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About

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Meet Rafael

I am running for Albany County Sheriff because I am the most qualified, trained, and experienced candidate for this position.

My education, police training, and thirty years of experience in patrol, investigations, jail operations, community policing, and supervision have prepared me for Sheriff. While serving in the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Agency, I saw the devastation of a community with a high violent crime rate. A community where violent crime, sexual assault, armed robbery, and burglary are rampant, and domestic violence and child abuse are fueled by drug addiction and alcoholism.

Yet, I also witnessed the resiliency of a community that strives to build a safe place for its children. Citizens, at personal risk to themselves and their families, report crimes, identify themselves as witnesses and testify in court. Through their elected officials, local police, community and neighborhood associations, and faith-based initiatives they work to retake, rebuild and maintain their communities.

 

Here in Albany County, the situation is not so dire. Yes, we do have personal and family violence, theft, drug addiction, and citizens at-risk due to mental illness. As Sheriff, I will work collaboratively with the Laramie Police Department, UW Police, Probation, Parole, and Community-Based Organizations to propose, discuss, and implement new ideas to address these issues. As Sheriff, I will create an understanding that not every problem requires a “law enforcement solution”, and that there are other avenues to resolve problems to which we must avail ourselves.

 

Then, when rigorous law enforcement is required, the relationships that I have built will multiply the resources and capabilities of the Sheriff’s Office to effectively tackle the problem. The community will be supportive of these initiatives because they have confidence that I, as the Sheriff, have explored other alternatives.

 

Since 9/11, through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Patriot Act, there has been an erosion of our Constitutional rights, especially our Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful Search & Seizure. As Sheriff, I will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As Sheriff, I will evaluate participation in Federal initiatives that may impact the rights of citizens, and stand for Personal Liberty.

 

My life and professional experience, together with the knowledge of the political environment and challenges currently facing policing, make me the most qualified candidate for the position of Albany County Sheriff.

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My Platform

My Platform
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As Sheriff, I set the tone for the Sheriff’s Office. I believe that all people, regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, immigrant status, party affiliation, sexual orientation, and disability are equal before the law. All peace officers shall treat others with respect, compassion, and a recognition of their Constitutional rights. Police services, arrests, and investigations are to be made without bias and within the law.

The Sheriff’s Office currently suffers from the legacy left by the former Sheriff. Several of his decisions, together with a lack of transparency and accountability, have severely damaged the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office. There has been a loss of public confidence to which current staff must contend. Regardless of their excellent work, the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office has been overshadowed by his past actions.

The current personnel shortages, with deputies leaving for other law enforcement agencies or retiring, are a reflection of the lack of morale created by the former Sheriff who lost his ability to lead. As Sheriff, I will confront this legacy and provide the leadership the Sheriff’s Office has been lacking. My decisions will be based on the law, sound personnel management, and an understanding of personal dynamics developed over thirty years of active policing. I will repair our relationship with the community, and I will advocate for my staff to rebuild the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office.

Accountability

As Sheriff I will build the agency into a professional, disciplined force which acts within the law and exercises good judgment. I recognize there must exist procedures for the public to challenge perceived or actual misconduct. By strengthening the citizen complaint process, I will provide an effective means to identify and address misconduct and build public confidence.

As Sheriff, I will insist that deputies follow the law, the Operations Policy Manual, and exercise good judgment. If they do and are involved in a highly controversial incident, I will lend support and shoulder the controversy with them.

Budget

I have worked with budgets. As the new Sheriff, I will also have the assistance of Command staff and civilian personnel currently administering the budget and grants. I will avail myself of County staff who have historical knowledge essential for making appropriate financial decisions. This will ensure that I manage the Sheriff’s Office in a financially sound manner.

Morale

Morale is important for a cohesive well-run organization where employees exceed expectations. I will provide leadership that encourages employees to build their careers in a non-politicized environment where everyone is judged by their performance, and where assignments and promotions are free of cronyism and favoritism. I will encourage employees to approach management with concerns. I will support employees when confronted with public criticism. If the criticism is justified, I will seek an appropriate resolution.  Employees want the support and recognition of the Sheriff. They want their good work to be acknowledged in the community.

As Sheriff, I will clearly define and hold employees accountable to the goals and standards of conduct of the Sheriff’s Office. Employees will know that misconduct that damages the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office will be identified at its source and addressed. By this approach, I will limit damage to the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office so that the integrity of uninvolved employees remains unsullied. As Sheriff, I will openly address issues brought by the public.

Non-Sworn and Civilian Staff

The Sheriff’s Office cannot succeed without dedicated and competent non-sworn and civilian employees. Their years of service, expertise, dedication, and commitment are essential to an effective Sheriff’s Office. They must be afforded the same respect and support as all other Sheriff's Office employees.

All employees must be appreciated, capably led, managed, and supervised. They must be properly trained, and supported with the resources needed to do their assignments. An effort must be made to allow for future growth and promotion.

As Sheriff, I will create opportunities for city and rural civilian volunteers based on the model of the Albany County Search & Rescue. Additionally, I will seek the assistance and expertise of retired sworn and non-sworn employees to assist the Sheriff’s Office in non-law enforcement activities.

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Education
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A. Political Science, 1980

  • Merritt College, A.A, 1975

Professional Training
  • Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Lateral Academy, 2005

  • Standard and Training for Corrections (STC)

  • City of Oakland Police Academy, 1982

  • California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)

  • Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Supervisory Certification

  • Homicide, Robbery, Commercial Security (POST)

  • Gaming and Card Room Investigation, California, Department of Justice

  • Fraud/Forgery Investigation, San Jose State University

  • Narcotic Enforcement, California Department of Justice

Professional History
  • Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Sheriff, 2005 – 2013

  • City of Oakland Police Department, Sergeant of Police, 1982 – 2005

Other Appointments
  • Founder - Latino Advisory Committee on Crime (LACC)

  • President – Latino Police Officers Association (LPOA), Alameda County Chapter

Peace Officer Experience

Experience in patrol procedures, traffic control, preliminary investigations, and community policing. Served as a Field Training Officer (FTO) and provided training, supervision, and personnel evaluations of new officers. Assigned to Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I.), street prostitution, and gang suppression.

