Third candidate enters the Tehama Co. Sheriff race

Stephen Harper talks about his candidacy for Tehama County Sheriff-Coroner in the KRCR News Channel 7 studio.

A Red Bluff police officer has launched his campaign for Sheriff-Coroner of Tehama County.

His name is Stephen Harper, and he's been in law enforcement for 14 years.

Harper started as a deputy for the Shasta County Sheriff's Department in 2004, then became a K-9 handler for the Anderson Police Department in 2008. He stayed on with the Anderson P.D. until 2013, and the next year he started work for the Tehama County Sheriff's Office before leaving for the Red Bluff Police Department after less than two years.

Now, Harper works as a Corporal for the Red Bluff Police Department, but he wants to go back to work for the Tehama County Sheriff's Office, but this time as the Sheriff-Coroner.

Harper says his campaign is all about the people, but they may not be the people one expects.

He's upset by the amount of poverty and homelessness in Tehama County, and if elected, he says he'll form a think tank on how to address the problem.

"Everybody likes to put homelessness back on law enforcement. Homelessness is not a crime, it's more of a social issue," said Harper. "As Sheriff, I'm gonna put together a think tank that's gonna involve the Sheriff's Office, mental health, social services, business owners, community leaders and citizens within the county to come together and try to figure out the solution to the increase in it."

Harper worked for the current Tehama County Sheriff, Dave Hencratt, for just under two years and says when he was there, citizens were always complaining about the way other deputies treated them when they reported crimes.

"We just don't report crime anymore. All we're being told is there's nothing we can do about it. And that's coming from the citizens. To me, taking the oath I did, that's not acceptable to me," said Harper.

Harper wants more transparency and visibility.

According to him, if he's elected there will be more town hall meetings, more deputies on patrols through neighborhoods, and they'll check up on businesses.

Harper says he was never interested in power, he just wants to make a difference.

The Tehama County Sheriff's Office primary election is on June 5.

Right now there are at least three people running: Harper, Sheriff Hencratt, and Mike Swithenbank.

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