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Sheriff should answer questions or resign
April 25, 2007, 12:00 AM
San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos suffered from a severe lapse in judgment when they decided to visit a Las Vegas home in pursuit of what Munks said was a "massage” he needed since he was sore from a run.

Both were at the home when it was raided for being an illegal house of prostitution. Bolanos, who was not inside the home, told a television reporter he recognized it was questionable and was in the course of leaving when police arrived. The raid reportedly took place at 9:30 p.m. and both were driving in a limousine through the industrial/residential area approximately a mile from the Vegas strip.

A naive citizen could say it is a mistake going to a house for a massage, but Munks and Bolanos are not naive citizens. They are San Mateo County’s top two law enforcement officials. It is their job to recognize places where questionable activity may occur and Munks should have not only never stopped at the home, but never entered once he arrived.

Surely, there are other places to get a massage in Las Vegas that are not questionable — like at hotel spas. But that is only if you believe this flimsy story.

Normally, a situation like this should not warrant a news story since whatever public officials do in private should remain so, but two top law enforcement officials should know better. And reading an apology from a prepared statement without taking questions or deflecting inquiries to a public information officer who should in no way be involved in this situation is wrong.

Why were they at the house? Where were they staying? Were they intoxicated? When exactly did they perceive the situation was questionable? As law enforcement officials, aren’t they trained in noticing what brothels might look like? Who paid for the trip?

The sheriff and the undersheriff should immediately hold a press conference and answer each and every growing question that is in the public’s minds or resign immediately.

While no law may have been broken, the public trust was.

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