Incumbent Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern is running against two other law enforcement officers in the June 7 primary election, according to the county’s registrar of voters.
Alameda County sheriff’s Cmdr. Yesenia Sanchez and San Francisco Police Officer Joann Walker are also vying for the role.
Ahern became sheriff in 2006 and is seeking a fifth term. He is a lifelong Alameda County resident, born and raised in Oakland. Ahern developed and Alameda County hosted the controversial Urban Shield law enforcement conference, which is no longer held in the county following a loss of $5 million in funding.
The Sheriff’s Office began Urban Shield to prepare first law enforcement officers for an attack like 9/11.
But critics said that the training program is militaristic, racist and xenophobic and has a negative impact on communities of color and immigrants.
Also, under Ahern, the Sheriff’s Office must comply with the terms of a legal agreement regarding poor treatment of inmates with mental health challenges at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Sanchez, a veteran Sheriff’s Office employee, assumed the role of division commander in 2020. She oversees and manages Santa Rita Jail.
Sanchez has been a Sheriff’s Office employee since 1997 when she started as a technician. She was born in Hayward and has always lived in California.
Walker is a veteran San Francisco law enforcement officer, serving in the department for 26 years. She is an Alameda County resident. In 2016, she won a U.S. Attorney General’s award for community policing and has won at least one award as a volunteer suicide prevention crisis counselor in Alameda County.