Monterey County Sheriff: Steve Bernal

Party/Affiliation: Republican
Current job: Deputy Sheriff
Family: Wife Leslie, daughter Jennifer, sons Jace and Jordan

Top 3 Priorities if Elected:

1. Hire enough deputies and staff to fill every budgeted position
2. Train deputies for specialized investigative positions, such as Ag Crimes and
Cyber Sex Crimes
3. Communicate with the public through town hall meetings and community

How do you plan to implement these priorities?

1. Staffing: Currently, an unacceptable number of vacant positions exist at the Sheriff's Office. This means that deputies are being forced to work overtime, and millions of dollars has been spent in overtime pay. And, under the current administration, interoffice politics and favoritism has driven away experienced deputies and new recruits alike. People simply don't want to work at the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. Morale is at an all-time low, and as we move into the future this must change. Understaffing is an issue that can be solved by creating an environment that deputies want to be a part of. Under my administration, I will promote based on merit, I will listen to my deputies and I will lead my office with honor and integrity. By restoring moral and emphasizing recruitment, we can attract quality candidates that will serve as the next generation of distinguished deputies.

Understaffing is not only an immediate issue; it prevents us from moving our office into the future. By training the next generation of law enforcement, we can ensure the Monterey County Sheriff's Office will remain an effective agency in the future.

2. Train deputies for specialized investigative positions: An increasing number of crimes in Monterey County are committed by career criminals; repeat offenders who have violated parole, or simply have committed another crime. These criminals cycle in and out of our county jail, and are often released due to a lack of evidence against them. This is unacceptable. Under my 10 year plan, an outline of which can be found at my website, I will train more deputies to work on specialized investigative units. This will allow the Sheriff's Office to build cases against career criminals, keeping them behind bars. It will also make our deputies more effective at identifying patterns in crime. For example, specific crimes such as agriculture crimes or cyber sex crimes require more training to identify and suppress.

By creating specialized units to investigate such criminal activities, our deputies will receive the training necessary to apprehend criminals and prevent crimes from occurring. By training our deputies in specialized investigative fields, I will ensure they are well equipped to protect Monterey County.

3. Communicate with the public: The mission of the Monterey County Sheriff' Office is to protect and serve its community members. However, it cannot uphold this if it is not in constant communication with the people it serves. By refusing to honestly communicate with the public, the current administration has hindered their ability to properly serve Monterey County. Under my administration, I will seek to communicate with the public whenever possible. This includes participating in community activities, and holding regular town hall meetings throughout the county. Through these public forums, each neighborhood will have the opportunity hear the Sheriff's strategy for their community, and the Sheriff will gain a greater understanding of what remains to be done. Another integral facet of community communication is fostering a connection with our youth. I will re-establish the School Resource Officer program, and place deputies on various campuses throughout the county. Not only will this protect our youth, but it will also give at-risk children the role models they may be missing at home. The Monterey County Sheriff's Office must better communicate with the public, if we are to effectively serve and protect our county.

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