deputies and line employees should be supported, inspired and empowered to make a difference every day!
In order to provide important balance, a leader must incorporate accountability. We are all drawn to this profession because we thrive on structure and order. We also expect excellence of ourselves and each other. When we fall short, we expect to be held accountable, but the goal should always be to improve service and effectiveness, never to harm or destroy a person's career. At the end of the day, accountability is what we all desire and expect, but it must be fair, appropriate and rightly motivated. I have a long history of employing this form of positive accountability and I will bring this philosophy to the Sheriff's Department.
The purest motivation is passion. I believe every one of us could point to that moment in time when our passion for service inspired us to join this noble profession. And I'd argue that passion has kept us here through some very difficult times; the National dialogue on police "brutality", the loss of our colleagues to senseless violence, horrific crime scenes and just the daily grind the job brings. But passion for the job is so important and I see it being crushed in so many great deputies. I can't stand it anymore, and that's the core of my campaign...my passion for the people within the Department and those you are trying so hard to serve.
I believe we can restore the luster of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. We can reverse the mass-exit and begin attracting other department's best and brightest again by reigniting our passion for each other, our profession and the communities we serve.
And finally, great leaders must have and show humility. I'm not sure this can be taught or learned. But I know it comes naturally to me. I've never cared much about recognition, in fact I can honestly say I'd prefer it go elsewhere. Humility at the top encourages teamwork and esprit de corps. It also suggests self-confidence and success. I will bring humility to the Office of the Sheriff and will see it as a top pre-requisite for promotion and recognition within the organization.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I know that I am an "outsider" but I firmly believe I am uniquely qualified and purely motivated to beat Stan Sniff and to work with all of you to restore the Sheriff's Department to greatness. Please consider supporting my bid for Riverside County Sheriff.
David M. Brown
Chief of Police, City of Hemet
Candidate for Riverside County Sheriff