After receiving a number of complaints about how the Mono County Sheriff’s Office functions, we have spoken with Sheriff Rick Scholl. He responded to concerns raised about alleged bias in treatment of officers, about a current claim for damages by a deputy, and about a fired county worker investigation.
To the claim that there are two sets of rules within his department, Sheriff Scholl said, “I have always told my staff that no matter who we’re dealing with, we take the personality out of it. We deal fairly with all. Personal likes and dislikes are out.”
Sheriff Scholl said he and others “deal equitably with every situation.” He said time and time again, it has been proven that the department “has never dealt with anyone unfairly.”
What about Mono Deputy Jon Madrid who has filed a claim that alleges illegal and wrongful conduct by the Sheriff’s Department? Sheriff Scholl said he could not comment. He did say that Madrid filed an appeal, apparently about some type of disciplining. The Sheriff said it is “confidential in nature.” He cited government code that “protects the rights of police officers and prohibits comment.” Sheriff Scholl added, “I wish I could tell people the truth.”
On another subject, when asked about the perception of favors done for or by the upper echelon of the Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Scholl said, “Those employees are no longer here. There were some things people haven’t agreed with.”
The Sheriff pointed to last year’s Grand Jury report that he described as a “scathing” report on the boating enforcement officer. He said the Jury took one person’s word and never interviewed the most significant person. Scholl maintains that sometimes members of the public get “part of the story and react emotionally. I always say,” said Scholl, “take the personality out of it.”
The Sheriff also maintains that he believes if anyone, including the Grand Jury, came in and looked, “they would find any discipline fair and equitable.” He admitted that public criticism “goes with the territory.”
Another recent public issue was the Sheriff’s Office investigation of a reported physical fight involving two Public Works Department employees. Both men were fired, and one of those men – Dick Luman – has engaged in a public appeal hearing. During that hearing, some questioned why the Mono Sheriff’s Department had wrapped up an investigation and concluded that Luman was not the aggressor. Then, Mono County provided it’s insurance investigator’s report which included some different information. Why did the Sheriff’s Office re-open their investigation?
Sheriff Scholl said, “To me it is simple. The County’s report is part of the record. We have a risk manager, Rita Sherman. Any sort of issue comes to our attention, like details of work place harassment. An insurance company may get involved, and that’s what happened.”
The Sheriff said when his officers take a report, they do not all end up as a criminal case. He said if no one wants to prosecute, “it falls under mutual combat.” Sheriff Scholl did say there were discrepancies between his department’s investigation and the County insurance investigation. Said Scholl, “We want the whole story.” He said there was no cover up. “We have no vested interest to cover anything up.”