If at First You Don't Succeed

Congratulations are certainly in order for Sheriff Lupe Valdez after she passed her mandatory state law enforcement exam on her second try yesterday, knowing that if she flunked it would generate another round of ugly headlines for her department. Still, rather than modestly announce the good news and move on, the sheriff is continuing to trumpet her tired excuse as to why she muffed it the first time. In today's Morning News, she explained, "I took the first one on the chance that I would pass it on very little study."

But as we reported two weeks ago, Valdez had a tutor the first go around and he had been preparing her to take the test for three months. Here's an e-mail we received from Richard Baker, the chief of security for Richland Community College:

"I have been tutoring Sheriff Valdez since the last week in January 2006. Usually (but not always) she finds time twice a week at 5 pm for an hour and a half. Occasionally, our schedules conflicted and we did not meet. The sessions consisted of presenting the same information given to academy students but one-on-one. The material goes a lot faster but a student still has to find time to study."

We e-mailed the sheriff today to see if she could explain the discrepancy between her account and that of her tutor, but we never heard from her. --Matt Pulle

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