Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones declined Twin Rivers Unified School District's request for interim leadership for its school Police Department, saying he has little faith in the school trustees overseeing the police force.
Jones' comments Monday came after a strongly worded letter he wrote to Twin Rivers' outgoing legal counsel was obtained by The Bee.
In the letter, Jones said his decision against loaning leadership was based on the district board's "inability to maintain the integrity of personnel and other decisions, to the detriment of ongoing efforts."
Jones said this led to at least one instance in which the board significantly interfered in an administrative personnel investigation.
"Information that was supposed to stay confidential was let out and if you look at it in this perspective, that's what happened here," Jones said Monday. "Someone put out this letter purposefully . I never intended this letter to become public."
In Jones' letter, he characterized the district's school board as meddlesome and inconsistent. The letter, which The Bee obtained from a source, is addressed to attorney Paul Hamill and dated Nov. 1.
Jones said he remains committed to assisting the school district through the turmoil that has enveloped its Police Department for more than a year. Jones has previously declined to comment on Twin Rivers' police issues.
"Whether by dysfunction or design, your Board has been unable to take the difficult but necessary steps that are required for a much-needed reorganization of your School District Police Department," Jones wrote in the letter. "Chief among them is to empanel competent leadership whether temporary or permanent and simply trust that leadership to effectuate the type of decisions and change that by everyone's account is necessary."
Twin Rivers Unified was previously in discussions with the Sacramento Police Department about providing short-term leadership for the school police force. Those discussions have ended.
"It would have been nice to have some temporary leadership from the sheriff or the police, but if we don't have it, we don't have it," said trustee John Dexter.
Twin Rivers has been looking since September to replace its acting police chief and lieutenant, who both resigned after the school board overruled their decision to ax the district's K-9 program.
Those resignations prompted Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel to voice concerns about whether Twin Rivers should look at disbanding its school police force and contract out for policing needs.
The Sacramento Police Department is investigating Twin Rivers' police force for alleged criminal conduct, mismanagement and misconduct, stemming from allegations levied under the previous leadership of Chief Christopher Breck.
Twin Rivers Police Officer Branche Smith is scheduled to go on trial next year after he was charged in June with four misdemeanor counts of assaulting detainees while on duty.
Trustee Michael Baker said he feels confident in the direction the school police force is currently heading.
"With the recent changes in leadership, our police have done a great job with being more focused on on-campus student safety than off-campus patrolling," Baker said.
Trustee Bob Bastian said he is in the process of reaching out to Jones about concerns raised in the letter.
"We are in some difficult times, and we need to work together on this," Bastian said.
In the letter, Jones said he had not heard from school trustees, despite remaining open to discussing procedures or policies. On Monday, Jones said that since sending the letter, he has had a personal conversation with one board member.
Jones said he wants to be clear that he still is willing to help Twin Rivers' Police Department move forward.
"I know nothing about running a school district and they know equally as much about running a Police Department," Jones said.