Sonoma County Sheriff

Andy Lopez Park
Steve Mencher / KRCB - North Bay Public Media

The Supreme Court decided Monday not to hear an appeal from Sonoma County that would have ended a civil suit brought against the county by the parents of Andy Lopez, the 13-year-old boy shot by sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus in 2013. The decision opens the way for a trial to begin this fall or winter. KRCB news director Steve Mencher talked with filmmaker Ron Rogers about the decision. 

Rogers is at work on a documentary about the aftermath of the Lopez shooting.

Sonoma County Sheriff's badge
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

This is the final part of our interview with candidate for Sonoma County Sheriff, Capt. Mark Essick. He’s the only candidate who’s currently part of the Sheriff’s office. In two dozen years with the department, he’s held a variety of positions – and he has been endorsed by the current sheriff, Rob Giordano.

In this series, we’ve also heard from John Mutz, a former station commander in the Los Angeles Police Department, and Ernesto Olivares, who serves on the Santa Rosa City Council after a long career with the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Mark Essick
Photo provided

Yesterday, we met candidate for Sonoma County Sheriff Capt. Mark Essick. He’s a veteran of two dozen years in the department. He tells news director Steve Mencher why voters should see him as an agent for change, not an upholder of the status quo.

Mark Essick
Photo provided

(editor's note: It appeared that Capt. Essick was coasting to a victory Tuesday night and avoiding a runoff for the position of sheriff.)

Capt. Mark Essick is the closest thing to an incumbent running in the Sonoma County Sheriff race. He told KRCB news director Steve Mencher what his current responsibilities are in the sheriff's department and how he will use lessons learned from the Andy Lopez shooting to improve the force.

John Mutz
Photo provided

As election day approaches, we're talking with candidates for Sheriff of Sonoma County. On the campaign trail, John Mutz frequently cites his experience as a station commander in Los Angeles.

Today we learn more about how he plans to use that experience to transform the sheriff's office into a responsive and culturally aware organization. He told KRCB news director Steve Mencher what the department might look like under his leadership.

John Mutz and family
Photo provided

Today, part two of our conversation with candidate for Sonoma County sheriff John Mutz. After Mutz left the Los Angeles Police Department, he became a consultant and coach – working both with law enforcement and with private business clients to improve their leadership skills, focus and efficiency.

He spoke with KRCB news director Steve Mencher about how he plans to turn around the culture of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office  by providing leadership to the force.

John Mutz
Courtesy of Sonoma Gazette

Today, we meet John Mutz, a candidate for sheriff of Sonoma County. Mutz served for 25 years on the Los Angeles Police Department, where he says he worked to change the culture of station houses where he was assigned as Captain after the Rodney King beating.

As he told news director Steve Mencher, he plans to transform many aspects of the Sonoma County sheriff’s office, starting with training…

Ernesto Olivares
Photo provided

Today is the final day of our conversation with Ernesto Olivares, candidate for Sonoma County sheriff. Olivares is a Santa Rosa City Councilmember who had a long career with the Santa Rosa Police Department.

KRCB news director Steve Mencher asked Olivares about lack of diversity within the county sheriff’s office, and how he plans to address it.  

Ernesto Olivares
Photo provided

Yesterday, we talked with Santa Rosa City Council Member Ernesto Olivares. He’s one of three candidates for Sonoma County sheriff. Today, news director Steve Mencher continues that conversation.

Ernesto Olivares
Photo provided

With a primary scheduled for June 5, we’re going to be talking over the next few weeks with all three candidates for sheriff of Sonoma County. If no candidate emerges from the primary with a majority of votes, the top two vote getters will face each other in November.

Ernesto Olivares is a Santa Rosa city council member whose long service on the Santa Rosa police department  prepares him, he says, for the role of sheriff. There’s another part of his background that makes him unique, as he told KRCB news director Steve Mencher.

Sheriff candidate literature
KRCB/Steve Mencher

The Russian River Chamber of Commerce presented a debate among the three candidates for Sonoma County Sheriff Monday night at the Rio Theater in Monte Rio. John Mutz, Ernesto Olivares and Mark Essick all strove to convince the audience that their approach was right for the job. KRCB News Director Steve Mencher was there and has this report.

Community gathering to remember those who we have lost, celebrate community heroes, and support neighbors in need

SANTA ROSA, CA – Over the past several weeks, we have seen the very best of our county come through during the worst of the terrible fire storm we experienced: our resilience, strength, and grit; kindness, decency, and generosity; and above all, our essential humanity.

Local Assistance Centers 

The County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa have opened two Local Assistance Centers (LAC) in partnership with FEMA and the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). 

Please see the links below for a list of services available: 

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

October 16, 2017
5:55 PM 

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

The county board of supervisors has appointed Rob Giordano to be the county's sheriff-coroner to fill the vacancy created when Sheriff Steve Freitas resigned effective August 1. In recent days, Giordano sent memos to the community, promising "less cooperation" with federal immigration agents, alleviating concerns that he wouldn't uphold county wishes in that regard.

His appointment will run until January 2019.

Interim Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano promised a statement in the coming days that will outline the department's new policies. He promised 'less cooperation' with ICE.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

Sonoma County Interim Sheriff Rob Giordano released a statement August 10 promising "less cooperation" with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responding to concerns in the community that go back to the policies of his predecessor, Sheriff Steve Freitas, who resigned for health reasons effective August 1.

Sheriff Steve Freitas
Sonoma County

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas announced today that he will be leaving office August 1. A recall effort had sought to end the sheriff's term early, but it has been withdrawn due to the new circumstances. Steve Mencher has an "exit interview" with the sheriff.

Listen to Bruce Robinson's story about the recall effort.

Recall Campaign Targets Sheriff Freitas

May 17, 2017

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas’s six-plus years in office have been tumultuous on multiple fronts. Now a group of local activists is pushing to recall him, even before his announced retirement at the end of his current term next year.

The most alarming complaints raised against the Sheriff's office in the past year involve the prolonged, brutal treatment of inmates at the Sonoma County Jail. Community Action Coalition member Kathleen Finnegan calls it torture.