Why the Sheriff Election of 2014 is so Important

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By Brian Rauschhuber, Campaign Planning Manager-Kevin Jensen for Sheriff 2014

Not in decades has a Sheriff election been as important as the election of the Santa Clara County Sheriff set for June 2014. The incumbent, Laurie Smith, is being challenged by retired Captain Kevin Jensen. The reason this election is so important is multi-faceted, but essentially falls into three areas where Smith and Jensen vary. These are: Progressive Leadership, Employee Morale, and 21st Century Challenges.

A common question I get when I talk to people about the upcoming Sheriff election: What does a Sheriff do anyhow? Why does it matter to me? I live in the city and we have a Police Department.

Jail / Court
Before I can describe the candidates’ differences, it is important to review the role and responsibilities of SCC Sheriff. If you live in San Jose your first responder to a crime will be a San Jose Police Officer. But where does the criminal go after the arrest? The vast majority of them go to the Santa Clara County Jail; the Sheriff’s Office runs the jail system for this County. The Sheriff’s Office also serves as the security and bailiff staff for the County Superior Courts.

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Patrol / Policing
If you live in the Cities of Cupertino, Saratoga or the town of Los Altos Hills the policing is managed directly by the Sheriff’s Office and the fine Deputies who patrol and protect the citizenry. The Sheriff’s Deputies are the responders to calls from those cities. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office also provides policing to the vast unincorporated neighborhoods throughout the County, including portions of: Alum Rock, East Foothills, Lexington Hills, Llagas-Uvas, and San Martin, just to name a few.

Civil Process / Academy / Coroner / Search & Rescue
The Sheriff’s Office has numerous civil process responsibilities: electronic fingerprinting for background checks for employers, civil process serving (eviction, etc), managing the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Justice Center/Academy, managing the Medical Examiner Coroner’s Office, and providing search & rescue support throughout the County.

Countywide Disaster Management
In the event of a disaster the Sheriff is the main coordinator for mutual aid between cities in the county and for out-of-county law enforcement support to our county Most common day-to-day support is in apprehension of criminal offenders, but also includes Search & Rescue and policing air support. The most significant responsibility is managing personnel in response to civil disorders and/or disasters. As part of the California State Coastal Region, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is the agency that has primary responsibility to coordinate resources within,and from surrounding counties to our county.

The Sheriff’s Office has a wide-range of civic and community protection responsibilities that touch everyone in the county and surrounding counties. There is little need for me to describe the struggles and failings of Sheriff-Smith, as there are a multitude of articles and associated links to news media reports through Casey Thomas’ that serve that purpose. Let me outline further why it is critical that Kevin Jensen be elected the next Sheriff of Santa Clara County and how his integrity, progressive leadership, approach / care of Department Employees and his forward-thinking of today’s 21st Century challenges is just what Santa Clara County citizens deserve in the critical role of Sheriff.

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The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office handles a vast array of responsibilities that affects us all. We need a Sheriff that can professionally manage those responsibilities and lead the Department to the next level. That is Sheriff-elect Kevin Jensen.

Progressive Leadership
Santa Clara County’s Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest in the state. As the heart of Silicon Valley, it is essential that we elect someone with proven leadership experience that has the trust of the Deputies and other law enforcement agencies throughout the county and the state. Kevin Jensen has a remarkable story; through an impoverished start and difficult childhood that included severe family challenges, he developed a strong desire for something better in life, for himself and others. This desire stems from his faith, loving wife, family and friends, and commitment to lifelong learning. As a young adult Kevin pursued a career in law enforcement, and after nearly 20 years of dedication, perseverance & hard work he rose to the rank of Captain.

Captain Jensen is a leader with a wide range of successful experience in administrative, operational and tactical positions, including:
• Community Services / Sheriff’s Reserve Unit Division Commander,
• Stanford University Department of Public Safety Liaison,
• Jail Administration Division Commander,
• Court Security Division Commander,
• Administrative Coroner,
• Assistant Chief of the Department of Correction,
• Elmwood Detention Facility Commander,
• Risk Program Manager for California’s state-wide Urban Area Security Initiative (terrorism prevention, mitigation and response).

Kevin Jensen holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He currently serves as the President of the California Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates; the largest chapter in the United States.

The department’s current reactive posture and response to crime is not effective in dealing with repeat offenders, nor will it keep our communities safe. Kevin Jensen is well positioned to work collaboratively with local allied agencies and law enforcement entities across the nation to institute crime-fighting methodologies for Santa Clara County. As past President of the FBI National Academy Associates’ California Chapter, Jensen’s relationships enable him to extend his collaborative reach well beyond this region to bring programs & solutions that will work best in Santa Clara County.

Employee Morale
Employee morale has a direct effect on job performance. When leadership is the basis and cause of poor morale then change is necessary. When a leader fails to create a culture of trust, the workplace suffers. A lack of firm, fair, and consistent leadership causes what could otherwise be strong-performing staff to become apprehensive about approaching their leaders. A lack of trust and fear of reprisal is prevalent in the workplace when subordinates are subject to the type of leader that feels threatened and undermined by questions, or alternative ideas and solutions.

