County supervisors question applicants for interim sheriff on jails, recruiting, public trust

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday questioned three candidates seeking to be named interim sheriffs, asking them about possible improvements in prisons, recruitment efforts and community confidence.

Nominees Michael Barletta, Edwin Brock and Anthony Ray were selected to advance to the final round next week after receiving questions from supervisors during a public job interview process that lasted more than 90 minutes.

Ray, Barletta and Brock each have leadership experience in the department, which has approximately 4,600 employees and an annual budget of over $ 1 billion.

Ray is an assistant sheriff in charge of the courts and human resources. Barletta retired as commander and is now a trainer and consultant.

Brock, who led the San Marcos sheriff’s station and retired as a lieutenant, is now police chief in Arvin, a town outside Bakersfield.

They are vying for a short-term appointment, which runs through January, to cover the remainder of a vacancy left by former Sheriff Bill Gore, who retired last month.

None of the three candidates for the interim position is a candidate for the position in the upcoming elections. The June 7 by-elections will mark the first time in more than 30 years that an incumbent sheriff has not been on the ballot.

The job is now open as the Sheriff’s Department has come under intense scrutiny in recent years due to the number of people who have died in county jails – 185 deaths in 15 years. Last month, the state auditor’s office issued a finding that the Sheriff’s Department had failed to prevent and respond to the deaths, and calling for change.

The three candidates were asked which recommendation of the state control to implement first. Everyone said they wanted to see mental health professionals evaluate detainees when they were detained.

Brock said he would like to see this same principle “pushed for patrols as well” so that mental health professionals can control people in the field.

Several studies have found racial inequalities in attitude and search data collected by the Sheriff’s Department. For example, a study released in December found that lawmakers stopped, searched for, and used violence against people of color at higher rates than whites, even when data analysis took into account factors such as crime rates and poverty. The study was commissioned by the department.

All three applicants spoke of focusing on reaching out to the community, gaining the public’s trust and access to MPs and being accountable when they commit misconduct or break the law.

Barletta said he wanted to see law enforcement take the first step towards building trust with the community and that his role would be to do so by reaching out to community groups.

Earlier this week, the Union-Tribune reported that the department is losing MPs faster than he can replace them. The data of the department show that last year 28 more deputies left than those who were hired. San Diego police are struggling in a similar way to conservation, as are departments across the nation.

Ray said he is working on recruiting and said that in addition to efforts at military bases and local colleges, the department is working with a social media influencer to reach its target audience – 19 to 34 years old.

After hearing the three candidates, the supervisors were allowed to vote for up to three of them to advance to the final selection round. Four of the supervisors voted for all three to proceed. Supervisor Joel Anderson voted only for Ray to move on.

Ray also praised three public speakers, including a vice president and a former chairman of the NAACP San Diego chapter, and the chairman of the Sheriff’s Association, the local delegates’ union.

Francine Maxwell, former president of the local NAACP, said Ray has a “wonderful relationship” with the community.

“Our community is better for him to be there,” he said. “Changes are coming, we need him there for nine months, to keep the train moving and this sense of urgency.”

None of the public speakers commented specifically on Brock or Barletta during the interviews.

The council will make its final choice on March 22. The interim sheriff will be sworn in on April 5 and will remain in office until the end of his term in January 2023.

Until a temporary sheriff is elected, active sheriff Kelly Martinez is at the helm. Once a temporary sheriff is selected, Martinez will return to her job as a sub-sheriff.

The Sheriff’s Department handles law enforcement in nine cities, from Imperial Beach to Vista, as well as non-integrated areas of the county. He also provides security in the courts and runs the county’s seven prisons.

Only four men have held the position of sheriff in San Diego County for the past 50 years. The sheriff’s seat belongs to an establishment established since the 1994 election of Bill Kolender.

When Kolender retired in 2009 – also before the end of his term – he approved of Gore, then deputy head of department, taking over. The Board of Supervisors soon appointed Gore — who was also running for sheriff’s – to cover the remainder of Colender’s term, ignoring critics who said giving the sheriff the job of sheriff , gave this candidate an active advantage.

The field for the temporary job shrank last week when a fourth candidate, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Hank Turner withdrew his application, saying he had taken another position.

County supervisors question applicants for interim sheriff on jails, recruiting, public trust Source link County supervisors question applicants for interim sheriff on jails, recruiting, public trust

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