“I am excited to announce that I will officially be a candidate for sheriff in the upcoming June election,” said Letras. “I plan to bring common sense and solid leadership back to the sheriff’s department.”
Letras has cited a lack of leadership, low morale in the department and a large number of lawsuits against the sheriff’s department as reasons for his campaign.
“I feel that there is a strong lack of leadership and accountability within the upper administration at our sheriff’s department,” Letras wrote on his campaign website. “One of my major concerns was with the number of deputies that were laid off and the disbanding of the gang unit and community deputies program the past few years.”
Letras said he was frustrated to see the department take such severe cuts.
Letras, a veteran deputy with more than 16 years under his belt, states he has extensive and wide-ranging experience within the sheriff’s department.
He began his career in 1997 after being hired by then Sheriff Les Weidman to work as a custody deputy in the sheriff’s detention facilities. Since that time, Letras has served as the public information officer, a patrol deputy, gang detective, and many other assignments within the department.
Christianson said the cuts had to happen.
“We are accountable to the people and we had to balance the budget,” he said. “Anytime you are forced to make the kind of cuts we had to make in the midst of economic chaos it has an impact on morale.”
According to Christianson’s website the sheriff began his career in public safety, graduating from San Joaquin Delta College with a certification in paramedicine and worked as a paramedic in Stanislaus County for several years including work as a flight paramedic for Medi-Flight of Northern California. He started his law enforcement career with the Ceres Police Department and also worked for the Modesto Police Department before joining the Sheriff’s Department in 1996. He then worked a variety of assignments including patrol, the reservoir unit, K-9 handler and K-9 Unit Supervisor, bailiff, field training officer, hi-tech crimes detective, sergeant and lieutenant.
The Sheriff has a BA degree in Criminal Justice Management from Union Institute & University, graduating in 2006. He is also a graduate of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Course, the POST Executive Development Course, West Point Leadership in Police Organizations and has an Executive Certificate from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
Patterson Police Chief Tori Hughes, a lieutenant within the Sheriff’s Department, had previously announced her candidacy but pulled out of the race in January for medical reasons.
Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or nick@pattersonirrigator.