Having just completed the 14 weeks of the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy, I had planned to write a letter stating how impressed I was not only with the Sheriff’s Office dedication to our safety, but of the support, team work and pride they share for the department as a whole. Now upon learning of this tragedy in Pollock Pines on Wednesday night, I feel the urgency to get this letter written. Just last Tuesday evening our class spent three hours going through mock scenarios that the deputies are faced with on a daily basis. In our role as a deputy, we were all faced with making an immediate assessment of the situation we found ourselves in, making split second decisions based on the scene unfolding before you, ever-changing, ever requiring new tactics. Most of us fumbled and it was lighthearted, but I pictured our role-playing when I heard of this tragic situation, now realizing how things can turn grave so quickly. I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of Christopher Sheldon and all the SO folks involved in this very sad situation.
One of the classes of the Academy offered a ride-along with deputies on a routine patrol. I was amazed at not only their technical ability to multitask while in route, but their compassion, without judging, for the citizens they serve. I observed their utmost sincerity in dealing with people’s issues, seemingly trivial to me the observer, but treated with great significance by the deputies. I watched a deputy defuse a mother and daughter dispute, allowing them the opportunity to work it out themselves. I was moved by the loving way a deputy spoke with a little boy to assure he was safe in his home. And I witnessed a reassuring visit to the home of a woman in fear of her ex, and was impressed with the resourceful way it was handled. All this delivered with respect and the patience and experience of a loving father by these young deputies.
While much is written about county departments merging to provide better services, it is the unsung heroes of your El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office that are the true public servants. After 28 years of service to El Dorado County myself, I can think of no finer group of people I would like to be associated with, and in my retirement, offer my support in volunteer hours to our EDSO.