Sheriff Laurie Smith has been a trailblazer in promoting qualified women and minorities into leadership positions in the Sheriff’s Office. She has disciplined and fired those who were shown to be racists and bigoted against women. We need her leadership. That’s why I urge you to join me in supporting Laurie Smith for Sheriff.
In two decades as the county’s sheriff, Laurie Smith’s legacy includes both accomplishments and mistakes, and as she runs for a sixth four-year term, her challengers have sought to direct attention to the latter.
Smith’s department’s investigation led to the successful prosecution of Sierra LaMar’s killer and she’s been out front on women’s issues—from rape cases at Stanford and De Anza College to the suicide of a West Valley high school student shamed on social media.
Much of the controversy surrounds the management of California’s fifth largest jail system, which was returned to the sheriff’s control in 2010 after a failed 13-year effort to run an independent Department of Correction. The Board of Supervisors stripped Sheriff Robert Winter of that responsibility in 1987 after a judge sentenced supervisors to jail for mismanaging the overcrowded system, and costs spiraled out of control. Eight years ago, the board had enough confidence in Smith to consolidate both departments under the control of a single executive.