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Q&A with Jeff Dirkse-Candidate for Sheriff of Stanislaus County.
6. The legalization of marijuana has increased the number of marijuana users by at least 40%. It has also contributed to the opioid crises. What is your position on this issue and how will you address it?

I fully expect to see a dramatic increase in the use of marijuana by our youth. The greater the access, the greater the abuse.

As the Police Chief for the City of Patterson, I have been a vocal opponent to the legalization of marijuana. However, the people have spoken and it is now state law. We will proactively work to enforce the law as written by monitoring and policing the legal business while aggressively seeking out and eliminating the illegal businesses.
7. Retaining deputies is vital to adequate staffing levels. Stanislaus County can not afford to be a training ground for deputies on their way to higher paying jobs. As you have said, incentives are needed. What are some of the incentives you would like to see new deputies get? Is there grant money
available to help cover the costs?

All compensation has to be coordinated through the county, specifically the CEO’s Office and the Board of Supervisors. The Sheriff cannot unilaterally offer incentives or compensation. I have a strong relationship with all five current Supervisors and they are well aware of our staffing challenges. That being said, there are several things that we I would like to evaluate to increase our incentives:

1. Increased pay. More money makes us more competitive.

2. Take home cars. There are several valid reasons for all operations personnel to have take home vehicles, but from a financial standpoint it reduces an employee’s expenses, putting more money in their pockets.

3. Fitness/Wellness incentives. Healthier employees are more productive and less prone to injury or illness.

4. Educational incentives. Compensating employees for higher education benefits them, the department and the community.
8. What will be your top priority as Sheriff and why?

Staffing. It is the No. 1 reason why we cannot increase and expand our services to the residents of Stanislaus County. Before the recession, we were authorized 214 positions in Operations. We are currently authorized 180 with approximately 165 positions filled. The difference of 50
deputies significantly limits our ability to respond to calls for service, reduce response times and conduct proactive investigations. We must resolve this issue through both recruitment and retention.

9. What would you like residents to know about you?

The majority of my adult life has been spent in public service, either to our country in the U.S. Army or to this county as a member of the Sheriff’s Department. Service and public safety define who I am. The position of sheriff requires tremendous leadership experience, which I have. It is not an entry level management position. As a West Point graduate, platoon leader, company commander in Iraq and now as the Chief of Police for Patterson Police Services, I have the leadership, management and administrative experience needed to become the sheriff of Stanislaus County.

10. Sheriff Adam Christianson has always had an open door policy to discuss issues, concerns, etc. As Sheriff, will you embrace the same policy?

Absolutely. I never refuse a meeting with anyone.