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Sonoma County Gazette
John Mutz

OPINION: Our Challenge in Sonoma County

Feb 1, 2018


By John Mutz, Candidate for Sonoma County Sheriff

I believe we in Sonoma County like much of our country are at a crossroads. We are a microcosm for a much larger debate in our country.

We can either lead or follow.  We can defy our fears and cynicism and seize the opportunity we have to make change happen or we can do what we have always done. I believe we are ready for this change.

Experience matters to achieve safety and change

40 years of law enforcement, 10 years as a Captain, 6 years as a Station Commander has taught me if one part of our community is not safe then none of our community is safe.

What is driving the need to change

Sonoma County has spent millions on litigation involving the Sheriff’s Office. While some recent change has happened due to pressure, we have a long road to go.

The County Law Enforcement Task Force made recommendations following the tragic death of a 13-year-old child and many of these recommendations followed President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force. These recommendations can be implemented now with the necessary will and knowledge. Transparency is the key to improving.

What does it take to lead change

In 1991, I faced my own personal crossroads. I had risen through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Force quietly dissatisfied with the status quo but feeling like I could not change it. It was not until the horrific beating of Rodney King that I could be silent no more and realized that I need to be the catalyst to lead that change.

In the following six years in four different commands we replaced a system of quotas with an ethic that valued respect and engagement that changed the lives of both police officers and community members alike.

When a new Chief was appointed and demanded we go backwards, I could not stay on the LAPD. I left and focused on training with an international firm.

So I know this kind of change has to be led at the top to happen. And the change will not last. However we know it can be done and how to do it.

What we are up against and what we have to gain

The status quo does not work.  It is not healthy for our County, it cost us money, does not adequately support the members of the Sheriff’s Office, and undermines trust in the community.

I am running for Sonoma County Sheriff to permanently shift the culture of the Sheriff’s Office that will make the community safer, reduce unnecessary costs, insure on-going quality training, improve morale of both sworn and civilian members of the Sheriff’s Office and build better relationships in the community.

I am asking all of you to join in our effort, support us and vote for John Mutz for Sheriff on June 5th.


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