Letters to the Editor: Alex Villanueva's conduct shows why sheriffs should be appointed, not elected

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FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2018 file photo newly-elected Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks during a swearing-in ceremony in Monterey Park, Calif. Villanueva will limit when inmates in the county's jails can be transferred to federal authorities for deportation. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, the agency will reduce the number of misdemeanor charges that can trigger an inmate's transfer. She could not immediately say which misdemeanor charges would no longer qualify. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Then-newly elected L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks during his swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 3, 2018. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

To the editor: How on Earth did we get to a place where a cop (in this case Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva) tells the public which laws he or she will or will not enforce or comply with? This is a common occurrence in California and an example of the tail wagging the dog.

I submit the problem is that county sheriffs are elected to their positions and are effectively impervious to oversight. These positions are elective as opposed to appointed because of political influence and associated corruption in policing in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

All law enforcement officers should be hired, fired, paid and provided absolute oversight by an autonomous, full-time commission elected in its entirety by the people.

Bob Merrilees, Camarillo