OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Live from the Sheriff’s Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 5, 2018

We are live from the Orange County Sheriff’s debate because (cue bad joke) there’s a new sheriff in town at the beginning of the year since Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has announced her retirement at the end of her term. 2 of the candidates running in the June primary to replace her are here tonight: Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) and Retired Sergeant/Mayor David Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo). Detective/Senior Investigator Duke Nguyen (D-North Tustin) is not present. The debate is sponsored by Orange County Gun Owners PAC at JT Schmid’s in Anaheim.

6:45 PM: The debate begins as the moderator notes that both candidates served honorably in the Sheriff’s Department. Questions will be asked by Orange County Gun Owners Board Members. The moderator jokes the tough questions will begin with asking for favorite ice cream favors. He then asks for opening statements.

Don Barnes notes he is the second in command at the OCSD. He is the only candidate with law enforcement management. He has been with OCSD for 30 years.

Dave Harrington spent 29 years in the OCSD as a “street cop.” He says he had to make decisions quickly and not follow bureaucratic procedures.

The first question is how did each arrive at his position on CCWs, and does he favor increased CCWs.

Barnes signed a declaration on “good cause” in 2012. After Peruta, he helped issue thousands of CCWs. There are now 14,000 CCWs in OC, the most of any County. He has made CCW processing more streamlined and efficient. He says the declaration was correct in 2012 but is now out of date. He is proud of the increased CCWs since Peruta.

Harrington says he has held his position as a constitutional conservative since the age of 16. He says Barnes attacked the 2nd Amendment in 2012 and that constitutional rights are not subject to data. He says he does not blow with the wind on constitutional rights. He says he does not waffle or pander. He says it is foundational. He tells the story of getting a liberal Democrat to support him.

Barnes, in rebuttal, notes a lot of sheriffs did not change since 2012. He says it is a test of character to admit something was wrong and he is not going to reverse course.

6:55 PM: The next question is about disarming faculty on campus.

Harrington notes 500 armed cops protected actors and actresses at the Academy Awards. He says any school staff member, faculty or not, should be able to carry on campus. He says school campuses should be hardened. He notes someone could have driven a car onto his children’s campus and harmed 100 of them. He noted first contact with an armed person ends most shootings. He asks what would have happened if the football coach in Parkland could have had his gun.

Barnes says students should be taught what to do in an active shooter incident. Fire drills have ensured students no longer die in school fires. He is sponsoring legislation to have active shooter drills in school. He wants to educate kids as to what to do. He has helped seize guns from students. He is concerned about arming staff at will because law enforcement might shoot armed staff incorrectly thinking they’re the active shooter. He wants to increase School Resource Officers from law enforcement.

Harrington, in rebuttal, says he taught active shooter drills in Yorba Linda churches and private schools, which got the public school district to institute the training locally.

Barnes, in rebuttal, says OCSD has been doing active shooter drills before and after Harrington. The legislation would require all schools, including very liberal ones, to participate.

7:02 PM: The next question is about school safety.

Barnes notes Saddleback Valley Unified School District has been resistant to active shooter drills. Once he got them to agree, they found the drills taught the schools a lot, as they made a number of mistakes before the drills. He discusses adding School Resource Officers.

Harrington says active shooter drills can be mandated by local school districts. He calls on public engagement to persuade parents to pressure their school boards to implement drills. He calls for hardening campuses to keep shooters from getting on to campus.

7:06 PM: The next question is about non-security prevention options.

Barnes says OC is the only county in the State with a center that identifies threats. They also have a mobile assessment theme. He says schools do not have uniform training and prevention like law enforcement does. He notes he successfully persuaded a reluctant Saddleback Valley Unified School District to come on board. He says uniform response protocols on active shooters will help save lives, like fire drills and earthquake drills have.

Harrington was a Gang Reduction Intervention Prevention (GRIP) officer. He says GRIP could have identified the Parkland shooter. He calls on teachers identifying at-risk youth and working with law enforcement to steer them to programs.

7:10 PM: The next question is who should be encouraged to apply for CCWs and what would be an acceptable good cause statement.

Harrington says he would encourage everyone to apply. He notes even realtors have risk. He says exercising rights protect rights. He notes they are exercising their First Amendment rights tonight, so the Second Amendment needs to be exercised.

