NBC “hit job” questions military-style training

Sarah Wallace attended college in the leftist hotbed of Berkeley, California, at a time of protest against the war in Vietnam.  She started her career in West Coast radio back during the era of “Governor Moonbeam” (AKA Jerry Brown).  She’s now out of New York City, where she pursues a relentlessly anti-law enforcement, anti-Republican, anti-Trump agenda. 

Berkeley hates the military and has consistently protested against military recruitment on campus – most recently in 2007.  So it comes as no surprise that Sarah Wallace looks down on traditional military training methods embodied in what is known as “boot camp”. 

Wallace has inserted herself into the race between Republican Sheriff Mike Strada and Jail Guard Andy Boden – acting as a kind of media consultant to the Boden campaign.  Wallace’s husband is, in fact, a Democrat and media consultant (more on this later). 

From her New York City offices at NBC, Wallace is attempting to choose the next Sheriff of Sussex County.  Her beef with Strada?  Sarah Wallace is pro-Sanctuary State, pro-abortion, and anti-Second Amendment.  Mike Strada opposes Governor Murphy’s Sanctuary State scheme, is pro-life, and pro-Second Amendment. 

Sarah Wallace is a Bergen County Democrat.  She is what’s called a “hard” Democrat – totally loyal to her party, never missing an election, always supporting whatever Clinton or Murphy that appears on the ballot.  And she is proud of it.

Complicating matters is Sheriff Strada’s central role in opposing Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s Sanctuary State scheme.  In the past, Sarah Wallace has done interviews that were very favorable to illegals and against members of law enforcement.  In fact, Sarah Wallace is currently being sued by a police officer for her conduct and behavior.

Last November, a New York judge accused someone championed by Sarah Wallace – named Manny Gomez – of “coercing a witness to a gang slaying not to testify.”  According to the New York Daily News (November 3, 2018), police have suggested that Sarah Wallace and Manny Gomez have “an apparent relationship” and that Wallace does stories that favor Gomez. 

Given Wallace’s political and ideological biases, we were surprised when we learned that NBC chose her to do a segment on the primary campaign between Sheriff Mike Strada and opponent Andy Boden.  NBC and Sarah Wallace appear to have coordinated the attack on Sheriff Strada with Andy Boden and his campaign.  

A week before the Wallace attack aired on NBC, Boden himself bragged to local Sussex County media that the interview was going to be a “hit job” on Sheriff Strada.  And Wallace herself appears to have promoted her “hit job” to leftist blogs who oppose Republican Sheriff Strada over the Sanctuary State issue.

The coordination was so severe, that members of Boden’s campaign were promoting Wallace’s follow-up “hit job” in advance of it even being hinted at by NBC.  Some observers have suggested that this constitutes an illegal corporate campaign contribution by NBC on behalf of Andy Boden.

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Wallace’s political and ideological agenda aside, and her manipulation of people on both sides of this race, this might come down to a simple case of a military culture vs. a union culture.  As anyone who has been through basic training knows, military culture is harsh and purposely demeaning – seeking to tear down a recruit in order to build him or her back up.

The culture in a labor union is more protective and coddling.  There is nothing especially wrong in this, but it does present a different perspective.  A real journalist, someone tuned in to more than fashion statements, might have written about this difference in perspective.  But that would be way beyond the blow-dried world that Sarah Wallace inhabits.

Police departments and Sheriff’s offices are para-military organizations, with the military and union cultures existing uneasily, side by side.  First rate military powers – like America, Russia, and China – do not have unionized armed forces.  Unions are only found in the armed forces of places like the Netherlands – whose plan of defense is essentially a telephone call to whomever is invading and the words “We Surrender” in the appropriate language.  That or getting America to defend them and American taxpayers to pay for it. 

Yes, in the American military there is no equivalent to the Dutch AFMP – the General Federation of Military Personnel.  Of course, the para-military police and sheriffs are unionized, which often makes for a clash of cultures.  Some leaders in law enforcement seek to impose military-style training and discipline, while others look on their organizations as unionized workers (except that they carry guns, have badges, and have power over civilians). 

