News that Mammoth Police Chief Randy Schienle will retire, possibly in June, prompted discussion this week of how Mono County might then work with the Town on law enforcement, a suggestion that reportedly offended the Police Chief. Today, Mono Sheriff Rick Scholl responds.
It was Mono Supervisor Byng Hunt who casually mentioned in a public meeting that he had heard Chief Schienle would leave. In a conversation with us, Supervisor Hunt had said that the departure of the Mammoth Police Chief would provide an opportunity for Mono Sheriffs Officers to coordinate with Mammoth, take over duties or help out. He said the County and Town could consolidate efforts. Supervisor Hunt said only that Sheriff Scholl is well versed on the opportunities that might exist.
After hearing angry feedback to his comments, Supervisor Hunt asked reactive parties to cool down. In a comment to the Sierra Wave website, Hunt said, Before the fire bursts into flame, let me be very clear that no discussions have taken place (to the best of my knowledge) regarding Sheriff Rick Scholls perceived desire to take over the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. He has no interest in it, said Hunt.
Sources close to the situation indicated that Chief Schienle did not react well to the implication that Mono County would try to take over the Mammoth Police operations.
Sheriff Scholl explained his position on law enforcement in the Town of Mammoth. He said this:
As the Sheriff of Mono County I have not had any conversations with the Board of Supervisors or members of the Town Council in regards to the take over of law enforcement services for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
“In the past, when the media had several articles in the paper, on the radio and TV about the financial hardships the Town was facing I have been asked by more than one individual, what would happen if the Town were to go bankrupt? As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the County, it would be my responsibility to assume law enforcement duties if the Town was no longer capable of doing that. That being said, there has been no formal or informal discussions to address this issue.
“If the issue of contracting services for law enforcement for the Town of Mammoth Lakes were to present itself, that conversation would begin from the Town and would not emanate from the County and certainly not from the Sheriffs Department. I do have experience with the Mammoth Lakes Police Department as I worked for that agency from 1986 to 1997. In my opinion, the Mammoth Lakes Police Department is doing an excellent job and I am fully supportive of that organization.