Why should you care about the Sonoma County Sheriff’s election? In my view, it’s the most important office next to choosing your County Supervisor, primarily because, as the top cop in the county, the Sheriff has a lot of power. This individual’s office has the ability to detain you, arrest you, hold you in custody and maintain your imprisonment in the county jail.
Even before the George Floyd killing, the cry for police responsibility after fatal events, excessive aggression, racial and ethnic discrimination, and militant and bullying tactics has been loud and clear. Examples abound nationwide, but Sonoma County has its own dark history of fatal “events” and a track record of physical brutality in its ranks.
The Board of Supervisors established the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) following the cold-blooded killing of a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy gun by a Sheriff’s deputy. But it is now plainly clear that IOLERO needs a good deal more power if it is to function viably.
This Sheriff’s election should be about police reform. After reviewing the candidates’ websites and watching numerous public debates, I have concluded that the best candidate for affecting real change is Carl Tennenbaum. He fully and unequivocally embraces and pledges to strengthen citizen oversight and police accountability.
As I see it, paramount in a top cop is the overriding motivation to improve the lives of people, earn public trust, end over-aggression and unwarranted physical force, and aim to use diplomacy and reason as a first resort. I believe we have that in Carl Tennenbaum (www.carltforsheriff.com).