And just to remind everyone of what military training and discipline is like, we turn you over to Gunny Hartmann…

Is this demeaning?  Is it the end of the world?  Or have Americans become a bunch of snowflakes?  If so, we shouldn’t look forward to tangling with North Korea, let alone Russia or China.  War aint beanbag.

There is a choice to be made here.  Do we want the people to whom we hand guns and badges to be informed by a disciplined, military outlook?  Or do we want them to merely be civilians with guns and badges?  Can we reach a happy medium?

So far as the complaints of individual employees go.  This is why Sussex County needs an Ethics Committee – a real committee, not one made up of hand-picked insiders.  The last Freeholder Board failed to create such a committee.  Jonathan Rose promised, but failed to deliver.  That’s a pity.

Employees – whether PBA, FOP, CWA, or anyone else – should be able to report problems and they need to be taken seriously.  In the same way that the Office of the Inspector General works in the military.  So let’s resolve to ask the Freeholder Board to take action on this soon.  Form an Ethics Committee, so these issues don’t need to be fought out in a political campaign – with bottom feeders like Sarah Wallace using one and all for her own political and ideological purposes.

NBC lies in "hit job" by Bergen Democrat

Sarah Wallace is a Bergen County Democrat.  She is what’s called a “hard” Democrat – totally loyal to her party, never missing an election, always supporting whatever Clinton or Murphy that appears on the ballot.  And she is proud of it.

Given the public information available about her, we were surprised when we learned that NBC – the parent company of Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC – chose her to do a segment on the primary campaign between Sheriff Mike Strada and Jail Guard Andy Boden.  Especially as Boden had previously bragged to a member of the local, Sussex County media, that the interview was going to be a “hit job” on Sheriff Strada.

Further complicating matters is Sheriff Strada’s central role in opposing Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s Sanctuary State scheme.  In the past, Sarah Wallace has done interviews that were very favorable to illegals and against members of law enforcement.  In fact, Sarah Wallace is currently being sued by a police officer for her conduct and behavior.  

Last November, a New York judge accused someone championed by Sarah Wallace – named Manny Gomez – of “coercing a witness to a gang slaying not to testify.” According to the New York Daily News (November 3, 2018), police have suggested that Sarah Wallace and Manny Gomez have “an apparent relationship” and that Wallace does stories that favor Gomez.  

Why did Boden go to Wallace, a Democrat, and why was he so sure she would do a “hit job” for him on Sheriff Strada?

In any case, the resulting story did more to harm Andy Boden than it did to help him.  On camera, Boden was induced by Wallace to lie about two important aspects of his story.

The first is that his psychological examination was the result of him picking up petitions to run for office.  The County Clerk, Jeff Parrott, disputes Boden’s contention that he came to his office to obtain the nominating petitions.  It appears that Andy Boden is lying about this and that he lied in testimony given at his fitness hearing.  As this statement by his attorney shows:

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According to the County Clerk and his office, Boden did not come into the office to pick up the nominating petitions – he accessed them on line, so that nobody could have known that he was running.

In fact, Boden’s psychological evaluation came after a series of incidents including some that left female employees intimidated and fearful of having him over them.  After a police psychologist found him “unfit for duty” and he was placed on leave, Boden went to Sheriff Strada and asked him to restore him to duty – which meant giving him back his power over people, a firearm, handcuffs, and badge.  The Sheriff’s office told Boden that he needed to get well first and re-evaluated by a mental health professional, before he could be re-instated. 

Boden’s claim that he was ruled “unfit for duty” because he was running for office, repeated again in the Wallace interview, is clearly a lie.  The public testimony of the police psychologist who ruled Boden “unfit for duty” makes it very clear that Boden is not being honest:

 

 A.     The whole point of the

fitness-for-duty evaluation in many cases is to

avoid things getting to that point.  We are --

you know, as the IACP, we're looking for

conditions that are going to impact someone's

ability to safely and effectively do their work.

We want to keep that environment safe.  We also

want to treat people compassionately.  And if we

see that someone is under duress, to try to

intervene and help them.

