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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sheriff Jackson's poor judgment

(Updated 10 Sep 2008)
Path of poor judgment.
Gazette, 4 Sep 2008 (Letter, Terrence Thomas).
Prince George's County gets another black eye because of the poor judgment and lack of leadership from an official in the county. This time it's Sheriff Michael Jackson. The sheriff's office had already made serious blunders last year. Earlier this year and just recently, [it] made another extremely dangerous debacle at the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights.

The sheriff's office late last year forcefully executed an arrest warrant on a suspect at the wrong house in Accokeek, resulting in shooting and killing the family's pet dog. Earlier this year they made entry in a motel room in Laurel, seeking a suspect wanted for shooting two other officers, resulting in a deputy sheriff being shot and almost killed. Just recently, a decision was made to conduct a drug raid at the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, resulting in the shooting and killing again of the family's pet dogs and turning up nothing but shame and humiliation for the department.

Leadership should be based on character and the ability to access situations, make good decisions and be accountable for their actions. The seriousness and continual poor judgment of officials should be just cause for a federal probe into civil rights violations. Taxpayers should not continue to pay county civil liability lawsuits because of poor decision making of key leaders we have entrusted to serve us with competence and integrity. This lack of leadership frightens me and leaves our beloved county questioning the merit of our leaders.

What's even more frightening is it's rumored that Jackson may be considering a run for the county executive office, which has more responsibilities and complicated decisions to be made on a daily basis. Surely Prince George's County cannot continue down this path. We deserve better.

Terrence Thomas, Upper Marlboro

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