Is the Trinity County Board of Supervisors Complicit/Negligent in Dealing with Sheriff Haney?

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Letter to the EditorAs a 43 year tax paying property owner in Trinity County I have lived with the problems that those of us who live “down river” (as we are referred to in Weaverville) deal with, most notably the lack of a reliable law enforcement presence.

I was shocked to read the October 25, 2018 article in the Sacramento Bee: Mad over marijuana and money, this Northern California sheriff may have walked off the job – but is still being paid.   Board of Supervisors chair, Keith Groves is quoted as saying: “We looked at state law. He doesn’t sit under us, so we really don’t have any authority.” The article follows with: “Groves declined to say whether the county has sought help from the state Attorney General’s Office.”

After reading the article I wonder if the Trinity County Board of Supervisors could be considered legally complicit or at the least negligent in their duties in dealing with the sheriff.

And as for Bruce Haney? You consider yourself an honest Christian and a law abiding citizen representing Trinity County as our sheriff? Shame on you!

Katherine Bauer-Helwig

Burnt Ranch

Note: This letter was originally published in the Trinity Journal. The author sent the letter to us as well to thank us for sharing information from a Sac Bee article.



  • Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that the Sheriff- or the Board- has done anything illegal with the Sheriff being absent. It is so routine a perk with PERS employees that it would be strange if an employee did not do it.

    • Legal is one thing, moral is another.

      If he’s drawing the pay shouldn’t he be doing his job?

      If he’s burnt out he should just do the honorable thing and resign so an interim sheriff can be appointed.

    • It wasn’t a perc when I was a PERS employee. I was still expected to show up and do my job!!

    • Please post a reference to this perk of PERS employees, otherwise your opinion is suspect. As a PERS member I know of no paid leaves. In fact, if he’s getting PERS credit and not showing up, then there is an issue. It’s no like he’s absent for professional development, is it?

  • Felony theft under the color of law.

    • Somehow I doubt that doing something that is legal and violates no other law in the process can arbitrarily be called illegal. In fact “color of the law” protects the Sheriff, in this case as an employee, from calls to deprive him of his rights, not the other way around.

      There is only one way to take action legally and that’s to prove he did qualify for sick leave he took.

      • under the law appointmentises are supposed to hold themselves to a high ethical standard, which this clearly is not a high standard of ethics which makes it illeagle.

  • Must be okay then that Honsal has been, and is, double-dipping from the peoole’s public treasury, as Sheriff and Coroner? Because, well, it’s done in so many other CA INC counties. Psychology 101.

    Del Norte County doesn’t even come close to “The County of Humboldt” for corruption. That’s Our #1 spot!

    • First of all it was Downey and the board of supervisors that combined the sheriff’s office and coroners office and Downey worked long enough to get all of the money he possibly could before retiring so Honsal is not to blame for collecting pay for both jobs. Second an elected official only has to be in their office a limited amount of days and still get paid their full salary and earn full benefits too.

      • You are correct Mariahgirl. Thing is, the Dupes were never delegated authority to dump Any extra job on a Sheriff – or any other official for that matter.

        Surely you can see why combing Sheriff with Coroner is an extra-bad

    • I fought the law and....

      Maybe Honsal needed to take the position so they could keep brokering dead folks estate items to people at sheriffs office and courthouse like the last coroner. Its f’n stupid to have the head sheriff be the coroner. Guess they need to line their pockets now that they cant steal every growers stuff in humboldt&trinity.

      I dont think its legal for anyone to just walk off the job as a public employee and still get paid. Beyond that a county has to provide law enforcement esp when its in the budget.
      If somehow this all is legal, damn im thinking law enfircements looking good, ill work for a few weeks then walk off the job while getting paid with taxpayer money. And you all thought all those poor folk getting their 150 bucks a month for food were taking your money.

      • If they have vacation, sick leave or holiday time earned they can use that, so they still get paid and earn more time and they can also go out on medical leave with a doctor’s note and get state comp which is turned over to the county and the county uses that money it to buy back time and then the county issues the pay check.

  • The Sheriff doesn’t answer to the BOS, he answers to the People. If Haney was using his sick and/or vacation days to finish out his term, then all the power to him. If the sheriff’s department is still doing its job then there is no issue.

    • white cops on dope

      If you can be absent from your job for months and nobody notices then the position should be eliminated. As for his health issues: have them checked out by a real doctor and not some police union hack that will sign off on anything. Then put Mr Haney in jail.


  • It must be extremely frustrating to be trained and paid to do a job that you can’t really do because of all the red tape, and public pressure to turn a blind eye to some blatant illegal activities such as growing marijuana and now harboring illegal immigrants. I can understand how they could burn out. I see the frustration on the sheriff’s faces in garberville/Redway when their dealing with the same fucked up asholes (like Ronnie and Vern) over and over again, everyday.
    A lot of people don’t seem to understand the local police officers are just as frustrated with our court system as we are. It’s not the cops that let these people out of jail almost the minute they get booked in. But that is no excuse for just walking off the job.

    • Boo hoo, It’s too hard to enforce unjust laws because they already filled up all the prisons using those unjust laws. A normal person would be glad for the excuse to do real police work instead of trying to fight a phoney drug war.

      • So would expecting repeat offenders to actually be kept in jail for a period of time be considered unjust?

        • What you said doesn’t make sense, point is that he got hired to do a job, he is a servant of the people. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t like the mj laws or any other laws. Getting ‘burnt out’ doesn’t count as a good excuse for most people. What if the firefighters just feel burned out and walk off the job?
          Public employees, esp a head of law enforcement, should be held more accountable.
          Why do conservatives not flip out about their precious tax dollars flying away when it’s a situation like this, as opposed to tax dollars going to help the least of the community? Always makes me wonder, especially because they usually profess to be Christians.

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