New sheriff in town | April 29, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - April 29, 2022

New sheriff in town

Five candidates seek the job of departing county Sheriff Laurie Smith

by Sue Dremann

As the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office remains embroiled in controversy over alleged corruption and mismanagement, five candidates vying for Sheriff Laurie Smith's seat will be tasked with proving they can restore public confidence in the law enforcement agency. Voters in the June 7 primary will determine which two candidates move on to the general election in November.

Under Smith, deputies murdered a mentally ill inmate, and others in custody have been injured, costing the county millions of dollars in settlements. Her top brass faces charges of corruption and bribery, and the state Attorney General is investigating her office for civil rights violations. Her failure to produce documents to the county's Office of Correction and Law Enforcement Monitoring caused the county Board of Supervisors to unanimously confer a vote of no confidence on her last August.

She now faces potential removal from office after being accused by a civil grand jury of corrupt misconduct. While she fights the charges against her, Smith, 69, has decided not to run for re-election in the 2022 race after 24 years at the helm.

The sheriff oversees more than $188 million and 711 staff members (and an additional 1,080 staff and $200.6 million for the Department of Corrections), Four of the contenders for her seat are law-enforcement veterans, a requirement for the office: Sean Allen, Kevin Jensen, Bob Jonsen and Christine Nagaye. The fifth candidate, Ahn Colton, 48, lists herself as a mother. She could not be reached for an interview. In a Silicon Valley Public Accountability Foundation questionnaire of the candidates, Colton framed her responses in Constitutional terms: The sheriff protects the citizens and upholds their Constitutional rights. She said she would have an ongoing "meet the deputies" program to improve the agency's relationship with the community.

Can the candidates straighten out the sheriff's office, restore the public's confidence in its transparency and accountability and reform its jail system?

In alphabetical order, here's what they had to say.

Sean Allen — He's experienced both sides of law enforcement

When he was 19 years old, Sean Allen was wrongfully accused, briefly incarcerated and ultimately exonerated in Santa Clara County for a crime he didn't commit.

"I was booked, stripped and housed on the same floor where Michael Tyree got murdered," he said, referring to a mentally ill inmate who was beaten to death by sheriff deputies in 2015.

He didn't let his experience embitter him. Instead, he chose a career in law enforcement so he could institute reforms while keeping the public safe, he said. He has worked for a sizable chunk of his career in the same jail where he was once incarcerated as a scared teenager.

Allen, 51, is a 32-year veteran and sergeant of the sheriff's office. He has served in patrol, the gang unit, as a reserve training officer, administrative training officer, emergency response team leader and training officer, housing unit training officer in the jails and academy instructor. He is a former Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers' Association board member and a lifelong martial artist and instructor. He lives in south San Jose with his wife and blended family of four children.

Endorsements: The Rev. Jethro Moore, chaplain of Buffalo Soldiers Silicon Valley Chapter and the Silicon Valley NAACP immediate past president; Eric Taylor, retired assistant sheriff; and multiple retired sheriff's deputies.


Why he says he's the best-qualified candidate

Allen says his broad experience as a patrol cop, training officer, jail officer and in the gang unit and as an investigator make him the well-rounded candidate for sheriff. He also understands both sides of the law due to his early arrest and the racism he has encountered within the system.

He has extensive experience working in corrections and as a trainer and isn't shy about standing up for what he believes in and speaking out about the improvements he believes are needed. He openly criticized the department's RedMan training of deputies, who spar with a proctor who wears a fully protective padded suit, after the 2020 death of a recruit during an intensive defensive-tactics-training session.

Jail reform and use of force

Allen said he has seen an increase in the number of inmates with mental illness during his career. As a sergeant in the jails, he has trained officers in de-escalation techniques to better handle inmates in crisis.

As sheriff, he would make mental health treatment a priority and would work collaboratively with other police agencies and county, state and agencies to address issues that lead to incarceration, including homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness.

Allen said he would also focus on proper training of deputies in de-escalation techniques so that uses of force and weapons are last responses. He would support deputizing mental health professionals to work in the jails.

"Putting mentally ill people in jail with a bunch of cops (is a bad idea). We're not adequately trained to provide long-term care for people," he said.

He supports more mental health care facilities for inmates with psychiatric conditions. Otherwise, "we're going to continue to fail those human beings," he said.


