The “Our View” of June 10 admonishes protesters to “start pushing officials at every level to make meaningful change. And that begins by talking to those elected officials, even if you do not agree with them.”
I have spoken numerous times through letters to the editor in this newspaper, written comments and personal testimony at Frederick County Council meetings, and group letters to County Executive Jan Gardner, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, the County Health Official Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, and County Council members about the lack of accountability and oversight of Sheriff Jenkins, specifically regarding his unilateral decision to enter agreements with ICE, rubber-stamped by the county executive.
Most recently, I have sent three Public Information Act requests to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center asking for specific actions taken to prevent COVID-19 in that facility. After three responses declining to provide the information unless I pay anywhere from $25 to $300, I received the simple answer that “there is no COVID-19 in the FCADC.” That’s wonderful news. Where is the Health Department report? “Trust but verify” – Ronald Reagan
Sheriff Jenkins has declared his jail the safest place for anyone to be during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet he provides no documentation. Worse, the county executive and council members shrug and gaze at the sky because — they say as one — “we have no jurisdiction over the sheriff.” Meanwhile, prisons and jails coast-to-coast report the public health menace of COVID-19 among detainees, staff, and law enforcement personnel.
Sheriff Jenkins acts with impunity. Not only must he be voted out in 2022 (if we can last that long); the very office of sheriff must be abolished statewide.