Below, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office public-information officer Sgt. Spencer Crum addresses a set of questions posed this morning to SCSO about Sheriff Steve Freitas’ meeting with AG-designate Jeff Sessions.
BOHEMIAN: The Examiner story noted that the sheriffs who met with Sessions support him as the AG-designate and “back Sessions’ stance on immigration.” I did not see Mr. Freitas directly quoted in the article saying that so I am giving him the chance here to let our readers know whether he does support Sessions, and some clarity on what Mr. Freitas actually supports. For example, Sessions supports deportation of so-called Dreamers under DACA. What’s the Sheriff’s view on DACA?
SGT. CRUM: Sheriff Freitas believes in cooperating with our federal counterparts to keep communities safe. His viewpoints have widely been shared with the community and can be found on a video on the front page of our website. Sheriff Freitas has a policy that Sheriff Deputies cannot ask anyone about their immigration status and we do not assist ICE in immigration raids, based solely on immigration. If someone is committing crimes, we will do our best to enforce the law or assist any law enforcement agency.
BOHEMIAN: How did this meeting come about? Was Mr. Freitas invited to join the other Sheriffs at the request of Mr. Sessions? I’m curious about how this unfolded and who and what prompted a meeting of these six sheriffs.
SGT. CRUM: Sheriff Freitas will be back next week and can respond how the meeting with Sessions came about.
BOHEMIAN: What is Sheriff Freitas’ view of any state, city, or county-wide effort to enact policies that generally fall under the rubric of “sanctuary.” Does Mr. Freitas support any local, state or county efforts aimed at shielding or undocumented aliens from their potential interactions with ICE agents?
SGT. CRUM: directs to see answer to first question.
BOHEMIAN: What is Sheriff Freitas’ view of Mr. Sessions long-held anti-cannabis viewpoints? Does he share Mr. Sessions view that cannabis should continue to be outlawed at the federal level?
SGT. CRUM: Sheriff Freitas doesn’t answer to Sessions’ views. Sheriff Freitas’ opinion has always been that marijuana possession, cultivation, use, transportation and sales should be illegal. This has been widely publicized through the Proposition 64 campaign and hasn’t changed.
BOHEMIAN: Who paid for this trip to Washington, and if this was a taxpayer-funded trip, what was the total cost of the trip to meet with Sessions? Did any other members of SCSO also take this trip, and was the sheriff part of any meetings with the president himself during this trip?
SGT. CRUM: This is taxpayer funded trip. No other members of the Sheriff’s Department accompanied him. President Trump addressed the group, welcoming them and expressed his support of local law enforcement entities. Sheriff Freitas did not have any meetings with the President. Cost hasn’t been determined as he is still on the trip. We have no responsive records.
BOHEMIAN: Was there any notification or advance notice, a press release or any public announcement, from SCSO, that announced Mr. Freitas’ trip and visit with Mr. Sessions?
SGT. CRUM: No announcement was done ahead of time. Sheriff Freitas attends these conferences on a yearly basis.
BOHEMIAN: As elected Sheriff of Sonoma County, can the Sheriff provide a statement or comment that lays any of his specific concerns that may have arisen in the weeks since Trump took office, especially as those concerns might impact on LE in Sonoma County and/or in addressing issues where the county’s undocumented population intersects with law enforcement?
SGT. CRUM: directs to response to first question.
BOHEMIAN: Lastly and very generally, why did Sheriff Freitas meet with the AG-designate given that he hadn’t been confirmed at the time of the meeting?
SGT. CRUM: Sheriff Freitas met with Senator Sessions to discuss opportunities to keep our community safe and understand how local and federal agencies would best work together to achieve ultimate goal of community safety.