"Management is the first place you have to start to change the culture," Allen said.

He would search for management-level staff outside of the department when hiring to break up cronyism, he said. He wouldn't tolerate misconduct among any personnel, regardless of rank. He would have a no-tolerance policy for corruption, discrimination or misconduct, including racist, sexist or homophobic speech and actions.

Allen said he would work to create a culture in which anyone in the sheriff's office could come forward to report misconduct without fear of retaliation.

"I know where the bad apples are. The sheriff should hold his or herself to the same standards as the public.You can't take the Fifth. You have to stand up to the standards to which you took an oath," he said.

He also supports the establishment of a civilian review board with subpoena power to investigate misconduct allegations.

Encryption of police-scanner communications

When asked for his stance on whether full encryption of radio communications is necessary, Allen said: "Radio encryption is just another way to prevent being transparent by law-enforcement agencies. There are other ways to protect confidential information. There's already a common practice in law enforcement to switch to a different channel for private conversations. In most agencies that use a 10 code, the common term is '10??"3' (switch to channel ___) to go to a different channel for confidential information. Other agencies use cell phones, Nextel, or computers," he said.

Communities of color

Allen is the only African American in the sheriff's race, he noted. Growing up mostly in east San Jose, he used to go to a local church for free food when he was 15 and living with his mother, who had a substance-abuse problem.

"My exposure to these things has given me a different insight," he said.

He has been married to mixed-race women who were from white, Asian and Hispanic backgrounds.

The early defining experience of his arrest taught him about the perspectives of people with criminal records and about how racism and stereotyping can destroy lives. Even after a finding of innocence, his arrest haunted him each time he applied for a job, he said.

"In the sheriff's office, I was referred to as OJ Simpson," he said.

The false arrest "gave me the determination to become a law enforcement officer who is fair, just and treats everyone I encounter equally."

Allen said he would be a hands-on sheriff. He would wear the uniform and be out in the community and working alongside his deputies. He would institute listening sessions with the community and hear about any problems people have with deputies or other personnel, he said.

The most important quality he wants in his deputies

Allen wants employees with integrity, commitment, objectivity and who are problem solvers. He looks for people who are willing to do the right thing even if it's not popular, he said.

Kevin Jensen — A well-rounded retiree who wants to rebuild trust

"Everyone has a story," retired Santa Clara County Sheriff Capt. Kevin Jensen said during a recent interview, prefacing his own of a tough upbringing.

A self-described "trailer-trash kid," he lived in the city of Fontana, a high-crime area then derogatorily called "Felony Flats."

Jensen said he grew up in a dysfunctional household with a troubled father who ended up incarcerated.

"The earliest memory I have is of people bringing food," he said.

He was later raised in San Francisco after his mother remarried a functional alcoholic.

Jensen met his wife at Bible college and they married at age 19. A job prospect led him to San Jose, where his wife spotted a recruitment sign for deputy sheriffs. It became his lifelong career, taking him through nearly every opportunity the profession had to offer, he said.

Jensen, 58, is a repeat candidate for Santa Clara County sheriff, having previously fought for the seat in the 2014 election against incumbent Smith.

Jensen worked in the sheriff's office for more than 29 years, retiring in 2013. He rose to the rank of captain and held the post of assistant chief in the Department of Correction for two years.

While at the sheriff's office, he was the Stanford Department of Public Safety liaison, county jail administration commander, court security division commander and administrative coroner. He was the risk and information-sharing program manager for the Urban Area Security Initiative and was tasked with terrorism prevention, mitigation, response and recovery for the 12-county Bay Area region. In late 2012, he served as the initiative's statewide risk-program manager.

He has been an independent consultant since his retirement and has taught new recruits and law-enforcement managers. He is a former president of the California Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates.

Endorsements: wide ranging, including the Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Santa Clara County Correctional Police Officers Association, multiple fire and police groups and individuals, including retired Palo Alto police Chief Dennis Burns.


Why he says he's the best-qualified candidate

"I've done about every job you can do. I've had a really well-rounded career," he said, noting he was also assistant chief of the Department of Corrections running the jail before it was taken over by Smith.

If elected, he would be a different kind of sheriff from Smith, who had once been his professional partner. He would tell his deputies: "Follow the mission. You don't serve the master."

