The County Sheriff is the executive leader of the Sheriff’s Office, the largest department in Santa Cruz County government. The Sheriff oversees more than 100 employees dedicated to carrying out the duties of the Office: patrol, SWAT team, criminal investigations, civil matters, communications dispatch, Superior Court security, evidence and property, search and rescue, the Detention Center, and administration. The Sheriff is responsible for departmental spending of almost $12 million from 14 different funds (Santa Cruz County Budget, FY 2018-19). Annually, the Sheriff’s Office receives about 3,000 calls for service from the public.
Let me tell you what kind of leader I want to be in running the Sheriff’s Office.
- I believe in leadership that is team-oriented and inclusive. The men and women of the department deserve strong and fair-minded support from their supervisors and managers. I will show my support by showing up at crime scenes and riding along with patrol deputies.
- More and better training of officers at all ranks in the Sheriff’s Office will be my top priority. Law enforcement continues to evolve with new technology and new requirements set forth in court cases. As Sheriff I will continually evaluate the training needs of the department and give our deputies the training and the tools they need to do their job for the citizens of Santa Cruz County.
- We need to explore smart ways of supplementing existing staff resources, like a Reserve Officer program that utilizes skilled volunteers with a law enforcement background.
- We need to take advantage of grant funding from the federal and state governments.
- We need to look at the communications dispatch system across all public safety agencies in the county. Opportunities exist to improve system response and to better manage costs.
It is well-known that the Detention Center has become a financial challenge for the County. To be candid, it was a mistake to build a 372-bed jail based on the assumption that there would always be substantial revenue from housing federal detainees and that sales tax revenues would always be strong. In the last fiscal year, the County’s General Fund was forced to subsidize the Jail District Fund to the tune of $4 million, creating a major financial strain on the entire County budget. While some efforts have been made to increase revenues by housing out-of-jurisdiction inmates, these efforts have not solved the problem. Along with tight fiscal management of jail operations, I will vigorously pursue increasing revenues to the Jail District fund.
Santa Cruz County Detention Center