Barnes said half of the people he spoke to at a gun show had no idea that OC issues CCWs. He says OC is as close to shall-issue as California law allows. He says 95% of CCW applications are approved in OC. He notes the 5% are disqualifying everywhere, such as felony backgrounds or mental illness. He says good cause is part of California law. OC is issuing 400 new CCWs per month. He says Sheriff’s deputies will help applicants find a good cause statement. He supports issuing 5-year CCWs.

7:16 PM: The next question asks what is a good cause statement for a faculty member and about national CCW reciprocity.

Barnes is opposed because he feels training needs to be completed and needs to meet the same standards. He says CCW civilians in OC are treated like off-duty peace officers. He says he does not know what the protocols are in other states. He wants everyone to get home safely. If the same standards are applied nationally, then he would support national CCW reciprocity.

Harrington says law enforcement has national reciprocity. He notes every state has different standards, but other states have strong shooting records. He notes this is a constitutional right, and just because people shoot at different levels they shouldn’t lose their right. He notes there are cops who shoot at different levels and some are squirrelly. He says government should not govern rights but instead secure rights.

Barnes, in rebuttal, says issuing 14,000 CCWs is not anti-Second Amendment. He says in a room full of people, it would be a major problem if untrained people started shooting.

7:22 PM: The next question is about the California assault weapons ban.

Barnes says he is in favor of overturning the ban. He says people should be able to own assault rifles. He notes there are not problems in Nevada, Arizona, and other states without bans. He says it is a sad state of affairs that Sacramento is taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Harrington agrees. He says kids are overprescribed pharmaceutical drugs. He is concerned that drugs cause some kids to do squirrelly things, and it is commen sense that they should not have access to guns after due process.

Barnes says any person who already owns a gun should not need another 10-day waiting period to get additional guns. He says communist countries restrict guns.

7:26 PM: The next question is about raising the gun purchasing age to 21.

Harrington says having the ability to vote should allow an 18-year-old to seek a gun like any other adult. He notes very few active shooters are inside the 18-21 age range.

Barnes says if someone is old enough to serve in the military, they’re old enough to own a gun. He notes parents should be able to train their children how to shoot at any age. He trained his own daughter at a young age to handle a gun.

7:28 PM: The next question is about 10-round magazine limits.

Barnes opposes the limits and notes that criminals likely have more rounds than the limit would.

Harrington agrees with Barnes on magazine limits. He then calls for a ban on violent video games.

7:30 PM: The moderator asks about party and ideology. Both state they are conservative Republicans.

The moderator the asks how they will win votes from liberal Democrats in the race for Sheriff.

Harrington says standing up for your beliefs honestly earns the respect of voters.

Barnes notes the Sheriff is a nonpartisan office. He will work with anyone of any stripe to make OC safer. He notes how he worked with Congressmembers Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) to get over $1 million in anti-terrorism funding. He notes working with Democrats is necessary to win votes on state legislation.

The moderator asks if Harrington is concerned about alienating others.

Harrington compares working across the aisle to Chad Mayes. He opposes working across the aisle and wants to fight for his beliefs. He says people know when you are on the correct side. He notes placing and passing the anti-sanctuary state effort in Aliso Viejo.

Barnes notes he fought SB 54 (sanctuary state) in Sacramento. He spoke to both US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. He sought loopholes on SB 54 and made inmate release dates public. While Becerra threatened to arrest the Sheriff, Governor Jerry Brown said OC was following the law.

7:38 PM: The moderator asks about CCWs from out of state.

Barnes says training done in OC guarantees safety. Someone following a different standard might be mistaken for a criminal in OC.

7:39 PM: The next question asked is if either candidate would hire the other.

Barnes says Harrington is retired but would be evaluated if he sought to return to the OCSD.

Harrington says he would keep Barnes for a one-month transition period. Harrington says he would not return except as Sheriff or not at all.

7:41 PM: The next question asked is if a CCW-holder is involved in a shooting that appears to be improper and how each would respond to the media.

Barnes would argue that Jerry Brown put tens of thousands of murders back on the street, and no one talks about that. He complains that the media bias causes them to always calls the OCSD to ask if the latest shooter had a CCW. He would do a proper investigation and simply follow the facts.

Harrington says the OCSD should not issue no-comment. He says comment in general on how CCW training is done in a positive light, and give statistics about the number of CCW holders who have not acted poorly.

