PUBLIC CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS
September 22, 2021
Tomorrow, a local newspaper will release a story about the department’s long overdue creation of a Public Corruption Unit. The Sheriff’s Department has been conducting public corruption investigations for decades under every single sheriff, but it has never been formalized until recently. The department has been investigating multiple complaints of public malfeasance since I took office in December of 2018, which is well within the authority of the department consistent with California Government Code Section 25303 and 26600. As a matter of fact, the California Constitution bestows investigative authority to the Office of the Sheriff as an independently elected official, and who is not subordinate to any other elected official in the county. This is of particular significance when the community is demanding transparency and accountability from all elected and appointed officials. No one is above the rule of law.
In the article, the reporter will push the narrative that I created this team to attack my political opponents and their appointees. This is false. The sole responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department is to investigate allegations of criminal conduct as they are discovered, regardless of how inconvenient it may be to the subject of the investigation. The unit is supervised by the Undersheriff, and I have recused myself from all decision making to avoid any potential conflict of interest. The department routinely seeks out the opinion of the District Attorney, the State Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to decide jurisdictional issues and appropriate prosecutorial venues on all cases.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva