Scandal at the jail? Not really!
Well, well, well.
Folks around the county are simply gaga over a YouTube posting demonstrating to all and sundry how terrible, TERRIBLE conditions are at the Osceola County Jail.
In fact, to listen to some of the messages received at the Osceola Edition office, the editor’s desk at the Big Rapids Pioneer, and to read some of the e-mails zipping around the county, things have just gotten out of hand at the jail and in the Sheriff’s Department as a whole.
The place is going to Hell, and leading the migration is Sheriff Jim Crawford and Undersheriff Justin Halladay.
Except ... it’s all a bunch of shinola.
Absolute crap, and folks are getting themselves all worked up about it for no reason.
Here’s the deal.
Somebody calling himself Moe Richards, (yeah, right!), placed a video on YouTube — a video that has since been removed, so don’t bother trying to find it at this late date.
The video was a lowbrow, sophomoric, and decidedly moronic offering created NOT by the Sheriff’s Department, but by a fraternal group that had access to some law enforcement facilities in Osceola and neighboring counties in order to create — believe it or not — a fundraising video.
The fraternal group, NOT the sheriff, undersheriff, or anyone else, (including the jail administrator), made the tape with the best of intentions, but not the best of thought or consideration.
I will be the first to admit, the tape is at best dumb and immature — VERY dumb and EXTREMELY immature.
But between being dumb and immature, and being held up as evidence that members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department in some way, shape, or form support or promote immoral behavior in their facility is simply misleading and untruthful.
It’s odd that the video in question even showed up on YouTube — for however short a stay.
It would be far better placed on Antiques Roadshow.
The thing is ancient.
It was produced some seven or eight years ago, and was first aired as an example of the sheriff’s lack of moral character in the 2005 election cycle.
There were people mass producing the video back then in hopes that folks would be so outraged they would vote against Crawford.
At least one former elected official even showed the video to anyone willing to watch — on county time, and on courthouse TVs.
It was a farce.
While Crawford and jail administrator Russ Wayne can be seen in a couple of shots at some point in the film, (which is a parody of some goofy country song), they didn’t organize or promote the video.
Members of the fraternal group did and they apologized for it WAY back when — in October or November of 2005!
Now, almost seven years later, somebody remembered the film, (having kept it tucked away in the closet for whatever odd reason), and trotted it out on YouTube to do whatever damage they could.
So here’s my answer to those who so excitedly left messages at the office or sent e-mails suggesting I take some kind of stand against the moral depravity at the Sheriff’s Department as demonstrated by this video.
Get over it, and get a life.
The YouTube video WAS NOT produced by the Sheriff’s Department and is not some kind of documentary production of a day-in-the-life of anyone in the Sheriff’s Department or at the County Jail.
The YouTube video is so old they needed a power washer to get the dust off before it could be aired.
The YouTube video was produced by a bunch of guys in serious need of lessons in good taste. It was not produced by anyone with, in, or of the OCSD.
While it was certainly stupid and infantile with its “pee-pee” and “pooh-pooh” humor, it is pretty hard to say that this video was more offensive than much of the stuff anyone can viewed on prime time TV at just about any hour of the day — including some of the so-called sitcoms produced by network television.
The YouTube video is not worth a front page expose or one second of airtime, and actually this column is pretty much a waste of time as well.
Still, members of the OCSD were treated so shabbily with the airing of this video on YouTube that I thought it the decent thing to do to come to their defense.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ...
There may well be things about which to criticize the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department. There may actually be what to say about the way they operate.
The right thing to do would be to come out openly and say “I don’t agree ...” or “This is not right ...”
The wrong thing to do, whether you are a dissatisfied citizen or a disgruntled employee, is to try and pull this kind of crap.
Sheriff Crawford and I have had our disagreements.
I’ve told him what I think. He’s told me what he thinks.
We have generally worked things out. We have occasionally agreed to disagree.
I just don’t think it’s right or fair to try and snipe away at a public servant such as the sheriff, or public employees such as the members of the OCSD by trotting out misleading, dishonest, mendacious, and cheap-shot stuff like this video.
There you have it. That’s what I think.