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Sheriff Michael Jackson: Still tough on unwitting accomplices

Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson, now running for county executive, appeared on WAMU-FM's Kojo Nnamdi Show on Friday. There he was asked once again about a topic still very much on the minds of county voters: his department's botched July 2008 raid on the home of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and wife Trinity Tomsic.

This much is clear: Jackson needs some new talking points. Watch the clip above, and try to figure out what makes his explanation quite so grating.

Perhaps it was how Jackson hides behind blanket support for sheriff's deputies who "put their lives on the line every day"? Or how he mentions the 32 pounds of drugs recovered in the raid without any acknowledgment that the Calvos had nothing to do with it. Or how he never actually mentions the Calvos' names -- referring only to "the homeowner." Or how he mentions a "court-ordered warrant" without mentioning that it didn't allow the type of "no-knock" raid that his deputies actually conducted. Or how he deflects blame from his own agency by pointing out that it was the county police who originally sought the warrant. Or how he doesn't express regret that the Calvos' home was raided, just that he's "sorry that two dogs were killed there." Or how he uses the passive voice -- and possibly the false plural -- in noting that "apologies have been made."

Probably all of those things, actually.

P. Kenneth Burns of the Maryland Politics Today blog weighed in earlier today at The Post's opinion blog. His take: "Yes, drugs were kept from hitting the streets in Prince George's County and a drug operation was busted that day. But police officers and sheriff's deputies have a responsibility not only to enforce the law but also to uphold the rights of the county's residents. Jackson fails to realize that ultimately, his deputies did not do a good job that day. The rights of Calvo and his household were not upheld."

Jackson, a straight-shooting ex-Marine, seems to figure that his hard-line stance backing his officers will lock down the law-and-order vote.

But is "tough on crime" the same as "tough on unwitting accomplices"?

Not if you ask county police officers, whose union has endorsed his opponent Rushern Baker. Jackson's own sheriff's deputies have endorsed him, The Post's Jonathan Mummolo reported in January, but by a "relatively narrow" margin.

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 2, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland , Michael Jackson , Prince George's County , Rushern Baker  
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It's not just the abuse but the incompetence.

In 2002 when Jackson became Sheriff, there was a warrant backlog of over 30,000. That was bad.

Unfortunately, it has gotten only worse. Today, there are 48,000 unserved warrants. That means that there are people who should be in jail victimizing our communities in Prince George's County.

Why would a man with that record ask for more responsibility?

Posted by: Hellmut | June 3, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Remember it was an undercover officer who delivered the marijuana to the house. It would have been better it the police followed the package to see who wound up with it rather than delivering drugs to someone’s home and then raiding the home to seize the drugs they delivered.

Posted by: josomoore | June 3, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing how you are reporting about this as if he were the one who accidentally shot the dogs when Baker purposely accepts $1 million in bribes and continues to look for more money!!!!! Prince George's County police were the ones who led the deputies there with drugs present!!!! Then you reference some blog as if they are credible, hilarious! Do some real reporting and pull campaign figures and voting records of bakers past as a delegate!

Posted by: BeanYPG | June 8, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

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