As I take office as Sonoma County's 34th sheriff since California became a state more than 165 years ago, I'm implementing some changes—building on our successes and addressing challenges along the way. We're a team of more than 600 at the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, a team that is wholly committed to the concept of service above self, with a high level of integrity, and we're ready to grow together. So in the first few months of the New Year, we're going to highlight some improvements.
We're going to get back to the basics that Sheriff Rob Giordano has so effectively implemented this past year. Under tragic circumstances, he taught us all how to come together again as a community after the 2017 wildfires.
Public safety is our charge. That means delivering the highest level of law enforcement with a respect for the individual. We'll be listening for your input, we'll hear what you have to say, and we'll treat all fairly. It's a mission I set out as a candidate for this office, and one I take seriously.
We're also going to highlight community policing. I want you to know our deputies through a robust program of outreach and regular community interaction. From social media to town halls, I want you to know them on a personal level.
Detention is critical—and we'll focus on the causes of crime as well as the impacts. With a new behavioral management system in place, I know we can address the fact that more than 45 percent of those incarcerated have a mental-health issue that we can treat—that's a cost savings to you the taxpayer, and a life-changing event for the person involved.
And we'll make sure that our employees are representative of the people they serve. I want a healthy and happy team, and I'm committed to growing it.
Sonoma County is a unique and special place to live, work and play. As these years unfold, I hope I can count on you as a partner in this effort to make Sonoma an even stronger community. I'm humbled by your trust, and look forward to this incredible effort ahead of us.
Mark Essick took office as Sonoma County sheriff on Jan. 1.
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