The drivers

Everybody knows by now that Mayor Heather Fargo has a personal security staff that includes a rotating crew of detectives from the Sacramento Police Department. As The Sacramento Bee reported last week, four crime fighters from the criminal-intelligence unit now whisk a safeguarded Fargo to and from a slew of events around town each week, including campaign-related ones.

Something seems weird about this—but it’s tough to put a finger on it.

There’s no denying that Fargo needs and deserves police protection. The murder last month of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia stands as powerful testament to this necessity. But should the city’s most elite intelligence officers (the detectives have been called the “best and brightest” on the force) be the ones to provide it?

Only a few years ago, the mayor was safeguarded by part-time reserve officers. But a recent round of budget cuts put a stop to that. Thus was birthed the “four detectives” solution, i.e., since these city employees don’t get paid overtime and can supposedly amend their work week to suit the major’s busy clock.

Mayoral contender Kevin Johnson has suggested, through his staff, that Fargo reimburse the city for campaign-related driving. But this doesn’t make sense, either for her or them. She’s not the one that assigned these officers. And why should it matter to Fargo’s security detail whether they’re accompanying her to an official meeting as mayor or an endorsement interview as a candidate since it’s their job to provide her protection from harm regardless?

We need to protect the mayor. And we need to protect the city by making the best possible use of its top intelligence officers in fighting the violent crime that plagues Sacramento.

Somehow the math doesn’t work here. We urge City Manager Ray Kerridge and Police Chief Rick Brazil to consider a prudent alternative.