CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) California State Senator Anna Caballero has released a survey to get community input on a bill that would change requirements for candidates running for Sheriff.
Currently, the law requires candidates to have a certificate from the Peace Officers Standards and Training and salaried law enforcement experience, but the bill, SB 271, would change that law.
The Sheriff Democracy and Diversity Act would revert California law to the state's requirements before 1989, which did not require law enforcement experience.
"The Sheriff Democracy and Diversity Act would revert California law to what it was from the State’s founding until 1989 and thus allow voters to choose from a broader pool of candidates with more diverse backgrounds and skill sets and greater accountability. This bill does not prevent candidates with law enforcement experience from seeking or occupying the office. Instead, SB 271 will allow for a broader pool for candidates with more diverse skill sets, lead to greater gender and ethnic diversity in candidates, and provide for better management of Sheriff Departments," Caballero's office wrote in a statement.
It would not prevent candidates with law enforcement experience from running or occupying the office.
Caballero's office said the requirement was put in place after prisoner's rights attorney Michael Hennessey was voted in as Sheriff for San Francisco County and spent 32 years in that position. Law enforcement said they preferred having former members of law enforcement with certificates as Sheriff.
Residents of District 12-- which includes Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Salinas, Soledad, Hollister and San Juan Bautista-- can take Caballero's survey here.
Read the full text of SB 271 below.