Stanislaus County elects a sheriff next year and two candidates have already kicked off their campaigns.
Jeff Dirkse was elected sheriff in 2018 against Juan Alanis in a 52.66 percent to 47.09 percent margin.
Alanis kicked off his campaign on June 19.
Dirkse issued a statement on July 21 saying: “In my last campaign, I pledged that public safety in the county would be my highest priority, and that our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools would be kept safe. I vowed to ensure that our deputies receive the best training and equipment available to more effectively serve our community. I also pledged that our department would increase transparency, so that public trust could be enhanced and fostered. We have met those goals. We have 23 more officers in the department today than the day I was sworn in as sheriff. We have also seen a real decrease in both violent crimes and property crimes. Our deputies now wear cameras, both protecting them and providing a significant tool for enhancing community trust.
“But our work in the department is not yet completed. I remain committed to improving deputy training, public transparency, employee wellness, and innovation in our department.”
Dirkse joined the Sheriff’s Department in 2007 as a patrol deputy, and was promoted to sergeant, detective and later lieutenant. He became Patterson’s chief in May 2015 as part of the county’s contract with that city to provide police services.
Dirkse, 48, a West Point graduate, a former Army Ranger and National Guard commander who served for nearly a year in Operation Iraqi Freedom, grew up in the Turlock area and graduated from Turlock High School. He, his wife and their three children live on a 40-acre almond ranch east of Denair once owned by his parents.
Alanis has spent 26 years with the Sheriff’s Department and served as Patrol Watch Commander, acting Police Chief in Waterford and Hughson, a patrol sergeant, Hughson Contract City Supervisor and supervisor of the Special Vehicle Operations Unit. He worked in the patrol division, as a courthouse bailiff, member of SWAT and SWAT support, a Crimes against Children detective assigned to the Family Justice Center, a School Resource Officer and was the Deputy Sheriff’s Association Vice President.
During a recent interview on the Real Estate Jerky podcast, Alanis talked about how getting involved in the Sheriff’s Explorer program in high school is what prompted his decision to make law enforcement a career. He also talked about how the decrease in penalties for felonies has had a negative impact on law enforcement in this area.
“As Sheriff I would like to actively pursue legislation and meeting with our legislators to lobby with them to get these laws to where they will actually help our victims,” said Alanis.
During the podcast interview, Alanis talked about his priorities in this election.
“There are a handful of things I want to change as Sheriff, things that need to be changed, that have to be changed. One, even though it’s been reported that our morale is very high, I disagree. I’ve been with this department a long time and I’ve worked from the bottom up…A lot of our deputies have expressed many concerns with me and that’s been happening the last month or two,” said Alanis.
The candidate said he would like to boost morale by having more recognition programs.
“A happy employee, you get a more productive employee which benefits not only the office or the department but also the community. It goes a long ways,” said Alanis.
He also said he wanted to make changes to the testing and promotional process in the department.
The candidate filing period opens in December for the June 2022 primary.