Mono County Sheriff Rick Scholl faces a challenge at the ballot box in June. CHP Officer Doug Northington will try again
to beat Scholl. Northington has said he will bring leadership to Mono law enforcement. Both candidates answered questions at the recent Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce forum.
The two men came up with different answers on the question of 24-hour law enforcement coverage in Mono. Sheriff Scholl said that the county is quiet after 2am, He said he looked at the statistics, public demands and budget restrictions. With an average of four calls per month between 2am and 6am, he said he can’t justify more coverage. Scholl said the on-call record is pretty good and that he is negotiating on this issue.
Northington said he believes the Mono Sheriff’s Office needs a valid system. If not 24-hour, then on-call. Northington pointed out that deputies now live in Inyo County and Nevada. They can’t be on-call for Mono. This, he said, places an extra burden on those who have chosen to reside in Mono. “Serious consideration,” said Northing, “needs to be given to a fair on-call system. This is just not Mayberry anymore.”
On building a new jail in the future, Northington said there needs to be a lot of community input on where and if. Sheriff Scholl said a jail needs assessment is underway, but in terms of funding he said he doesn’t think Mono will build in the near term. Sheriff Scholl said new laws have jail crowding under control.
What does he mean by Community policing? Sheriff Scholl said this is his core value. “The community and law enforcement working together.” He said officers have to get out of their cars, go into businesses, talk to people. “This helps reduce crime,” he said.
What did he mean by “Right is right and wrong is wrong”? Northington said he spoke of favoritism and allegations of cover-ups in Mono Sheriff’s Department. “The bottom line,” he said, “when you break the law, regardless of who you are, you go to court. Law enforcement should not make a political decision. “This breeds mistrust,” he said.
Sheriff Scholl said the job of law enforcement is about common sense. “Use it,” he said. “That’s what the job is about. It’s about people. If we look at the law as black and white, it’s flawed. It’s not based on politics. It’s the realities of life.”