This seems to be core reason the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association (SCCPOA) and the Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA) overwhelmingly endorse Kevin Jensen over the incumbent Laurie Smith. The members of these associations TRUST Kevin Jensen, because they know him as a man of INTEGRITY, a PROVEN LEADER and someone they want to LEAD them. Most of these Deputies and Correctional Officers have worked side-by-side with Kevin throughout his career; where he worked beside them, supervised them, managed them and led them. This wide range of administrative, operational, and tactical assignments gives Kevin Jensen a thorough understanding of the needs and requirements of our law enforcement community. Jensen will draw upon years of working collaboratively toward common goals and will not isolate or limit the Sheriff’s Office’ effectiveness. He and other area law enforcement leaders recognize the current tremendous void in the area of inter-agency cooperation and collaboration when it comes to Sheriff Smith’s interaction with these area leaders.Kevin.family

21st Century Challenges
Santa Clara County is the home to approximately 6500 high-technology companies and is headquarters for such companies as AMD, Apple, Cisco Systems, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Yahoo, and many others. Kevin Jensen recognizes that the community’s economic security is tied to these companies. Kevin Jensen will establish meaningful partnerships with public, private, and corporate entities in order to strengthen community relationships and expand department capabilities. Strong cooperative relationships will enhance the effectiveness of services provided by the Sheriff’s Office and will encourage trust and confidence in the department. It is through these relationships that the citizens of Santa Clara County will see the value of partnerships and a Sheriff that is committed to them.

The challenges of today and tomorrow require the right leader, one with vision and a reputation for collaboration, to take them on. With the majority of our population engaged as never before on the internet – cyber-crime, personal identification theft, child-predators and cyber-bullying bring about new-era law enforcement challenges. With the reality of budgetary constraints, becoming more efficient and effective with limited resources is a necessity. Community policing and relationship building is a priority for Kevin Jensen. They are crucial resource multipliers which build mutual trust and cooperation necessary to reduce and combat gang influence, burglaries, traffic concerns and violent crimes. Kevin Jensen will promote vetted community and law enforcement programs and continue to foster the relationships with other police agencies as well as public and private partners that are so essential in ensuring a peaceful quality of life throughout our neighborhoods, and across jurisdictional borders.

As I hope you have discovered, it is the Santa Clara County Sheriff‘s Office that is the lynch pin that ties the cities to the county and the county to the Regional Emergency Response and Mutual Aid programs. The Sheriff’s Office serves several cities and all the unincorporated parts of the county directly with police services, provides the necessary security of our jail and court system, and manages the County Medical Examiner’s Office.

For many years there has been a progressively deteriorating lack of leadership at the Sheriff’s Office. Many inter-agency activities are also no longer supported due to the leadership in place. There is a growing list of law enforcement employee associations, retired Chiefs, Captains and other Law Enforcement leaders that recognize this void, thus explaining their decision to endorse Kevin Jensen for Sheriff.

Let’s not leave out the rank-and-file Deputies and Correctional Officers, who were the FIRST to come out for Kevin Jensen. We’ve all had bad bosses and can relate to their plight. At one time or another, we have all probably participated in a company survey, but how many organizations have you worked for where over 90% of the working staff have said the boss is the worst boss they have ever had and they have had “enough”! Voting members of the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association gave a unanimous endorsement to Kevin Jensen; the Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association spoke loudly, with a 90.4% vote in favor of endorsing Kevin Jensen.

Instead of trying to engage and find some common ground with these two associations, to try and work through why there is such dissention, what does Sheriff Laurie Smith do? She releases a quote to the press; “No small group of special interests can hire or fire the Sheriff”. She then gives tacit approval as her political consultant calls, the men and women who serve and protect us, “Keystone Cops”. Is that how strong progressive leadership handles adversity and two huge votes of No Confidence from first responders – dismissing it and name-calling? Is that how citizens of this county want their Sheriff to respond and manage conflict or problems that arise?

Kevin Jensen is the type of leader this county needs, and is the right person to work with the personnel under his leadership. He will extend his hand of cooperation to bring forth the necessary changes to improve the morale and correct the deteriorating problems from within the Sheriff’s Office. Kevin Jensen is also the type of leader that will engage the peer Police Organizations to foster mutual cooperation and develop strategic vision for Countywide policing necessary in the 21st Century.

Kevin Jensen will work to foster increased community relationships. Knowing that honest communication and engaging those with a vested interest always brings forth the best results by listening to all views and finding the best solutions to serve our community.

Kevin Jensen is a person with exceptional character, extensive local and state law enforcement experience, and is the right person to lead the Santa Clara County Sheriff Office. I hope he can count on your vote to give him the opportunity to improve the quality of life of our residents by improving the quality of the organization charged with protecting and serving our county.

Get to know Kevin Jensen more by visiting his website, http://www.kevinjensenforsheriff2014.com and follow his activities on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KevinJensenForSheriff2014. If you believe, like many of us that a change is in need, Contribute to Kevin Jensen’s campaign or if you can’t give but just want to support his campaign, register with Kevin’s Campaign through the website.
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About the Author – Brian Rauschhuber is a born and raised native of Santa Clara County, he worked 25 years at Apple Inc in various regional and global executive positions. He is currently a Bay Area CEO and Professional Business Consultant and holds a Master Degree in Management. He is on Kevin Jensen’s Campaign team as the Campaign Planning Manager.

 

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