How do we justify using precious SBI resources to investigate the use of a copier by a county commissioner?
I have a friend that recently retired from the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. He worked in the cyber crimes division. I visited him one day while he had one of my employee’s computer trying to determine if a crime had taken place using that machine. Suspecting something on the hard drive he couldn’t get to, he called the SBI. An agent was dispatched. While I was there I asked some questions about their success. The answer I got from both of them was dismal. There’s just too much cyber crimes and too few law enforcement officers to make a difference. Both also explained that much of the crimes are originated from other countries or are routed through foreign computers. While possible to track, nobody has the resources to track down the criminals unless it is for major crimes. Unless there is massive amounts of money involved, their resources go to terrorism, murders, threats against high profile officials, you get the idea.
More recently I spoke to a high ranking officer with a local police department. I asked him about DNA testing and how it helps to catch criminals. He quickly responded that getting a DNA test done by the SBI took a minimum of 2 years and sometimes as long as 6 years. What about person sitting in jail waiting on a DNA test for years, then proven innocent? During that time the real suspect goes free. His response was that the SBI had cut back the funding to expand their labs.
There is a point to this other to bash the SBI and that is really not my issue. It is a great agency but with too few resources and that brings me around to the real point of this opinion post.
The SBI does arson investigations, computer crimes, and their labs provide support that law enforcement agencies across the state depend on.
My question is why use their resources to investigate a county commissioner for allegedly using a county copier for personal use? Tell me how investigating a copier misuse is more important than tracking down criminals that steal ten’s of thousands of dollars daily using computers and the internet? How is using a copier more important than hiring additional lab technicians to get DNA tests done in weeks, instead of years? Is investigating a copier misuse more important than investigating fires that may be bilking insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars or putting an family out in the street?
Several years back a county commissioner in Davidson County was charged for using a county employee for changing a toilet seat. A toilet seat, come on, the SBI was called in to investigate a county commissioner getting his toilet seat replaced. The commissioner was a former sheriff, a former SBI agent, the director of emergency management, in fact he spent almost all of his adult life serving the public.
He thought the accusation of getting a county employee to change his toilet seat was so ridiculous he turned down an offer from the DA’s office to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor and basically it would go away. He had his lawyer take it to trial where they convicted him of a felony. It was a minor infraction, something that I am sure has happened thousands of times in every city or county but this was a witch hunt to make a point. He frequently disagreed with the other commissioners over an important issue.
Replacing the toilet seat probably cost the county $20 or less. I am sure the sheriff’s department and the SBI expenses went into the thousands of dollars.
Here we go again, now in Rowan County.