Other Taft Articles:
JOCO, THE SHERIFF AND LIES
February 13, 2005
Grants Pass, OR -- A Bulldog firmly attached to one's tender hindquarters can prove to be difficult to shake off, as the man who calls himself the Josephine County Sheriff has discovered. On October 15, 2004, Dave Daniel was on a local AM radio talk program attempting to do just that. His success in doing so is questionable as the US Observer (newspaper) is still hanging on baring Daniel's follies. Why did Daniel use his radio time to dig up an old bone of contention in an attempt to discredit the Observer? Nearly four-years ago the Observer published a story on the alleged beating of a police dog down in the JoCo jail.
This has been digging at Daniel ever since. Daniel made this statement, "If Mr. Taft would ever report both sides of a story and certainly report the truth …" Translated that means the Observer writer is mean spirited, doesn't get his facts right, and tells lies about the sheriff. The old adage of the pot calling the kettle black seems appropriate in this discussion. The reader will have the opportunity to play the part of Sherlock Holmes and come to his/her own conclusion as to who is telling lies in Josephine County. If the reader thinks these types of shenanigans aren't happening in his community he's either been napping too long or looking in the wrong keyhole.
Commissioners Fail to Publicly Reprimand Sheriff
A link to the original dog story can be accessed later in this article. Many have and are now questioning Daniel's competency as a sheriff. In 1998, former District Attorney Tim Thompson knew enough about Daniel to recommend to the voters that he not be elected sheriff. Reading the following information, it appears the former DA was a bit of a prophet. Many stories on Daniel's so called follies have been published, the latest being the recent loss of two lawsuits. Daniel cost the county and its insurance company $230,000 paid to settle the lawsuits and an additional $71,926.74 to pay for attorney fees. That totals out at $301,926.24. The statement I have shows that JoCo paid $157,500 and the insurance companies picked up the rest of the tab. And all that because Daniel allegedly didn't like two deputies? It can be conjectured Daniel would be a lot more careful with taxpayer dollars if he had to pay the $300,000 out of his own pocket. It's a safe bet that the insurers aren't happy with this needless expense and the county's liability premiums will increase in the future.
There is no free lunch at the courthouse. The voters need to be extremely careful whom they elect to office as those that lose lawsuits could bankrupt the county and its homeowners. Nobody is in business to lose money especially insurance companies. Ask a doctor about the cost of his malpractice insurance. Elected public officials like Dave Daniel who lose a big-ticket lawsuit are a detriment to the office they hold and the taxpayers who pay their bills. If an employee cost Wal-Mart or any other business $300,000 he would be fired, axed, or dumped, as in this writer's opinion Daniel should be.
I find it strange that the three county commissioners Ellis, Riddle, and Rathenburg made no public comment of reprimand regarding Daniel, when they transferred funds to cover the cost of the lost lawsuit. The commissioners need to take a bold stand on behalf of the public and advise all county employees and elected office holders that they will not tolerate actions that lead to this type of lawsuit against the county and its residents. This is something the commissioners will not want to do. The JoCo taxpayers must demand that the commissioners publicly reprimand the sheriff over the $300,000 and not attempt to sweep this issue into a black hole. If this is not done, they will quickly lose their credibility with the public and appear to be in collusion with the sheriff. This is not a good way for Ellis and Rathenburg to start their four-year terms as commissioners. The taxpayers will soon learn if the commissioners are wimps or real men.
Under Sheriff and the Over Sheriff
Daniel ran for election as sheriff saying he could handle the job without an Undersheriff. Daniel recently appointed Lt. Brian Anderson as the new Undersheriff. Now Josephine County has two sheriffs and two salaries costing at least $160,000 annually. What does Daniel do all day now that he doesn't have to be a sheriff but still gets paid for the job? Daniel is elected and has no one to oversee what he does. He has been staunchly in opposition to a citizens' review panel that could keep a close watch on him, and apparently for good reason.
Now he can do as he pleases and get paid to do it and no one is watching. Daniel wants personal loyalty from the deputies and those that give it may see a promotion and a raise in pay. It appears that deputies that don't crawl or give their personal loyalty to Daniel may be fired like Wayne Dykes and Carroll Huffman and others. Fortunately these deputies had legal recourse and were vindicated. Other deputies fired by Daniel were rehired. A few years ago the deputies' association (union) cast a ballot of nonsupport for Daniel. Daniel has had a love-hate relationship with the office that he is supposed to manage for almost his entire tenure.
