Today's guest speaker at the North Shore Business Association was our Sheriff-elect, Frank Rivero. In the sheriff's race, Francisco Rivero received 8,102 votes or 53.9 percent of the vote, defeating 16-year incumbent Rod Mitchell, who had 6,919 votes, accounting for 46.1 percent of votes cast.
The new Sheriff had a lot of good things to say about the direction he hopes to see the office take. He acknowledged that there are already good people in the department but that resources may not have been allocated to maximize those individuals. One of his first priorities will be to re-classify some personnel to get them back on patrol. Rivero indicates that having peace officers on the streets is a very high priority in his department.
"We need more presence in the neighborhoods and we need more sub stations," said the newly-elected Rivero.
Considering his audience, Rivero indicated that he sees a huge correlation between law enforcement and the business climate. The better the law enforcement, the more able local businesses are to conduct business. The North Shore is an area of particular interest to him as he sees this as the gateway to our entire tourism industry.
Enforcing alcohol laws is another area he hopes to affect. People drinking and drunk in public parks will be arrested and jailed. They will have to post bail and answer for their conduct in court. THey will no longer be "released when sober" without charges.
There are seven open positions currently in the department and those openings have generated some 120 responses. Most encouraging, 50 of those applicants have prior law enforcement experience.
One of the jaw dropping moments during his presentation came when he indicated that currently several enforcement agencies have been able to use redevelopment moneys for law enforcement.
Another way he wants to make a difference is in schools and part of that includes two new drug sniffing dogs. These dogs are not what some assume about police dogs, but rather are more "friendly" but have incredible noses.
Rivero hopes these dogs will help create a climate of enforcement that drug offenders are aware of, including those in schools. His hopes include the ability to have the drug-sniffing dogs randomly show-up in schools to help eliminate drug issues there.
Dr. Gardner asked about helping inmates recover from their drug and alcohol problems to which Rivero indicated they are already starting to work on this and have plans for the future. Furthermore, he hopes to create job training programs for inmates and give them activities during the day that might help them once they're released and will help the community while they are wards of law enforcement.
"I went to the jail and saw an inmate watching Oprah. This doesn't help them and it doesn't help any of us." He would like to seem them pull their own weight and "earn" their keep while in the care of the County.
Part of his plan to pay for this enforcement is by using grants available through the Department of Justice. By putting Jack Baxter as his second-in-command, Rivero hopes to have the ability, time and talent on the staff to affect these changes.
Frank Rivero wants to be a hands-on, in-the-community Sheriff and offered to be there if someone has a question or concern. "Law enforcement is a common sense job - anyone can tell when it's not being done properly," he said. to that end, he offered up his private telephone numbers and asked that they be shared here.
Frank Rivero can be reached at home at (707) 987-4467 but said the easiest way to reach him is via cell phone at (707) 295-6289 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
"I work for you. Everybody in uniform works for you."