Three career law enforcement officials have launched campaigns to replace Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick. Essick announced he won't be seeking re-election next year.
All three men have long law enforcement backgrounds. Two, Dave Edmonds and Eddie Engram, with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. The third, Carl Tennenbaum, with the San Francisco Police Department.
Engram, first out of the gate, was hand-picked by Essick to serve as his assistant sheriff. He admits he received a personal head's up from his boss. He's also received Essick's endorsement. While praising Essick's work on disaster preparedness, Engram said he'll bring his own style to the office. "There certainly needs to be more outreach to the community, especially people of color--that's something I would focus on, there are other things within the agency regarding recruiting and accountability"
Engram says he'd enforce Measure P once legal challenges are settled. And says the dispute is really between the county and the union representing deputies. He did, however, say meting out sanctions should be the sheriff's job.
"You may have one sheriff that would see something that is completely beyond the pale for them and something they would not accept and that they would recommend termination, and another sheriff may not feel that same way. It's my view that punishment or discipline for the people who work for the sheriff's office are in the purview of the sheriff."
Engram, who served as a captain in the patrol division, said he'd up training in de-escalation tactics, and despite several high profile use-of-force incidents, there's no wider problem.
"I don't think there's a systemic issue in the Sheriff's office. If that were the case, I think we'd see a lot more of these lawsuits. Yes, we have had lawsuits, some of them have been high dollar lawsuits. The county's liability insurance has increased, but that's not something that's specific to the county, that's something that's industry wide when you talk about public safety."
We'll speak with the other candidates in coming weeks.