Bloody Dog Story
Prior to the November election Sheriff Daniel was a guest speaker on a local radio station where he promoted a property tax to pay for more beds in the county jail and rebutted his critics. Here is the text of a portion of that interview that brings up the dog story.
Sheriff Daniel, "Certainly I would love to comment on that. Mr. Taft calls himself an investigative reporter and unfortunately he only investigates one side of the issue and reports on that one side. Let me give you an example of that. He wrote up a big article awhile back in the Oregon Observer that he writes for and he ah ah complained about ah canine handler beating his dog to the point of ah bloodying it all over the the jail. And and that was his investigative report ah ah they were doing canine training in the jail they have grates on the ah steps that go from the first to the second level. One of the dogs ah cut his paw on one of those grates and and certainly tracked some blood around. It had to be cleaned up by an inmate and and that's the problem. If Mr. Taft would ever report both sides of a story and certainly report the truth I would have no problem in allowing him access to everything down there."
Carl Wilson, "So really you're saying that the issue really is between you and Mr. Taft and not you and the truth or anything like that."
Sheriff Daniel, "Well it's … I can tell you that Mr. Taft and Ed Snook and ah ah took a antagonistic attitude ah towards the sheriff's office and the entire criminal justice system ah following their attempt to have ah ah Judge O'Neil recalled. Do you remember that about five years ago and ah ever since then they have been antagonistic towards the entire criminal justice system and once again they pick jist what they want to report on and not report the facts."
The following web site contains the original story of the alleged beating of the police dog . In reading the article compare Daniel's radio comments from Oct. 2004 to those made nearly four years ago.
1. Daniel claims the dog snagged a claw on a grate hence the blood. Daniel reportedly told Editor Dennis Roler of the Daily Courier that the dog had broken a tooth. Daniel isn't getting his facts straight. Daniel complains we don't tell the truth. That reminds me of the time I asked him if he called the former DA Tim Thompson a SOB because he wrote the letter to the editor opposing Daniel for sheriff. Daniel simply told me he didn't remember. What a dodge. My witness remembers quite well when Daniel made the SOB comment to him. Daniel also is reported to have used the same phrase about a Sgt. he fired for disloyalty. This may be a favorite phrase Daniel uses to take care of deputies, DA's, and reporters.
2. Daniel complains both sides of the story are not reported. In reading the original article a number of sources were checked. The sheriff's office was uncooperative and at times didn't return calls as discussed in the article. Information had to be obtained through former Commissioner Harold Haugen. Pressure has been applied to Daniel in the past to force him to release public information. This is not a good way to run a sheriff's office.
3. Daniel evaded the announcer's comment, "So really you're saying that the issue really is between you and Mr. Taft and not you and the truth…? Daniel evaded a yes or no answer on the question. As far as being antagonistic towards the entire criminal justice system, that's unfounded. Like most citizens I demand honesty in government and give respect when it's earned. Daniel is using the old cloak trick to cover himself while attempting to make everyone believe the entire Criminal Justice System is under the cloak with him. Again Daniel fails to get his point. Daniel has not earned that respect. There is no doubt that many good deputies are employed by the sheriff's office. Both the courts and the district attorney's office have had problems, but new people are now in place and they bear watching for improvement.
4. The cost of buying and training a police dog is reported to be $15,000. The reader needs to ask why a $15,000 dog with a bleeding wound was not taken to the veterinarian. Pathogens can be found anywhere and especially on floors in a jail. Flesh eating bacteria are always a concern. The dog's life could have been in danger. Why wouldn't a quick trip to the vet be in order as insurance to protect the dog's life and the investment? A trained police dog is a valuable asset to any police department, and normally these dogs are especially well taken care of.
If the dog had been struck out of anger and had bruise marks, that would be reason enough to stay away from the vet. If that indeed took place and the public was aware of it, Daniel and the deputy may as well have left town. A trip to the vet could have cleared this matter up. This was not done, and nearly four years later the issue is unresolved and it's still bothering Daniel. A troubled conscience can keep a man from his rest, while guilty secrets dance through the night.
Comments can be sent to John Taft
and Sheriff Dave Daniel can be reached at (541) 474-5123 or e-mail
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John Taft former president of Josephine County, OR. Taxpayers Association is presently an investigative reporter for the US-Oregon Observer and NewsWithViews.com. He has had many years of broadcasting, news writing and reporting experience. He also has written a popular conservative newsletter for a taxpayers organization to inform the public on taxing issues.
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