My name is Yesenia Sanchez and I am running for Alameda County Sheriff.
I’ve worked in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) since 1997, working my way from Sheriff’s Technician to Division Commander over the course of the last 24 years. As I moved up in rank within the Agency, the more I learned about the needs of the community and how the Sheriff’s Office can work to serve it. Agency health is critical in shifting how the Agency approaches their role as law enforcement in the community. I have the trust and credibility to shift the culture of the ACSO and guide them into policing with humanity. ACSO’s approach as a law enforcement agency needs to change -- community input, transparency and accountability need to be priorities. I’ve realized that to truly effect change that transcends into the community, we have to start with a new approach in leadership that is centered in and accountable to the community. Leadership is an act of service and privilege, not a position of status.
I am running for Alameda County Sheriff because I have the experience, knowledge and relationships within the Agency to make reforms and work with the team to transform the Agency from top to bottom. I’ve spent my career in the Agency working collaboratively with others, managing more than 600+ employees and overseeing a budget of $270 million. This experience has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to know how to best deploy resources to serve the community and prioritize transparency and accountability which is what we need in law enforcement.
The Sheriff has a broad responsibility that includes overseeing the Office of Emergency Services, the Santa Rita Jail, the Coroner’s Office, the Crime Lab, providing law enforcement services for the unincorporated areas and working with city police chiefs and other elected leaders. My goal for the Agency is to invest in both the community and people incarcerated in the jail. Success for this role is when the community is safe and both crime and the jail population are low.
My vision for transforming the Sheriff’s Office includes:
- Rehabilitation of and Job Training for the Jail Population. Every incarcerated person deserves humane treatment, and support to help prevent recidivism. I will bring more services into the jail, including education, work skills training and mental health services. With me as Sheriff, Alameda County’s jail system will set people up to succeed and contribute positively in the community upon reentry.
- Racial Justice in Law Enforcement. As a Latina, I know that law enforcement sometimes behaves differently in low-income communities of color compared to affluent ones primarily populated with white people. I will work with outside accountability experts to analyze disparities in how Sheriff’s Deputies interact with different groups, institute policy changes to rectify shortcomings, and make the findings remedies and outcomes public. I will also curtail the Sheriff’s Office’s cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Community Engagement. The current Sheriff has failed to forge meaningful relationships with an unacceptably large number of elected officials and community leaders in Alameda County, and that sows distrust and impedes mutual cooperation. I will pursue active working relationships with the community, elected officials and law enforcement agencies throughout the county to focus on crime prevention and safety. This includes appropriate responses to mental health incidents and support services, crisis intervention training, and a focus on de-escalation. I will work to repair and build trust with marginalized communities, including immigrant and undocumented communities who may be hesitant to call for help, to ensure they are provided with the same support, rights and services regardless of citizenship status.
- Accountability. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office led the Bay Area in wrongful death and excessive force payouts from 2015-2020. That’s a cultural problem that starts at the top. I support a new county oversight committee that can conduct independent investigations and hold the Sheriff’s Office publicly accountable. Right-wing militia groups such as the Oath Keepers, white supremacists and other bad apples will have no place in the Sheriff’s Office.
Alameda County is a diverse and wonderful place, and I will work to provide services equitably and ensure safety and the best quality of life possible for its residents, regardless of class, race, sexuality, etc. I look forward to meeting you and ask for your support of my campaign.
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