Sparked by the public release of information on the Deputy Jon Madrid arbitration, a number of former deputies and others have talked about a memo that was issued by former Sheriff Rick Scholl. Officers have described the memo as “discouraging enforcement efforts.” Many of them felt that they were not supposed to be proactive. Some said they were told not to write tickets. Former Sheriff Scholl said he believes some officers misunderstood his directive and philosophies.
Former Mono County Sheriff’s Sergeant Craig Nelson said that the memo itself “was not particularly damaging. It was how it was implemented,” he said. He said it came across as ordering no more traffic stops. Nelson said he was ordered to do no bar checks at Tom’s Place and Rhino’s. He said administration did discourage the writing of tickets. Other sources said there was no clear directive on what officers were supposed to do. They said there was discouragement to engage in proactive enforcement from the top but opposite instructions from direct supervisors.
When asked about this, current Sheriff Ralph Obenberger said, “We are not aware of any memo that was directing employees to ‘not write tickets.'” Former Sergeant Nelson said Lieutenant Dave O’Hara made one officer sit in a chair for writing tickets. Sheriff Obenberger said he had never seen anyone “placed into a fixed post for writing too many tickets in my tenure with the agency, nor would I condone it,” he said.
Retired Sheriff Scholl did respond to our email and said he wanted to send us a copy of his directive distributed to the troops, but de said he no longer has that document. Scholl said he sent it to news media. We could not find such a document in our email files. Scholl indicated he was not discouraging deputies to enforce the law.