It is proverbial that Al Capone was never convicted for being a murderous rum-running gangster. They got him for tax evasion. Justice does not have to be poetic.

Al Capone mugshot

The same idea can be applied to StoneGarden. Let's look at it from a different angle. Let's focus on the fact that Napier is lying. Even if he were lying about a policy everybody supported, it would be scandalous to have the county's chief law enforcement officer lying so blatantly. He's telling the same lies as he told last year, because he wants to use StoneGarden money to pay for routine policing, even though this is not allowed under federal law. Historically the feds have not exercised very strict oversight over StoneGarden money, but that doesn't make it OK to misappropriate the funds.

a) We know he's lying, because he tells one story to the feds and another story to everybody else. He's on record telling local civic groups -- and telling the BoS -- that he needs the money so he can provide routine policing to outlying areas. In contrast, he has to certify to the feds that he's not doing that.

b) Here's another way we know he's lying: Because of his mismanagement, the department is so understaffed that officers are being burdened with compulsory overtime. In such a situation, it is madness to sign up for an operation that will require more overtime. This makes people miserable, and will exacerbate the already-bad turnover problem. StoneGarden makes budget problems worse, because it doesn't cover all expenses associated with the operation. Also, when people are overworked, it impairs their judgment, and we cannot afford to have people with guns serving in high-stress situations with impaired judgment. To summarize: Lawful StoneGarden activities under these conditions would management malpractice on an epic scale. The only way StoneGarden makes sense is if the sheriff plans to divert the money in violation of law.

It's not at all clear he can get away with this. People are on to him.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, the whole point of having a sheriff's department is to uphold the law. This requires trust and cooperation from the populace. To a deputy in the field, trust and cooperation are more important than a radio and a gun. The same is true when they're not in the field: I was involved in a court case where the main witness was a cop, and the jury would not convict, because they assumed that cops always lie about everything. What's the point of having cops if juries won't believe them?

As a related point, think about what this does to recruiting and retention. Any decent officer would be offended by being required to lie about why traffic stops are being made, and to lie about work-hours, activities, and budgets. Do you really want people running around with guns, representing and embodying the authority of the government, who are OK with routine lying?

Please, please, please: Tell Napier to stop the lying.

Rafael Perez mugshot