The Sacramento County sheriff’s race heated up on April 6 as its candidates shared their views on local issues during an hour-long online debate hosted by The Sacramento Bee.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove and Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Jim Barnes are running to become the county’s first new sheriff since 2010. The primary election will be June 7.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones announced in January that he would run for the state’s newly redesigned 3rd congressional district, which includes parts of Sacramento, as well as other areas.
Barnes, a 24-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, has Jones’ endorsement.
As a 30-year law enforcement veteran in the sheriff’s office, Cooper is no newcomer to the sheriff’s race, as he narrowly lost to Jones in the 2010 election. approval from Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
The candidates addressed the recent downtown Sacramento shooting that left 12 injured and six dead. It was reported that the shooting was a gang dispute involving at least five gunmen.
“Those guys who had guns, those five, should never have had guns — on probation and on parole,” Cooper said.
The Assemblyman also highlighted his passion for fighting “soft” criminal laws.
“That’s why they call me the ‘Capitol Cop,'” Cooper said. “In summary: 30 bills for public safety presented. So my voting record on public safety issues is good.
Barnes called the shooting a “multi-layered tragedy”.
“When you talk now as it unfolds and there was gang violence and someone who should have been in jail longer than them and they got out early, and now to have lost a life like this at this level is unacceptable,” he said. .
The undersheriff called for “tougher penalties” for those who use untraceable firearms.
Barnes also responded to Cooper’s comment about being the “Cop in the Capitol.”
“If you look at (Cooper’s) record — and I would ask you to look at his voting record — he sat on the sidelines and didn’t vote on many issues,” Barnes said. “But now he wants to be sheriff.”
In his rebuttal, Cooper pointed out that his work extended well beyond votes, and included major endorsements and his work speaking about victims in the Assembly.
“I was there to fight this fight and get beat up, but I never hesitate, because victims matter, public safety matters to me,” he said. “I’m not a talking head with this (problem).”
Candidates were also asked to speak about their perspective on the role of the Sheriff’s Department in responding to the homelessness crisis.
“When it comes to law enforcement,” Barnes noted, “I think we need to take a more holistic approach when we do that.
“As we continue to bring in peer navigators, people in transitional housing, to be it sheriff alone or law enforcement alone, that’s not the best way to do it. We must continue to work together on these initiatives.
He added that it’s important to have a state-level approach to homelessness mentality with laws that can help people “get the help they need and get them out of the woods.” street”.
Cooper noted that approaching this issue involves both responsibility and compassion in dealing with people in the community with mental illnesses and addiction issues.
He mentioned that in the past two years there have been 100 fires along the American River Parkway where many homeless people reside.
“For the sheriff to go on the boardwalk and start somewhere because the public should enjoy that boardwalk and find places for these (homeless people) to go,” he said.
“Let’s start somewhere, on the boardwalk, because it burned down. The sheriff can do it. As your sheriff, I will.
On the same topic, Cooper stressed the need for change, noting that $15 million has been spent on homelessness in Sacramento, but that crisis “has gotten worse.”
Cooper was also asked to respond to an incident last month in which he attempted to board a flight at Sacramento International Airport with a confiscated semi-automatic handgun in his carry-on. .
He mentioned that as a retired peace officer he can legally carry a handgun.
“I had a lot of threats on my life; I had songs written about killing myself,” Cooper said. “So I believe in CCWs (concealed weapons). I carry this gun. I was traveling out of town for work and failed to get it in the safe.
Barnes called Cooper’s incident at the airport “irresponsible.”
“Part of carrying a gun responsibly is knowing where it is (situated) at all times,” he said.
The April 6 event also allowed candidates to talk about their journey.
Barnes told debate viewers that he had a diverse experience with the sheriff’s department.
“I’ve worked at every level of this organization, from entry-level officer, up through the ranks, to now undersheriff,” he said. “And with that, I was also able to navigate some of the fundamental shifts and changes that our community expects of us.”
He called his career in law enforcement his life’s calling and an opportunity to serve the community by “being able to help those who cannot help themselves and protect those who cannot.” can’t protect themselves.”
Cooper explained why he is running for sheriff.
“I run for three things: change, experience and leadership,” he said.
He also shared details about his experience with the department.
“Thirty years in the sheriff’s department; I retired as a captain, I commanded all the divisions,” he said. “Ten years – a third of my career – I spent in narcotics and gangs.”
Cooper added that he also spent 15 years on the Elk Grove City Council, during which he served as the city’s first mayor and helped build the Elk Grove Police Department.