Eddie Engrams Priorities
The primary job of the Sheriff’s Office, as stated in the mission statement, is to provide professional, firm, fair, and compassionate public safety services. Under my leadership, the Sheriff’s Office will focus on community-oriented policing and a proactive approach to crime reduction, serving all of our communities – from our rural agricultural areas to the more densely populated areas of the county, across all ethnic demographics and socioeconomic statuses. I understand that the best way to solve our quality of life issues is to work hand in hand with the community to mitigate the community impacts of addiction, homelessness, and other issues that affect the people of Sonoma County.
We have some of the finest, most highly trained, and professional peace officers in the country working for the Sheriff’s Office. My goal is to give them the support and resources they need to continue to provide high quality public safety services to the people of this county and ensure individuals who intentionally break the law are held accountable for their actions.
Improve Detention Service
The Sheriff’s Office is more than the deputy who patrols your neighborhood and the dispatcher who answers your call. The Office also provides detention services, booking and housing inmates in the county jail. I am the only candidate who has worked in or managed a detention facility. Currently I am the Assistant Sheriff of the Detention Division, and I recognize that detention services are a critical function of the Sheriff’s Office. I acknowledge the valuable service these members of the Office provide. As your Sheriff, I will:
- Expand the educational and treatment services provided to inmates with the goal of reducing recidivism.
- Strengthen the discharge planner program to further reduce recidivism and ease the transition out of custody.
- Expand the existing Medical Assisted Treatment program, which provides people addicted to opiates with safe, alternative treatment to street drugs. I was instrumental in establishing this program and am proud of the positive impact we’re making as we fight our portion of the nationwide opioid crisis.
- Work with the Board of Supervisors to secure funding to make jail phone calls free. As the Assistant Sheriff working with the IOLERO Director, I helped the Sheriff’s Office offer daily free phone calls to inmates during the pandemic while in-person visits were suspended. This benefit for inmates and, just as importantly, their families, is a crucial tool in keeping inmates connected and motivated to make good choices while in custody.
Embrace Constructive Oversight
I support effective oversight of the Sheriff’s Office. As Sheriff, I will work collaboratively with the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) and the Citizens Advisory Committee to ensure appropriate reforms are implemented and transparency is enhanced. The people of Sonoma County deserve strengthened Office integrity and community trust.
Transparency and integrity should be the foundation of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. The people of Sonoma County have the right to fair, impartial, and professional treatment from all members of the Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement oversight is an overall positive benefit and important for law enforcement accountability. This level of review helps the Sheriff’s Office improve and gain trust from the communities it serves.
Oversight isn’t only the responsibility of IOLERO. Oversight and supervision is the primary responsibility of Sheriff’s Office supervisors, managers, and ultimately the Sheriff. As Sheriff, I will provide clear expectations for the members of the Sheriff’s Office while fostering a culture of equity and inclusion. I will be proactive in identifying problematic behavior before it results in tragic events.
I have a track record of improving transparency and accountability. As the Lieutenant in charge of the Professional Standards Bureau, which includes Internal Affairs and use of force reviews, I proposed the policy change requiring all deputies to have their body-worn cameras turned on when they were not inside a Sheriff’s Office facility. This recommendation was adopted by the Sheriff and is still in effect today.
Support Community-Based Policing And Engagement
Through continued outreach in our communities, I believe we can foster mutual respect and understanding, and improve the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement over time. I helped the Sheriff’s Office take a significant step in this direction as a founding staff member of the Sheriff’s Community Roundtable for Equity, Engagement, and Diversity (CREED). The roundtable is comprised of a dedicated group of diverse community members who, without personal agendas, will help the Office be more transparent and more effectively engage with our communities of color.
I will work hard to support programs and initiatives founded in principles of community policing that also reduce and prevent incarceration. As Sheriff, I look forward to personally engaging with members of our community and setting the standard for the Office to be fully engaged with all aspects of our community.
Change The Response To Mental Health Emergencies
The Sheriff’s Office response to mental health emergencies is personal for me because I have loved ones who face their own mental health challenges. I deeply feel the challenges of managing mental health issues. As a Sergeant and Lieutenant, I facilitated the Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Training to better equip deputies when they respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. I know there is a better way to respond to non-violent mental health emergencies. If a person is struggling with his or her mental health and seeks assistance, a trained mental health professional, not a peace officer, should respond. I will work with the Board of Supervisors and other private and public agencies to help institute a different response to these issues that affect so many families.
Impove Hiring Practices
I will work to identify and recruit a diverse group of highly qualified candidates for available positions within the Sheriff’s Office, ensuring the Office is more representative of the community it serves. This can be accomplished by casting a wider net than we have in the past to attract a diverse group of applicants. Members with a variety of ideas and experiences will better serve the community, are critical in contributing to organizational growth and success, and allow for better communication between law enforcement and our community.
In the search for qualified applicants, as Sheriff, I will never hire a deputy who was fired from another law enforcement agency or resigned in lieu of termination for misconduct. I will not hire a deputy from another agency with sustained serious misconduct even if he or she was not terminated.
Build on Our Successes
As a veteran of several major Sonoma County wildfires and managing the Detention Division throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I know what it takes to be prepared for these incidents before they occur and how to respond when we face similar events in the future. Under my leadership, the people of Sonoma County will continue to receive the highest quality evacuations and disaster response from the Office.