Read our exclusive Q&A with Orange County sheriff candidate Darryl Sheppard.
Why have you decided to run for county sheriff?
The current system is broken and I believe this is a once in a generation opportunity to change the way law enforcement operates, making it more transparent and responsive to the modern day needs of our citizens.
Why should citizens elect you to this position?
I am the only candidate who is a lifelong democrat and I am the only candidate that represents actual change and not more of the same. If we keep recycling the same people and expecting different results, that’s the definition of insanity.
What are the three biggest needs of the Sheriff’s Department now, and what would you do to fill that need?
The sheriff's office currently deserves to have adequate funding for its staff and deputies. I will make sure our deputies have competitive pay and affordable healthcare with affordable premiums. Our bravest deserve nothing less than the best.
Despite population growth, Orange County's overall crime rate dropped nearly 4 percent in 2017. What is your strategy to continue this trend?
My administration will keep the trend by acknowledging areas of over-policing and a policy of no more minor drug-related arrests. Resources will be shifted towards treating addicts as a medical condition and a greater emphasis on access to mental health care. We will focus on violent crimes, white collar crimes and doubling down on human trafficking. I'm also in favor getting rid of red-light cameras.
Some west orange residents have expressed frustration with Orange County Sheriff's Office response times. What measures would you consider taking to improve police response times?
An entire examination of current processes and procedures will be conducted. With the use of the most up-to-date technology and reallocating deputies to cover a wider range – response times will be competitive with any other agency in the state.
If elected, how would you promote community involvement and improve communication between the department and the public?
I would increase accountability and transparency throughout the agency, mandating body cameras for all deputies at times of citizen interaction. I would also create a citizens review council with real authority and access and encourage participation from all areas and diversities within the county.
How would you work to keep incarceration rates down?
Changing policy and acknowledging we live in an over-criminalized environment. Many laws and policies need to be updated to reflect the modern day society. This means not locking up people with addiction or mental disorders and, instead, treating them in medical facilities. I want more people filling out job applications and not filling up jail cells. The economic impact of this would benefit our community greatly.