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Sheriff Candidates 

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Supervisor District 4 | District Attorney | Sheriff Assessor
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*Adam Christianson – Sherriff-Coroner Stanislaus County (Incumbent)
Tom Letras – Deputy Sheriff

Incumbent Sheriff Adam Christianson is clearly the best choice for Sheriff.  Sheriff Christianson has managed some very difficult issues at the Sheriff’s Department and we feel his opponent, though sincere in his intent and courageous in his challenge, simply cannot match the executive and crisis management experience of Christianson.  The Sheriff keeps close to the business community and his interaction with Chamber members is consistent and enthusiastic, an attribute not only present during campaign season. Based on these examples he deserves reelection.

Click on the circle/plus icon to the left of each question to read each candidates answer.

1.Describe ways in which you as an elected official would encourage a collaborative and cooperative relationship with other units of local government.

Adam Christianson: As Sheriff, we’ve worked very closely with all of our allied agencies, partners, community based organizations and others in an effort to promote a healthy and safe community. The critical key to success are relationships. Without a working relationship built upon trust, collaboration, cooperation and shared vision, you won’t be successful. Our work in the community is built upon those partnerships and relationships. We encourage them through face to face meetings, effective communication, community awareness, public education and promotion of the good in our communities.

Tom Letras: During these times of fiscal crises I feel it is very important to look at ways that we can do more with less. In law enforcement, we need to look at areas where all agencies can work together for common goals. I feel that multi-agency task forces are one way to achieve that goal. We have seen this work successfully with multi-agency units working on task forces to combat gangs, narcotics, auto-theft, and under-age drinking.
I have personally been a part of many of these units and have established working relationships with representatives from departments throughout our county. I will continue to look at more ways that we can work together to achieve a common goal while also saving our county and city’s funding.

2. Modesto needs jobs. As an elected official, how will you contribute to improving the availability of local jobs?

Adam Christianson: Continue focusing on early intervention, prevention and education. Re-building the levels of service and staffing we were forced to cut due to economic chaos. Promote the good things in our community and demonstrate we’re committed to a safer community, despite the challenges, while encouraging businesses to grow.

Tom Letras: The sheriff’s office has many vacancies that currently need to be filled as well as many jobs on the horizon due to jail expansions that are planned. I want to focus on hiring local people who have a vested interest in our communities because it is where they live and raise their children.
I also feel that if we can be more pro-active and work to lower our crime rates, we will be able to attract more businesses and thereby add more jobs. It is no secret that Modesto frequently ranks at the top in the nation when it comes to crime, specifically gangs, drugs and auto theft.
As we work closer with our citizens to take back our communities from the criminals, we will attract more people to our county.

3. If you are elected or re-elected to office, what will be your top issue? Describe the measures you will take to address this number one priority.

Adam Christianson: Re-building the Sheriff’s Office and begin to restore the levels of service, staffing and programs we were forced to cut. Restoration of the Sheriff’s Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs (STING). We currently have 14 Recruits in the Academy and once they’ve graduated and have completed the Field Training Program, we’ll have the resources we need to answer calls for service on patrol and deploy our STING Team once again.

Tom Letras: I think our first priority has to be to fill our vacant positions. We need to be actively recruiting from local colleges and job fairs and look at our discharging military veterans as a source for filling these positions.
In the past several years our department has gotten away from our recruitment efforts and it has resulted in the inability to fill our funded and allocated positions.
I would also like to re-open our local police academy training center. This will give us the ability to oversee the training and recruit the top performers in our academy to work on our streets and in our jails. A local academy will give us an opportunity to have homegrown, local citizens attend our police academy and hopefully stay here and work in Stanislaus County.

4. In your own words, describe the role and responsibility of the office you seek

Adam Christianson: The Office of the Sheriff is a constitutional, non-partisan office. It’s one of the oldest in known history. Elected by the People, the Sheriff is accountable to those he/she represents. The Sheriff commands a work force that’s responsible for general law enforcement services, County Jails, Civil Division, Public Administrator, Coroner’s Office, safety and security of the Superior Court(s), and many other efforts specifically related to public safety. The Sheriff’s Office Mission Statement truly defines what the Office of the Sheriff is responsible for.
We, the members of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department are dedicated to serve and protect the community through the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct by ENFORCEMENT, PREVENTION and EDUCATION in partnership with the community.

Tom Letras: The role of the sheriff is to guide the department and provide for the safety and security of the citizens of our county. The sheriff needs to be active in the community to establish partnerships with our various faith based and other community organizations to focus on meeting the needs of our citizens. I also feel it is very important that the sheriff works closely with their staff to identify areas where we can improve our service. The sheriff needs to be accessible to the media as well as the citizens to make sure that he/she is keeping the pulse of the county and providing top-notch law enforcement and crime prevention services.

5. Is the organization for which you seek office operating with a balanced budget? If not, what are you plans to make the organization more sustainable?

Adam Christianson: Yes, since becoming the elected Sheriff in 2006 we’ve always had a balanced budget. Even while reducing our funding, resources and staffing by 25%, we still effective/efficiently managed the taxpayers money and our budget is balanced.

Tom Letras: I think that the budget has stabilized over the past few years. The problem now has been filling the vacant positions that we currently have.

6. Do you have any experience running a business or any similarly organized enterprise?

Adam Christianson: The Sheriff’s Office is very similar to a business in many respects. We’ve successfully managed the organization since 2006 and we’ve done so very efficiently.

Tom Letras: I have never run a business, but I have always been a leader and a problem solver. I am very good at setting goals and rallying people to work together to achieve them. We need a leader that can work together with the employees and the community to tackle the crime problems that we currently have.

7. Will the decisions you make as an elected official be evaluated as appropriate when the decision impacts local businesses and the economy?

Adam Christianson: I’ve enjoyed the support of the business community and we work well together. We know that the challenges of public safety affect business and the local economy. We’ll always do our best with the resources we have, continuing to work together to promote a healthy and safe community.

Tom Letras: As the sheriff, my number one priority is to the people of Stanislaus County who elect me to serve for them. I think that crime rates have a direct impact on local business and the local economy. We need to focus on our enforcement and education to begin to lower crime rates and make Stanislaus County a safer place to live and work.

8. What is your relationship with locally elected officials in the state legislature? When did you last meet or correspond with one of our locally elected state officials?

Adam Christianson: Excellent! I’m privileged to have great relationships with all of our local, state and federal elected representatives/leaders and we meet/discuss issues on a daily basis.

Tom Letras: Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many of our local elected officials. Once I decided to run for sheriff, I have reached out to many elected officials to learn about what they see as priorities for the sheriff’s department going forward. I feel that I have a mutually respectful relationship with the elected officials that I have had the opportunity to meet.
I do well with fostering positive relationships with others and working together so I feel that will be a benefit once I am elected sheriff.

9. Do you have any potential personal or business issues that may conflict with the office you seek? If so, how do you intend to contend with these issues?

Adam Christianson: No

Tom Letras: I have no personal or business issues that would be a conflict.

10. Are you a member of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and what is your opinion of the Modesto Chamber?

Adam Christianson: Yes, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office is a member and I/we support/promote many different events in the community that benefit education, agriculture and other community disciplines. I’ve enjoyed the support of the Chamber during my re-election campaign in 2010. The Chamber is a critical partner in public safety.

Tom Letras: I am not a member and I am sorry to say that I do not have enough personal experience or knowledge of the Modesto Chamber to offer an opinion. I do look forward to working closely with the Chamber to address any law enforcement needs or issues that you may have once I am elected.

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