One of the first things he would do is work on changing the culture in law enforcement toward being forthcoming about bad players and incidents they see while on the job.

"A lot of people are duck-and-cover and think they have to be blindly loyal to get ahead," he said.

He would also work to build trust in the community between deputies and residents so they will feel more comfortable reporting crimes.

Jail reform and use of force

Jensen is "100% for front-end mental health services" that help keep people safe and out of jail. He would also work to instill an ethic of maturity and patience in correctional facility officers, who often face trying circumstances with defiant inmates, he said.

He said that the sheriff's office should still run the jail, but he is willing to listen to members of the Board of Supervisors who think it should go back to the way it was before Smith took control. Jensen said reform depends on the right leadership.

He would increase contracts with service providers and faith-based organizations to provide mental health assistance.

He said he would also work to break the cycle of fear and intimidation in the jail, where inmates have created a self-governance culture. Back-room beatings make people afraid to go against the shot-callers, he said.

Jensen said the county can't incarcerate its way out of its problems, but he supports a new jail with mental health services and a collaborative approach to care by working with other agencies to address the problems that lead to crime and recidivism.


Jensen said he would run a transparent sheriff's office that would openly communicate with the people it serves rather than hide information.

"Law enforcement has always had a problem with that. They don't want someone peeking behind the curtain," he said.

As sheriff, he would work to change the department's culture starting at the top through internal review and investigations and by improving training and evaluations.

Jensen said he would work to build bridges with the community with greater transparency and communication.

Encryption of police-scanner communications

When asked about SB 1000, Sen. Josh Becker's bill to limit radio encryption, Jensen expressed caution. While favoring "true transparency and information sharing," he also warned that there won't be enough staffing in the near future to accommodate separate encrypted communications about searches of databases for protected personal information.

"Regional systems like SVRIA (Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority) would need to have a voice in the regional interoperability considerations as well. While I am in favor of these efforts towards transparency, I want to ensure that they will be implemented without delay in receiving vital database returns or in any way jeopardizing officers or victims due to such delays," he said.

Communities of color

Jensen, whose wife is Hispanic, said he would sit down with members of the public, particularly the underserved, to work on problems and gain trust.

"We have to earn it. If we don't have a seat at the table, we don't deserve the trust," he said.

As sheriff, he would provide education to the public on how to better protect their neighborhoods, and he would work collaboratively with law enforcement throughout the county.

He would establish school-outreach programs to educate children on crime prevention, gang activity, substance abuse, internet crimes, and other offenses to which they can become prey.

The most important quality he wants in his deputies

Whether on the street or in the jail, officers need to act with integrity, Jensen said. As sheriff, he would work to instill a culture and ethic that is "beyond a warrior mentality." If someone is getting into the job so they can chase a person, they aren't right for the job. They have to get the idea that they are there to serve, even though emotions might sometimes want to get in the way, he said.

For example, when he worked on the Polly Klaas murder case, Jensen said he needed to have self-control.

"Your job is never retribution," he said.

Bob Jonsen — A track record as a leader, but not without his critics

Bob Jonsen, Palo Alto's police chief, is vying for a job once held by his great-uncle, Jonathan Sweigert, who was Santa Clara County Sheriff from 1887 to 1891. During his more than three-decade career, Jonsen has taken on a number of law enforcement roles, both professional and fictional: He once held an intergalactic position as a stormtrooper in the original Star Wars movie, according to his candidate webpage.

Jonsen, 59, a Palo Alto resident, has worked in law enforcement for 36 years. After attending high school in Novato, he spent 27 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. As coordinator of the Antelope Valley Crime Fighting Initiative, his programs reduced crime by 29%, and the initiative received the statewide James Q. Wilson Award for Community Policing in 2010, he said.

Jonsen moved north to become Menlo Park's police chief in 2013, and then he became Palo Alto's chief in 2018. He announced his retirement this year and plans to step down in mid-June.

Under Jonsen, the department banned neck holds and advocated for the new public safety building, which is under construction. He has instituted mindfulness strategies to improve officers' well-being.

Jonsen has been criticized, however, for a lack of transparency, including his January 2021 decision to encrypt all police radio communications, without warning, which prevents the media and other members of the public from monitoring and independently verifying incidents and police activity.

