New Interim San Diego County Sheriff is selected
San Diego County on Tuesday has a new sheriff who will serve out the remainder of former Sheriff Bill Gore’s term.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors had three people to choose from: Michael Barletta, a retired commander from the Sheriff’s Department; Edwin Brock, a retired lieutenant from the department who now serves as police chief in the town of Arvin in Kern County; and Anthony Ray, who’s currently an Assistant Sheriff here, overseeing courts and human resources.
Before the board's vote, they heard comments from several people who did not approve of any of the candidates.
“We want in that place for the Attorney General Rob Bonta to take over in this interim period of 9 to 10 months," said Yusef Miller of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition as he testified to the board Tuesday morning. Their main issue is the number of deaths in county jails. For years, San Diego County has had the highest jail mortality rate among California’s largest counties.
After some questioning of the candidates, the board voted and it was unanimous.
“The results are that Anthony Ray received five votes from all five supervisors,” said Andrew Potter, the clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
After the Board of Supervisors made their decision, a group of racial justice advocates held a news conference in front of the County Administration Center. They were not happy.
“Take this seriously, don’t wait for the next one, two three, four, five people to die before you take this seriously and intervene," said Darwin Fishman of the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego.
“While this Board of Supervisors sits still and idle, trying to use bureaucracy to hide behind, they are at fault as well," said Tasha Williamson, a local racial justice advocate.
But, shortly after being selected, Ray said the department has been working to fix problems with the jails pointed out in a scathing audit done by the state earlier this year.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that the Sheriff’s Department worked side by side with the auditors to create some of the recommendations that we’re actually implementing right now and in fact some of those implementations we started before the audit started and now we shared them with the audit committee and they approved those," Ray said.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher issued a statement that said in part that "Anthony Ray has demonstrated a commitment to reducing violent crime, improving the conditions in our jails, and embracing law enforcement best practices, along with a commitment to racial justice."
He’ll serve until a new sheriff, to be elected in November, takes office next January.