The Sonoma County Sheriff's office needs to get back to basics: put public safety first, make sure we're fair and accountable, and build partnerships to better engage with the communities we serve.
I've worked for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office for more than 23 years, starting as a correctional officer in the jail and holding 10 different posts throughout the organization. Having served as both administrative and field services captain, I've been responsible for the day-to-day operations of multiple divisions, managing budgets greater than $50 million and overseeing more than 250 employees who provide public safety around the clock.
In 2014, I represented the sheriff's office on the local law enforcement task force. Our charge was to examine the relationship between public safety and the communities we serve and to correct problems with transparency, oversight and community relations. At the same time, I led the personnel and internal affairs units—giving me perhaps more perspective than anyone about what was working and what needed repair.
I'm very proud of my work as the founder and director of the Sheriff's Office Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program. I worked with Sonoma County Mental Health to train peace officers in de-escalation and intervention techniques to help those in mental-health crisis. More than 400 peace officers in Sonoma County have completed the training, and the program is still active today.
Through all of this, I've learned that the ability to listen is the single most important tool we have in public safety—it's an idea I'm taking very seriously as I kick off a series of town hall meetings throughout Sonoma. Visit my website at markessick.com, or follow me on Facebook for times and locations.
My wife and I are proud to call Sonoma County home—it's where we've raised our children and watched them grow and give back to the community that means so much to our family.
We're committed to Sonoma County, and I know you are, too. I'm confident that if we all work together, we can keep Sonoma County a special place to live for another generation. I hope you'll join me.
Mark Essick is a captain with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office and a candidate for sheriff in the 2018 election. This is the second in an occasional series of editorials from the candidates.