 

            Fitness-for-duty evaluations are

often seen as punitive in nature, but they don't

necessarily have to be or need to be.  The idea

is to intervene much in the same way as an EAP

and get someone help before there's an incident,

before someone does get injured or before

something becomes career ending.

 

      Q.     Based upon the information that

you had received and gathered during the course

of this assessment, could you rule out that

Lt. Bannon (sic) wouldn't hurt somebody

prospectively if allowed to work while getting

therapy?

      A.     I could not rule that out.

      Q.     At any point did you tell

Lt. Bannon (sic) that he had passed the

assessment?  Boden.  I'm sorry.

      A.     No. We don't give anyone results,

pass or fail, at the end of the evaluation.

      Q.     Does somebody pass?

      A.     They are found fit to return to

their duty.

      Q.     Right. Or unfit.

      A.     Or unfit. And then when unfit,

they are given conditions with the goal of

restoring fitness.

      Q.     And your case -- and in this case,

what were those conditions to restore fitness?

      A.     Lt. Boden was to engage in

individual treatment outside of the treatment

that he had already been receiving with his wife

with the sole purpose on managing his stress

level, identifying coping mechanisms that work

for him so that he could return to his position.

      Q.     And in the meantime, as an

individual who was unfit for duty, he should not

be working while receiving that initial

treatment, correct?

      A.     You cannot return to duty if you

are found unfit.

 

Boden’s case mirrors the current national debate concerning mental health and gun laws.  Should employers act when they observe traumatic stress in employees (in this case, confirmed by a mental health professional) or should they wait until after something actually happens?  It is a complex issue.

In the Wallace interview, Boden also claimed to have had no knowledge of the doctored video that was sent around in an attempt to damage Sheriff Mike Strada’s family.  The video also attempted to destroy the reputation of an innocent young firefighter. It was found to be a FAKE and totally false by the media and law enforcement.  Despite Boden’s lies in the Wallace interview, a statement from Sussex County Republican Chairman Jerry Scanlan makes it very clear that it was the Boden campaign behind the release of the doctored FAKE video:

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The above is the direct testimony of the Republican Party Chairman regarding the attempted shakedown that occurred before the FAKE doctored video was released.  Clearly Boden’s campaign knew all about the video that later nobody wanted to take credit for.

So why did Boden tell Sarah Wallace that he knew nothing?  Why did he lie?

Candidate brags to local media about NBC “hit job” on Sheriff

By: Sussex County Watchdog

Since its founding in 2012, the contributors here at Watchdog have generally been just ordinary citizens, not professional journalists.  Nevertheless, we have got the ball rolling on a number of big stories in Sussex County – including the illegal negotiations to sell the county solid waste facility (caught in time and prevented), the solar program that ended up going bust (which ultimately cost taxpayers $26 million), the corruption at the county college (leading to the resignation of several trustees), and environmental issues impacting the health of county workers (CWA members) in Newton (which was addressed after our report).  Whether via tips or submitted columns, we publish stories that address the bad behavior of the government and corporate establishment.  

Generally we work with for-profit corporate media, which is advertising based. As we do not run ads, we do not have a need for click-bait, as they do.  Nevertheless, we respect them for the work that they do.  So we were shocked when a local media person had a story concerning a media organization outside the county – in New York City, in fact – that was using Sussex County to attract viewers.  

Apparently, a candidate for Sheriff in the upcoming GOP primary – Andy Boden – bragged to local media that he had arranged for a “hit job” on his opponent, Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada.  It seems that Boden said the “hit job” would be about how Strada has suspended him for running, and that now he must work construction and that his wife had to take a job.  Boden claimed that the “hit job” was being done on his behalf by a friend of a friend who has a show on NBC out of New York City.  

Andy Boden is a rather sad case.  Earlier this year, a police psychologist found him “unfit for duty” and he was placed on leave.  Boden went to Sheriff Strada and asked him to restore him to duty – which meant giving him back his power over people, a firearm, handcuffs, and badge.  The Sheriff’s office told Boden that he needed to get well first and re-evaluated by a mental health professional, before he could be re-instated. 

