Candidates for Shasta County Sheriff talk hot topics

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The race for Shasta County Sheriff heats up as the June 5 election draws nearer. Incumbent Sheriff Tom Bosenko points to his experience as a reason he deserves the vote of Shasta County residents.

John Greene, Bosenko's first opponent since his election in 2006, thinks the department needs new leadership. He says, "we need to rebuild the sheriff's office from within."

When KRCR News Channel 7 sat down with the two candidates, they were asked about the following topics:


Greene: "I was assigned to the jail, patrol, investigations, administrative assignment, patrol sergeant in charge of internal affairs investigations, equipment, a lot of different duties. I believe all those rolls I played in my tenure with the sheriff's office qualifies me to be sheriff."

Greene worked for the Sheriff's Department for 27 years.

Bosenko: "Those [Greene's] rolls were not in leadership, executive management organizational skills, those were in areas like school resource officer, range master and other things. I have another background when I was developing and moving forward in the organization I was a K-9 officer, a K-9 supervisor, a SWAT team member, SWAT team leader, field training officer, dive team member, I was in charge of our neighborhood policing unit."

Bosenko said he has 38 years of experience.

Bosenko: "There are significant differences between the two of us. In overall experience, education, knowledge of the job, and also the ability to be ready and prepared to be sheriff. My opponent was a first line supervisor as a sergeant, has no management experience, no executive leadership experience, such as a lieutenant or a captain. Little, if any, budget experience, Limited amount of collaborations and teamwork with other allied agencies where I've established that not only in my previous positions as sergeant, lieutenant, and captain, but especially as sheriff over the last 12 years."

Jail Space

Greene: "The state was offered and the sheriff's office was awarded grants in the past, one about 6 or 7 years ago for over 30 million dollars and the board of supervisors turned it down. The public was, I'll say ill-informed by the sheriff's office at the time and the board voted it down and that money ended up being taken by Butte County who is in the process of almost completing another jail facility or adding on jail space there. Then around 2 years ago we had another grant for around 20 million dollars and again the public voted no and again I believe the public was ill informed on that and that would be my job as sheriff to inform the public when those moneys become available and rally the board of supervisors to spend the public's money on public safety."

The county in 2012 did not take the grant offered by the state because there was concern about operating costs of a larger jail.

Greene: "My plans are to look at every option available to increase jail space immediately. Utilizing other county facilities possibly, and looking for state money to build facilities. The problem with that right now is that even if we were awarded a new grant, the jail space or a new jail is years in the making. It's going to take years and years to build and staff that facility. There will be no stone left unturned by me to increase jail space."

Bosenko: "I've been working on these jail plans for a number of years since 2007 when we first got approved for some funding and then when those things didn't come to fruition I didn't accept no for an answer and we look at where we are able to expand on the 60 beds and we'll be adding some showers into the jail and that should be done by the first of the year."

Bosenko: "With the additional 60 beds, it will increase about $500,000 - $600,000. There will need to be additional staff with an additional nurse for medical care and additional correctional deputies for in the jail. That's still a bargain at what we are looking at to where you don't have to build and operate a complete new facility which would be somewhere around $3 - 4 million of additional operation costs. Between the beds costing about a million dollars and adding the showers, it is a new cost of operations. If we were to build a facility, it's roughly about $300,000 according to the public works department, per bed to build a new facility so this is actually a pretty good bargain and the county has looked at their finances and dipped into some accounts to pay for that one time cost of the showers and they have the ability to pay for those and get up and running."

Deputy Shortage

Greene: "The sheriff's office has lost a tremendous amount of personnel due to attrition with retirements due to deputies leaving for other agencies and other jobs and not necessarily for higher pay."

Bosenko: "We definitely need more deputies on the streets, we have some on training right now that are coming off on training. We've got some people in the academy that will be coming out really soon to fill the vacant positions but with the positions we lost over the years with the budget and the great recession, those do need to get replaced and it is challenging for recruitment and we do need more and better pay and benefits to attract those qualified individuals because it is a very competitive market throughout the state and here locally for salary and benefits for our officers who are very much under paid."

Social Media Debates

Greene: "I do want to dispel some rumors that have been going around that I have said the sheriffs office is corrupt. That is an erroneous statement, those words have never come out of my mouth. It is not corrupt, we just need new leadership."

When asked about social media, Sheriff Bosenko said people are entitled to their opinions and their first amendment rights. He did agree voters should be focusing on other things.

Why you?

Greene: "Why me? I feel that I would be remiss in my 27 career and present new ideas to the sheriffs office if I didn't try this and it's from the heart. I've hated to see how it's deteriorated over the last 10 to 12 years and it needs change, it needs leadership. We don't need management anymore, we need leadership and we need to develop leaders within the sheriff's office and within the community with the community input."

Bosenko; "My work is not done as sheriff. There are still things I want to address such as those jail beds and getting more deputies on the streets and addressing crime and other issues that impact our community and our citizens. I'm the person for the job with the knowledge, the experience, and the established relationships to continue to make those improvements for our citizens here in Shasta County.

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