Supervisor Kevin Jeffries Defends Actions of Sheriff Bianco saying, ‘the elected Sheriff does NOT report to nor receive direction from the Board of Supervisors’

RIVERSIDE — To the dismay of some Democratic leaders, Riverside County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries defends Sheriff Chad Bianco for not enforcing a stay-at-home order in Riverside County.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries Defends Sheriff Bianco

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries

In an email to Democrats of the Desert Board of Directors & Palm Desert Greens Democratic Club Board of Directors. Jeffries wrote, “As you already know, the County Sheriff is directly elected and accountable to ALL the voters of Riverside County. And as you acknowledge, the elected Sheriff does NOT report to nor receive direction from the Board of Supervisors.”

Jeffries said, however, “They remain accountable to the citizens – the voters – not the Board of Supervisors.”

Earlier this month, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released a video criticizing Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying that the department won’t be “blackmailed” into enforcing the stay-at-home orders.  On Dec. 3, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in an attempt to slow the escalation in the rate of spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The two Democratic groups sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors saying that Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is “arrogant, non-compliant and negligent,” In the letter, the Democratic groups implore supervisors to censure Bianco.

“The Board has very limited involvement with the Sheriff’s Department, and is mostly limited to budget decisions,” Jeffries wrote. “Regarding enforcement, the Sheriff also does NOT typically have the jurisdiction within city boundaries to enforce or not enforce (unless a given city contracts with the Sheriff for such specific services), therefore local cities can choose to enforce COVID health restrictions with their own law enforcement or code enforcement employees.”

However, Jeffries stated, please know the state has roughly five state agencies with enforcement officers/agents working in Riverside County on these issues.

Jeffries also said “numerous Sheriffs in the State (including in Los Angeles County) have made similar (but certainly less strident) statements.”

The two Democratic groups also requested that the Board undertake a review of the Sheriff’s Departmental budget with an eye toward budgetary reductions/restrictions should the Sheriff continue to defy State orders and thereby jeopardize State funding to the County, the letter states.

“I do not believe the State would have any legal authority or cause to attempt to withhold funds from the citizens of Riverside County,” Jeffries wrote. “One could argue a precedent was set by the State having legally challenged the Trump Administration when it sought to withhold funding to the State of California.

Dori Smith, president of Democrats of the Desert, told Uken Report, “Supervisor Jeffries’ response is disappointing. Clearly, Jeffries wants other departments to take all the responsibility for enforcement.  He and other supervisors, as far as I know, have been silent about Sheriff Bianco’s defiant statements.  Their silence means tacit acceptance in him continuing to flout the Governor’s orders.  We know very well that Sheriff Bianco fills an elected office and will never forget his irresponsible behavior when the 2022 election rolls around.  Another point:  the Supervisors could constrain him when it comes to his budget rather than rubber stamping increases he requests.

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