Boden’s case mirrors the current national debate concerning mental health and gun laws.  Should employers act when they observe traumatic stress in employees (in this case, confirmed by a mental health professional) or should they wait until after something actually happens?  It is a complex issue.

Boden’s case has been further complicated by his candidacy, which was not his idea, but rather that of a local union fighting to preserve the jobs of corrections officers at the Sussex County jail (the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility).  The jobs of many who work at the jail were put in jeopardy by the passage of Bail Reform, a bi-partisan bill aimed at reducing the number of people incarcerated while waiting for trial.  Before bail reform, many innocent people were locked up for weeks or months simply because they couldn’t afford the cost of bail.  They often lost jobs, homes, and relationships while they were locked up – only later to be found “not guilty” or have the case against them dismissed.

After bail reform became law in New Jersey, jail populations began to diminish drastically and elected officials started to consider shared services agreements that would allow them to close or scale-down some facilities and save money for taxpayers.  The August 2014 “needs assessment” on the Sussex jail (Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility), conducted by Pulitzer/Bogard Associates LLC, clearly outlined the devastating impact keeping the jail open would have on county taxpayers.  Making the jail compliant with basic standards would cost $11 million in short term and $64 million in long term expenditures. 

At the insistence of county Freeholders, Sheriff Strada has been working to scale-down the jail and enter into shared services agreements with Morris County. An agreement to house Sussex County’s female inmate population has recently been reached (and the quality of life for female inmates markedly improved, according to media reports).  

A working group that includes county bureaucrats, elected officials, and union leaders has been working to place every corrections officer likely to be displaced by the plans for the jail.  It is our understanding that County Administrator Greg Poff will shortly announce that positions have been found for every officer likely to be displaced.  Unfortunately, some union people have continued to oppose any changes to the jail.  They’ve complained about the length of the commutes to other facilities and such.  And it is this group who recruited Andy Boden as their candidate and spokesperson.  

They have been using their media contacts to shop around “dirt” on Sheriff Strada and even used a fake Facebook account to distribute a fake video of an “incident” between the Sheriff and a female firefighter, which was later found to have been doctored by the media (including the Star-Ledger/ NJ.com and the New Jersey Herald).  After the media spoke with the female firefighter, who confirmed that the incident never happened, Andy Boden claimed to have had no knowledge of it – despite the fact that Boden’s campaign managers had met with the local party chairman and threatened him with the release of the video some 48 hours before it was released.  This according to a legal statement given by the party chairman.

Boden’s managers went to a well-known statehouse blog in Trenton with their “dirt” – but after the reporter reviewed the transcript of the public hearing Boden asked for regarding his “unfit for duty” status – the story that was written was not to Boden’s liking:  

Incumbent Sheriff Mike Strada faces a challenge from corrections officer Andy Boden, who suspended earlier this year after a police psychologist ruled he was unfit for duty.

Following his suspension, Boden has mounted an offensive against the three-term sheriff, accusing him of endangering his deputies and misusing public funds.

“My decision to run is to end the culture of harassment and mental abuse that Strada has created and fostered. His actions, along with his posse’s, will come out in the upcoming weeks,” Boden said. 

Boden has been suspended since early March. The New Jersey Herald first reported his suspension.

In testimony provided to the New Jersey Globe by Strada’s campaign, a police psychologist said he or she could not rule out the possibility of Boden harming someone if he was allowed to continue working while receiving therapy.

The psychologist recommended the corrections officer receive additional treatment to restore fitness for duty.

“Lt. Boden was to engage in individual treatment outside of the treatment that he had already been receiving with his wife with the sole purpose on managing his stress level, identifying coping mechanisms that work for him so that he could return to his position,” the psychologist said.

For further reading, visit New Jersey Globe at…

https://newjerseyglobe.com/local/sussex/mud-flies-in-sussex-sheriffs-race/

Watchdog is attempting to find out just who the NBC person is who Andy Boden was speaking about when he told local media that a “hit job” was being done on Sheriff Strada.  Stay tuned…