by Travis Mateer
If we’re going to continue utilizing a hiearchal approach to managing our institutions and branches of government, a better range of choices when it comes to leadership sure would be nice.
While we’re being told the Mayoral leader of Zoom Town is handling pancreatic cancer treatment just fine, the young African immigrant who challenged him last election cycle got issued a no-contact order last month with the woman he has a baby with.
Even though the choices were shitty, at least there was an option for Mayor besides John Engen. That’s not the case with the Sheriff’s Office this election cycle.
Before we get to the problems, let’s first take a look at the role of the Sheriff. Here’s something from Wikipedia:
In the United States, a sheriff is an official in a county or independent city responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. Unlike most officials in law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected, although some states have laws requiring certain law enforcement qualifications of candidates. Elected sheriffs are accountable directly to the citizens of their county, the constitution of their state, and ultimately the United States Constitution.
The responsibilities of sheriffs and their agencies vary considerably by county. Many sheriffs have the role of a police chief, though some lead agencies with limited law enforcement duties. Sheriffs are also often responsible for managing county jails and security at local government buildings.
Yes, the role of the Sheriff often extends to things like managing jails and providing coroner services. It’s a VERY important position, as people learned during the plandemic.
Before Missoula elected T.J. McDermott, our Sheriff was Carl Ibsen, and the most impressive thing about this man was his mustache. I mean, just look at this manly epitome of law enforcement:
While Ibsen looks good in this pic, he looked LESS good in this article about how he conducted himself during his tenure. From the link:
On the first day of a sparsely-attended session, now-retired Sheriff Carl Ibsen testified on behalf of his former Undersheriff, Josh Clark. Counsel for the County of Missoula, Steve Carey, asked Ibsen about a domestic violence case regarding former Deputy Paige Pavalone in 2014.
Ibsen testified that a friend of Pavalone’s had called him regarding the incident, and that he responded to the residence ‘only as a friend, not a cop’. Carey then probed Ibsen about a report that was published in the Missoulian newspaper from the Department of Criminal Investigations at the Montana Department of Justice by investigator Brant Light, that was critical of Ibsen’s behavior in the matter, calling it ‘egregious’. Ibsen said no one even attempted to contact him about the investigation.
“One of the things we do as cops is we investigate everything,” Ibsen said. “Doesn’t matter if you want to talk to the people involved or not, you talk to everybody. By the wording of the letter (from the AG’s office) I would assume I was a prime player in it. I was maybe even the prime focus of it. Nobody from the Attorney General’s office or the investigators even talked to me. Nobody tried to get hold of me, and I’m not that hard to find.”
The emphasized quote from Sheriff Ibsen seems like common sense when it comes to law enforcement, but that was before I became familiar with Mike Toth, the utterly worthless Sheriff of Mineral County.
When leaders aren’t modeling good behavior, it’s easy for morale to suffer. And if leaders aren’t dedicated to ensuring their subordinates are good people doing honest work, then the opposite might happen.
One of my sources, who is pretty damn familiar with the Sheriff’s Department, told me about a Deputy he was familiar with. After getting the name, I looked up the incident that got him fired. Here’s the Missoulian story detailing the lengths Missoula County Sheriff Deputy, Larry Schwindt, went to in order to have sexual contact with a 17 year old boy.
Larry Schwindt was fired from the department in January during an investigation into a complaint that he had engaged in an inappropriate and possibly unlawful relationship with a 17-year-old minor.
Schwindt’s plea Tuesday in Missoula Justice Court before John Odlin was based on events that led up to and ensued from a sexual encounter he had with a 17-year-old male in a parking lot in Alberton in the spring of 2012, according to court records.
Schwindt pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and one count of attempted unlawful transactions with children, first offense. Both are misdemeanors.
A third charge of high misdemeanor prostitution was dismissed. It was based on Schwindt’s admitted use of a digital alter ego on Craigslist, “Sarah Richardson,” to initially engage the boy.
This incident was adjudicated around the same time Missoula transitioned from Ibsen’s leadership to McDermott’s. For some more context on the supposed bonafides of T.J. McDermott, here’s some info from the County website:
T.J. McDermott began his law enforcement career with the Anaconda Police Department in 1995. In 1998, he joined the Missoula City Police Department. While assigned to the uniform patrol division, he was selected to be a member of ‘Target Enforcement Unit’, today known as the ‘Street Crimes Unit’, and worked proactively to identify and apprehend subjects with gang affiliation or membership who were involved in street crime activity. He also served as a Field Training Officer (FTO) with the police department’s Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP) for new recruits.
In 2003, became a deputy with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office. In 2006, he was selected as a detective and was assigned to both the Burglary Theft Division and Person Crimes Division, where he became a key member of the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
In 2011, T.J. McDermott was selected by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) as one of the nation’s ‘Top Cops’ for his work on a ‘Cold Case’ homicide. He traveled to Washington D.C. and met with President Obama along with other ‘Top Cops’ during the awards ceremony.
The highlights that pique my interest include gang activity, crimes against children, and going to Washington D.C. to meet Obama.
If you think shitty Sheriffs have a negative impact on the county in which you reside, here’s a slightly positive thought: there’s only 4 more months left to endure the current “leadership” of T.J. McDermott and Mike Toth. And, if you live in Mineral County, you actually HAVE A CHOICE!
Thanks for reading, and have a safe weekend!