Multnomah Sheriff Joins JTTF, Cries Poverty,
Helps Anti-Crime Commissioner in "Intervention"

Let's begin this article with a positive note. Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto, now in his third year of elected office, met with members of Portland Copwatch in May and was personable, open, and frank. Regardless of his well-spoken demeanor, we disagreed about the idea he had been floating to put one or two deputies on the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) after Portland pulled its officers out for lack of civilian oversight (see article). Giusto's only reservation was that he lacked the resources to make one or two deputies available to the FBI full-time on their "anti-terror" squad. Since then, Giusto did just that, announcing that at least one deputy would begin reporting to FBI headquarters beginning July 1 (Oregonian, June 29).

One motivating factor surprisingly not mentioned by Giusto as a reason to join the PJTTF was a conveniently hyped story in which Deputies found men shooting off firearms in east county in late May. [Giusto on 
6/29/05 Willamette Week Cover] The men were cited with supplying false information to the police and trespassing (KATU- TV, June 2). Of course, the Sheriff's office was perfectly capable of reporting this activity to the FBI if they felt it was somehow related to terrorism without surrendering their deputies as deputized federal agents, but this concept escaped Giusto.

One of the more hypocritical aspects of Giusto's boldly political move is that Giusto has been making headlines complaining how under-funded he is in terms of keeping jail beds for criminals. Because Giusto is elected separately from the County Commission, they hold his purse-strings but can't direct his activities. However, a spat between him and County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey regarding his over-use of overtime made headlines the same day the JTTF announcement was made. Hardly a week went by in April and May when the Portland Tribune, which made its reputation by doing hard-hitting reporting on the Portland Police shooting of José Mejía Poot in 2001, didn't feature a fear-mongering article about the lack of jail beds on their front page. But on closer inspection, Rojo appears to be on track--the Willamette Week reports that Giusto's office went from spending $3.6 million on overtime in 2003 to $6.15 million in 2005 (June 29). Since his request to open more beds at Inverness is for $2.6 million, about the amount of overtime increase, his complaints seem empty.

Meanwhile, Giusto­whose name came up last year as former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt's bodyguard and a "close friend" of his then-wife in the late 1980s in the scandal involving Goldschmidt raping a 14 year-old girl years earlier­seems to have "buddied up" again during a new scandal. Citizen Crime Commission head Jim Jeddeloh was recently accused by his wife of domestic abuse linked to a drinking problem. Giusto apparently became involved and arranged for deputies to be outside an "intervention" held for Jeddeloh, where his final choice was to head to rehab or have the deputies serve him with a restraining order and divorce papers. He headed for rehab (Willamette Week, July 20). Giusto's told the press that he's also a "close friend" of Jeddeloh's wife Lee (Tribune, July 29).


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