He took the action due to a 2020 Department of Justice directive that prohibits the public dissemination of personally identifiable information such as names and driver's license numbers. The DOJ doesn't require blanket encryption and allows for workarounds, but Jonsen did not create any, community critics have said.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office also encrypts its radio communications.

The city has also faced a number of lawsuits during Jonsen's tenure, alleging excessive use of force by Palo Alto officers. The city paid a $572,500 settlement for the violent 2018 arrest of Gustavo Alvarez at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, which also sparked an FBI investigation. The city also paid out $135,000 after a Palo Alto officer directed a K-9 to repeatedly bite a man who was sleeping in a shed during a manhunt for a kidnapping suspect.

Another man, Julio Arevalo, filed a $10 million federal lawsuit after an officer slammed him to the ground and shattered his eye-socket bone in 2019. The case is still pending.

Jonsen and his wife, a doctor, have two sons and a young grandson.

Endorsements: police chiefs and top law enforcement including those in Los Altos and Menlo Park; multiple members of Jonsen's community advisory group, among others.


Why he says he's the best-qualified candidate

Jonsen pointed to his years of experience as a chief and leader of law enforcement organizations that depend on professional experience to thrive.

"For 27 years, I worked for a sheriff's organization. I understand the complexities," he said.

He is the only candidate who has been at the helm of a law-enforcement agency, he noted.

Some of his initiatives in Palo Alto include forming a community advisory committee, which helped inform his relationship with residents and to understand their concerns. Jonsen also touted his efforts to engage with every person on his staff, initiating a one-on-one meeting to gauge their training and experience and areas where they need to improve.

"I have a proven record for establishing strong community policing programs and developing strategic solutions," he said.

Jonsen launched the Palo Alto Police Department's Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) last November, which pairs an officer with a licensed mental health clinician from the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department to provide rapid intervention to people in a mental health crisis. As sheriff, he would advocate for additional funding for mental health programs to help de-escalate crisis encounters.

Jonsen said he would also address lagging recruitment and retention of deputies and staff. When Palo Alto had 13 vacancies, they were quickly filled when officers were given enhanced opportunities and there were more chances to grow professionally, he said.

Jail reform and use of force

Despite the city's settlements for excessive force by his department, Jonsen noted that the city paid out less than $1 million compared to the county, which has paid more than $20 million.

"Training matters, and it influences the outcome," he said.

Jonsen also said that as sheriff he would review the county jail management structure and work to implement the county's blue ribbon panel recommendations for reform.

He also wants to restructure the jails to become educational facilities to help people develop skills so that they can get jobs and not offend again.


Jonsen said he worked hard during the pandemic to retain a dedicated public information officer to address media inquiries, but budget cuts eliminated the position.

Instead, he implemented an online system by which members of the media and the public submit a form and wait for a callback rather than talk immediately to a watch commander.

Despite these changes, and the full encryption of radio communications, Jonsen said he recognizes that the media "is crucial in building trust with the community."

Jonsen acknowledged that excessive-force incidents have occurred, but he said they have been well-reviewed and the involved officers were held accountable, including the departure of officers who were found culpable.

He has attended city Human Relations Commission meetings and other community meetings to discuss concerns in a transparent manner and started the community advisory committee, which meets with him in private, to also address citizens' concerns.

However, in 2019, Jonsen and City Manager Ed Shikada pushed to remove "complaints and investigations of internal personnel or human resources matters" from review by the city's Independent Police Auditor. The change meant that disputes that involve two officers — including an incident in which a police captain was accused of using a racial slur — would be privately investigated by the Human Resources Department and screened from the public.

In 2021, after outcry from the public about the council's approval of the change, Jonsen complied with the council's reversal of the prior decision. The police auditor now reviews supervisory inquiry investigations, internal employee complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, and any use-of-force investigation where a baton, chemical agent, Taser, less-lethal projectile, canine, or firearm is used, or when a subject's injuries as a result of a police use of force require treatment beyond minor medical care in the field, his website noted.

Encryption of police-scanner communications

Jonsen notes that after fully encrypting radio communications, his department launched a "Calls for Service" interactive map that shows incidents to which officers have responded in the past 24 hours. The incidents are listed only after officers have left the scene, however, and do not show the exact locations of the calls.

Communities of color

Equity "is the primary issue of this election — carrying the momentum of the last two years where we have done so much around race and equality," Jonsen said.

