And a billion times better than the current incumbent.
This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Denton County Sheriff Candidate Freyja Odinsdottir. She’s impressive and even more important, she isn’t Tracy Murphree. This year, she entered the race a little late, so she’s a write in candidate, but don’t worry if you can’t remember how to spell her name.
Her team will be passing out cards and buttons at every polling place on election day with her name on it, to help you remember. Also, the names of certified write-in candidates will appear on a list at each voting booth when voting starts. The list will have the correct spellings for candidates, misspellings will still count if elections administrators can determine what the intent was.
Of course, with a name like Odinsdottir, one of the first questions I asked her is why she came late to the game.
On June 1, 2020 Freyja Oddinsdottir was the first person arrested in Denton at a Black Lives Mater protest. Her charge? Violation of curfew.
During that incident she befriended some local Denton County political activists, who undoubtedly were as impressed with her as I was, and they encouraged her to run.
As it turns out, Freyja is an ex-employee of Denton County Sheriff Murphree. For years she worked at the Denton County Sheriff’s Office as a correction officer.
“That experience,” she told me, “Allowed me to see what happens behind the scenes, in the break rooms, and administration offices. Law enforcement should stand for accountability, transparency, and integrity. But that hasn’t been happening.”
Aside from her work as a correction officer, she’s also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who served both in Iraq and Afghanistan and a martial arts instructor with five black belts.
What does Freyja Odinsdottir stand for?
From her Facebook page:
First and foremost, I stand behind these truths:
I believe in racial equality and an end to racial profiling in law enforcement.
I believe in decriminalizing legitimate sex work, and redirecting that energy towards stopping sex trafficking.
And I believe in decriminalizing minor drug offenses and connecting people rehabilitation and help if they need it.
Being homeless should not be a crime.
Beyond this, what I represent specifically to law enforcement is a return to the 9 Peelian principles of policing by consent.
What are the Peelian Principles of Policing by Consent?
The Peelian Principles is a philosophy that the power of the police comes from the common consent of the public, as opposed to the power of the state. That sounds pretty good to us.
“I’d really like to carve out the institutional racism and corruption that lies within the Denton County Sheriff’s Office,” she said, “the current sad reality is that while we think police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard, they don’t always do the right thing.”
She went on to tell me about the check in the box training, which is currently being used in Denton County law enforcement for training on things like cultural diversity and inclusion training.
Although, most of us will likely find this unsurprising, she had a point. Law enforcement departments should do a better job training for cultural diversity and inclusion.
“Check in the box training,” as she described it, is when LEOs go to a one hour class, listen to a lecture with a power point being presented, and then are given a multiple choice quiz at the end. They just check off the box for attending this mandated class.
Sheriff Murphree’s handling of the coronavirus.
Tracy Murphree is a hard-right Republican. He’s one that has promoted hatred against Muslim citizens and bigotry towards the transgender community. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Murphree has also taken a far right position on Texas’ mask mandate.
There has even been an effort to remove Murphree on his refusal to enforce the mask mandate. As of September 3rd, Denton County has over 10,000 positive coronavirus cases and 134 deaths. The outbreak in Denton County Jail has been especially bad.
Last month, the Dallas Observer published a story about how Denton County inmates were living in unsanitary and inhumane conditions.
So, I asked Freyja Odinsdottir, if she was elected, what would she do to turn that situation around.
“First of all, I would implement the mask order. Despite the Sheriff’s denial over coronavirus, this virus is real. In the jails I would implement stricter quarantine measures and make sure the number of cases being reported was accurate.”
She told me about the mask research being done by Texas A&M and how they have discovered a way to make M95 masks.
“This would be a way we could get the inmates and the jail employees the proper PPE to help lessen the spread of coronavirus in these hot-beds. We could have someone local make them.”
Freyja Odinsdottir has a plan.
Her plan would make the lives of Denton County residents better, Denton County inmates safer, and restore the trust in Denton County Sheriff’s Office.
November 3rd, write her in, and definitely vote early if you can.