  • Patrol. As a patrol supervisor, directed and supervised response to crimes in-progress. Authorized, monitored, and supervised vehicle pursuits. Strategized, directed, and led police response to barricaded suspects, hostage situations and suicidal citizens. Directed Field Training Officers (FTO’s) who provided training, supervision, and guidance to new officers. Directed Evidence Technicians to ensure a crime scene was properly processed, and evidence recovered/secured with a Chain of Custody for prosecution.

  • Investigations. As a criminal investigator, solved and prosecuted suspects for Auto Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Worthless Documents (Financial Fraud), Kidnapping, and Felony Assault. Assisted in Sexual Assault and Homicide investigations which led to the identification and prosecution of assailants. Wrote search warrants and sought arrest warrants which were subject to Judicial review. Worked with both Probation, Parole and the Public Defender to solve crimes, and was responsible for freeing innocent citizens from custody.

  • Community Services. Directed and supervised the Crime Prevention Unit. Directed programs in Commercial Security, Senior outreach/safety program, Youth Safety, and Home Alert. Founded the Latino Advisory on Crime, (LACC), a 501c 3 organization, and oversaw and directed the Asian Advisory Committee on Crime (AACC). Both the Asian and Latino communities were growing rapidly, principally fueled by refugees from the civil conflicts in Central America, Cuban Mariel boat-lift refugees relocating from Florida, and Southeast Asian refugees after the Vietnam War.

  • Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils. Worked with Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPCs) in order to promote safety in neighborhoods for both residents and businesses. Directed community policing officers to work with Neighborhood Services Coordinators (NSCs) to develop partnerships and solve chronic problems.

  • Latino Advisory Committee on Crime. Founded the Latino Advisory Committee on Crime (LACC). Sponsored, planned, coordinated, directed, and evaluated an Anti-Gang Conference held in Oakland, CA. Developed solutions beyond police enforcement and strengthened community involvement. Encouraged and utilized involvement from nontraditional community stakeholders including counselors, mental health workers, immigrant advocates, faith-based organizations, business, and sport activists. Taught a high school class for two years, to recent immigrant students on local customs, law, and police relations.

  • Latino Police Officers Association (LPOA), Alameda County Chapter. President of the LPOA, Alameda County Chapter. Worked to promote equality and professionalism in law enforcement, and diversity in police hiring and promotion. Provided mentoring, scholarships, youth camp activities, and community education regarding police services. Participated in a California statewide consortium to create reforms after the 1992 Rodney King incident involving the Use of Force, racial profiling, and Driving While Black/Brown.

 

Detention & Corrections Experience
  • Jail Operations. Responsible for the health, safety, and daily management of inmates in both general lockdown and Administrative Segregation. Assisted outside agencies in physical lineups, search warrants, and covert inmate communications. Responsible for the initial intake of prisoners, medical screening, and psychological assessment. Through the Classification Unit, identified incoming prisoners and appropriately housed them based on criminal history, gang affiliation, substance abuse history, mental health, and the political nature of their offense (crimes against children, racially motivated, etc.)

  • Grievance and Disciplinary Unit. Reviewed, investigated, and resolved both inmate grievances and administered discipline within the law and departmental policy. Conferred with the District Attorney, Defense Counsel (public and private) and other subject-matter experts when appropriate. Reviewed the development of new proposed policies, edited and distributed them throughout the agency, and explained these policies to both inmates and custodial staff. Assisted with implementing policies and procedures to ensure the accreditation of the jail.

 

Management/Supervisory Experience
  • Employee Supervision. As a patrol supervisor, directed and supervised response to crimes in-progress. Reviewed crime reports and arrests to ensure that there was adequate Probable Cause for the arrest, and that the crime report fully documented the incident with witnesses identified and evidence recovered. As a Unit Supervisor, ensured that Unit and Grant goals were achieved and documented.

  • Personnel Evaluation. As a patrol sergeant and unit supervisor, documented officer performance through Personnel evaluations. Credited accomplishments, noted deficiencies, and provided training so personnel could improve, apply for new assignments and prepare for promotion.

  •  Personnel Investigations. Conducted Internal Affairs investigations for allegations of professional or personal misconduct. Both the public and personnel were provided a thorough, unbiased assessment of the complaint, and resolved all complaints in a timely manner.

  • Command Center Operations.

    • Loma Prieta Earthquake Cypress Structure Collapse October 17, 1989. Assigned to Joint Fire/Police Command Center to direct and coordinate rescue operations.

    • Oakland Hills Fire October 19, 1991. Assigned to the Joint Fire/Police Command Center to coordinate response to the Oakland/Berkeley hills fire which destroyed 3,469 homes and apartment units, and killed twenty-five citizens, including an Oakland Police officer evacuating residents.

    • 9-11 attack on September 11, 2001, was responsible for the shutdown of the Oakland International Airport.

    • Raider fan riot January 26, 2003. Supervised police response to a multiple hour riot led by disgruntled football fans.

  • Project Supervision. Participated in community forums, Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils, worked with mental health advocates, substance abuse counselors and faith-based groups to identify, strategize, and coordinate actions to deal with disruptive public disorder, persistent street prostitution, neighborhood narcotics trafficking, and gang activity.

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