His department began recording hate incidents after local hate crimes and incidents increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is also documenting microaggressions to track hate-incident patterns to proactively intervene before they escalate to crimes.

Everyone deserves equal protection "regardless of their ZIP code," he said.

As sheriff, he said, he would continue community policing and engage in outreach to help all areas of the community.

The most important quality he wants in his deputies

"Compassion, respect and integrity. When I have my one-on ones, I lay it out very clearly. Even if force is used, I have high expectations that my officers know the laws," he said.

Christine Nagaye — A reformer who supports 'full transparency'

Christine Nagaye has used challenges throughout her life to achieve her goals. She enlisted in the U.S. Army at 19, became a medic and served five years of active duty. She's used competitive body building to push herself to new heights. Both have required discipline and commitment, attributes she said are important to achieve success and to lead.

Nagaye, 50, has been with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department for 20 years and has been a supervising sergeant for six years. A mother of three, San Jose resident Nagaye said she would always "be there for my deputies."

The number one change she would make as sheriff is increasing transparency.

"It's so lacking. It's embarrassing, everything that has come out in the past 3 to 15 years," she said.

She would also put a stop to abuses by jail staff of mentally ill inmates. Nagaye said she would invest in much more training and in a training unit. If additional money isn't there, she would let deputies take time off from their usual duties to have more thorough training. She would hold instructors accountable for the end results if employees are not properly trained, she said.

Regarding the office's use of its budget, Nagaye said that if elected, "I would hire a forensic accountant to find out where the pitfalls are with money. Who better to have in place to find where this money is going?

"Custody has one budget and enforcement has another. It's being mismanaged now because people in command-staff positions are without a degree in finance and economics," she said.

Endorsements: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley; multiple individual donors, many of whom are Santa Clara County Sheriff deputies.


Why she says she's the best-qualified candidate

"I understand the need for community-based, world-class law enforcement. I'm the only candidate working the line. I see the problems on a day-to-day basis and problems the deputies face," she said.

"Between enforcement and custody, there are 1,200 deputies, but it's rare to see someone in an executive position come down and talk to the people. Sitting in an office all day would drive me nuts. I would be there and listening," she said.

Nagaye said she is a born leader.

"My time in the military is a key component. I can bring together diverse groups of people. Leading with integrity is the biggest thing. I represent the diversity of Santa Clara County. I'm a veteran, a woman and I married a man of color and I'm a LGBTQ ally. That's why I'm great for this position."

Jail reform and use of force

Nagaye supports having a civilian watchdog to audit law enforcement practices and the management of the county jails. After the murder of mentally ill jail inmate Michael Tyree by three guards, who were later convicted, Nagaye helped develop new policies.

"We rewrote and reworked the policy to make sense for this day and age. In this policy there's a lot of focus on mental health and the severely mentally ill. By cooling-off periods for inmates, we slowed things down a lot," she said.

Nagaye is a big believer in de-escalation techniques and training deputies to talk people in crisis down.

"I'm a talker. In the 20 years I've been in this agency I only used pepper spray one time, and I was ordered to use it," she said.

During her training sessions, Nagaye said she focuses on getting deputies to stop thinking about "going hands on" with inmates as a first resort.

"Don't be afraid to bring someone else in," she said, to help de-escalate or assess the situation.

She supports California legislative bill SB 2, which creates a statewide system to revoke the license of a police officer who commits serious misconduct, and SB 16, which requires disclosure of a sustained finding of excessive use of force if an officer failed to intervene when another officer used unreasonable or excessive force.

She would also make sure that all officers rotate among enforcement and custody positions so they have a well-rounded view of inmates and a broad range of experiences.

Nagaye supports funding a mental health wellness center over building a new jail. She would provide social workers and inmate education to help address issues that cause recidivism.

There's also a need to get more money for social services, she said. A high number of mentally ill and the unhoused need more access to social services, education, treatment and housing, she said. She also supports the Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams (PERT). She would retrain more deputies who are on patrol in these skills and add more mental health services onto PERT teams.


She supports appointing a civilian watchdog to audit law-enforcement practices and management.

"I'm 100% in favor of full transparency. From day one, I would be handing over all documents to the Board of Supervisors and (Independent Police Auditor) Michael Gennaco that they have asked for. I have nothing to hide. By showing our complete transparency, it's going to build trust in the community again.