Barnes notes responding in 30 minutes is an act of inexperience. He says first reports are almost always wrong. The truth is only uncovered after lengthy investigation.

Harrington says he would not talk about the actual incident but rather the positives of the CCW program instead.

7:46 PM: The next question is about the effect of clearing the homeless from the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Barnes says it has already been done. He blames Prop 47 and Prop 57. He notes homelessness has soared statewide. He calls on acting methodically while following case law which prevents criminalizing the homeless because they “have to be somewhere,” quoting case law. He says every homeless veteran has been connected to services. He says they cited 500 homeless for other crimes, but Prop 47 prevented keeping them in jail. They went to federal court where Judge David Carter called the OCSD a national model. He says there must be more shelter beds in order to win the federal court case.

Harrington says court cases don’t confront him as a street cop. He blasted the waste left behind on the Santa Ana Riverbed. He calls this a failure of leadership. He says the Sheriff should have seized control of the riverbed and done OCSD’s job 7 years ago. He says, “bureaucrats hide behind case law.” He says the law only requires the availability of resources.

Barnes says Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach have had increases, just like everywhere else in OC. He says it’s not just a riverbed problem. He says Sacramento legislation has caused this by releasing inmates. Barnes says the Harrington approach would have been slapped with injunctions by the federal court. He says Anaheim and Orange forced the homeless onto the riverbed to make it a County problem instead of a City problem.

Harrington says the County failed by not spending $185 million. He says Santa Ana failed to enforce the law. He says he researched the law and understands it, so he would not have been enjoined by the federal court.

7:56 PM: The next question asks for a pledge on gun issues.

Barnes says he would not reverse the gun-friendly policies he has helped implement.

Harrington says he would use the bully pulpit of the Sheriff’s Department to fight for gun rights.

8:00 PM: An audience member asks about fighting gangs in Orange County.

Harrington says GRIP is an early intervention program to prevent gang membership. He calls for an ounce of prevention being worth seven pounds of cure. He says law enforcement cannot just arrest gang members, they must also prevent youth from joining gangs in the first place.

Barnes agrees with Harrington. He notes the OCSD has numerous early intervention programs. He says the federal government must secure the border. He says there is a demand for drugs which means the cartels will supply. He wants to fight drug demand such as opioid addiction. Fighting drug demand reduces cartels’ supply efforts.

8:03 PM: Another audience member asks what is the biggest issue the next Sheriff faces and what they will do about it.

Barnes says hiring, retention, and budget is the biggest issue. He says retention is through the roof. It costs $130,000 to hire a new deputy. $14 million will be saved over the next six years from retaining deputies. He says OC has the lowest property tax allocation of any County. He speaks of cutting spending without cutting services.

Harrington says Sacramento legislation is the biggest issue. He calls for fighting legislation before it passes. He refers to sanctuary state, Prop 47, and Prop 57. He says these programs cost more than any budgetary issue. He blasts the escape of three inmates that cost $10.9 million. He says no one railed against Prop 47 and Prop 57. He says railing against a measure is not standing at a press conference with one camera but standing in front of 200 people at a City Council meeting.

Barnes debated Senator Bob Hertzberg on Prop 57. He fought the sanctuary state legislation in legislative committee hearings before it was passed. He said there were legislators who stated they would rather send Donald Trump a message even if it hurt California residents.

8:09 PM: The third and final audience question asks if a group of CCW holders would be permitted to patrol schools.

Harrington says he would consider it and would consider anything. He says his children’s school is unprotected, as is every school in his city.

Barnes says if there are protocols in place and the people are known to law enforcement with clear protocols in place, he would support it. He would not want law enforcement to misidentify them in an active shooter situation, so protocols would protect them.

8:12 PM: The moderator asks that each candidate give an unapologetic and forceful defense of the 2nd Amendment in Sacramento and in local cities. He calls on training people unfamiliar with guns. He urges the Sheriff whoever it is to only endorse candidates for office who support the 2nd Amendment. He then makes a pitch for audience members to join Orange County Gun Owners PAC.

8:14 PM: The moderator adjourns the debate.

One Response to “Live from the Sheriff’s Debate”

  1. Robyn Nordell said

    Appreciate all the details, Chris!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s