Law Enforcement

Strong enforcement of the law is the top priority for our Sheriff’s Office.  Preventing and responding to criminal acts is the cornerstone of public safety in any community.  What are my priorities and approach for enforcing the law?  Let me emphasize three points:

  • I am a strong advocate of community policing.
  • I will give priority attention to serious crimes and the needs of individuals who are victims of these crimes.
  • I am confident that partnerships and more collaboration among all public safety agencies in Santa Cruz County, police and fire, can lead to improvements in public safety operations.

Community policing is an approach to law enforcement that sees the police as an integral part of the community.  Community policing begins with a commitment to building trust and mutual respect between police and communities.  In Santa Cruz County, this requires outreach to all our diverse regions and constituencies, understanding and connecting with the needs of each one.  Engaging with communities, and collaboration with the people that live and work in these communities, results in better law enforcement and a safer environment.

Our public resources for law enforcement should be focused on serious crimes, especially crimes that have devastating impacts on victims.  For example, domestic violence and sexual assault can result in trauma and hardship with long lasting effects.  As a judge I served on the Arizona Supreme Court committee to address the issue of domestic violence and how all criminal justice system agencies can better serve these victims.  As your Sheriff, I will focus on victim services working alongside County prosecutors, the courts, and non-profit organizations.

Partnerships and collaboration across all public safety agencies in the county are critical to effective law enforcement.  Dispatch communications, mutual assistance protocols, and response to natural and manmade disasters are examples where operations are improved by collaborating with public safety partners.

As one of four border counties in Arizona, we are a bridge between the United States and Mexico.  Nogales Arizona and Nogales Sonora are interconnected through business and trade, family life, and a shared history. Mexico is our nation’s largest trading partner.  Maintaining an efficient system for legal border traffic is essential to the livelihood of county residents and an asset for the nation’s economy.  While federal agencies have jurisdiction over border crossings and immigration, the Sheriff’s Office has a role to play when it comes to border issues.   We should continue to be concerned about drug smuggling and human trafficking coming through our county. Those who transport or stage illegal drugs in our county are violating both state and federal law. Human trafficking and sex trafficking are also violations of both state and federal law and are serious crimes causing great suffering for victims. With regard to illegal crossers, the Sheriff’s Office is equipped to assist those who need medical attention or are victims of crime as they make their dangerous journey.

When deputy sheriffs come into contact with a person who is undocumented in the course of their duties, they should follow the law which is that detaining these individuals for federal authorities is not warranted in the case of minor violations such as traffic offenses.

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