"Just because I'm an elected official doesn't mean I don't have to follow the rules. I'm not above anything. Thinking you can't be held accountable is narcissistic. If the Board of Supervisors says 'Why are you doing this?' I'm not going to get my feelings hurt. I would take things to heart and they would get an answer," she said.

Nagaye said she would also be transparent with the media and would be responsive when the media comes to an event. When people can't get information from the news and the sheriff is not responsive, it creates distrust in the community, she said.

Encryption of police-scanner communications

"I am the only candidate to call for ending the encryption of radios, and I have been calling for the end of this policy since launching my campaign. Ending this policy, which has been adopted by many agencies around the state, is one of the first steps to regaining public trust through transparency, not to mention to support the freedom of the press as protected in the First Amendment," she said.

"The California Highway Patrol and LAPD have shown that there are ways to work around the issues that have been brought up. I have been in contact with Sen. Becker and his office about SB 1000 and support it 100%. When elected, I will end this policy within the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office," she said.

Communities of color

Nagaye's husband is of Japanese ancestry and they have biracial daughters. She said she is concerned about hate crimes, which have dramatically increased in the Bay Area.

"It's scary. My mother-in-law calls me and asks, 'What is best time to go shopping?'" to avoid being attacked. Her father-in-law doesn't know if he will be targeted when he goes out, she said.

"It angers me. I am exposed to it."

Nagaye said the best way for the sheriff's office to support these communities is by building relationships of familiarity and trust by getting involved with and going into the community.

"I want to break bread together" so that people will feel they can trust and confide in the deputies when they face hate crimes or other problems in their communities, she said.

The most important quality she wants in her deputies

"The biggest is honesty. Most are honest and do have integrity. It goes a long way. If you've had an incident, be honest and let me know. The more honest you are, the easier we can approach it. It doesn't always need to be a disciplinary approach. We can do training and have verbal discussions. If you are not honest and you lie on a report and you get caught, then it's hard for me to help somebody," she said.


Posted by PAReader
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2022 at 12:08 pm

PAReader is a registered user.

This is an excellent summary of the candidates' viewpoints on a variety of important topics.

Posted by Lynne Henderson
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Lynne Henderson is a registered user.

Agree with PA reader--to an extent. Nice summaries/interviews that gave me information.

But !

I would never vote for Bob Jensen--he was a lousy Police Chief--opposed transparency, bad eventd under his command, etc.--and the Weekly "conviently" omits the fact that a woman in Barron Park suffered a stroke--and suffered from PAPD's ill-advised "response" once Jensen was Chief.
But I guess no one should care about his lousy handling of anything if he "presents" well.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 29, 2022 at 2:03 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Given the budgets cuts "Jonsen said he worked hard during the pandemic to retain a dedicated public information officer to address media inquiries, but budget cuts eliminated the position.

Instead, he implemented an online system by which members of the media and the public submit a form and wait for a callback rather than talk immediately to a watch commander."

then WHY is PAPD wasting time recycling/ redistributing the City Manager's Uplift newsletter that I now get at least 3 times.

Also, if he's such a big fan of integrity and accountability, why did he and Shikada move to limit accountability and why did it take "public outcry" for him to "comply" rather than right against that move??

"However, in 2019, Jonsen and City Manager Ed Shikada pushed to remove "complaints and investigations of internal personnel or human resources matters" from review by the city's Independent Police Auditor. The change meant that disputes that involve two officers — including an incident in which a police captain was accused of using a racial slur — would be privately investigated by the Human Resources Department and screened from the public.

In 2021, after outcry from the public about the council's approval of the change, Jonsen complied with the council's reversal of the prior decision. "

Posted by WilliamR
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2022 at 2:49 pm

WilliamR is a registered user.

@ Lynne Henderson--

There's 'Jonsen' and 'Jensen' running for sheriff, and I think you mean Bob Jonsen, the Palo Alto police chief.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 3, 2022 at 6:27 am

Annette is a registered user.

The name recognition campaign tactic is going to be very important this time around. Tomato, tomahto. Jonsen, Jensen. Read carefully before marking your ballot so that you don't inadvertently give a vote to the candidate who doesn't support transparency.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.


Register today to support local nonprofits

The 38th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 9. Proceeds go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually to support local nonprofits.

Register Now!