Everyone in Santa Clara County deserves to feel safe, no matter what their zip code is.
The primary purpose of any law enforcement agency is ensuring everyone who lives, works, visits, or plays within its jurisdiction, feels safe and secure. The men and women of the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office do an outstanding job providing service to the contract cities and unincorporated areas of the county, but there is always room for great collaboration with regional partners. I have a proven record for establishing strong community policing programs and developing strategic solutions to crimes impacting neighborhoods. Crime, or the fear of being victimized, in Santa Clara County affects everyone. I will remain vigilant and proactive in addressing issues affecting our communities, especially the brazen property related thefts within the region.
Mental Health Response
In November 2021 under Bob’s leadership, the Palo Alto Police Department launched its Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), in which a police officer is paired with a licensed mental health clinician from the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department. The team's primary objective is to provide rapid intervention to a person in a mental health crisis by de-escalating the situation, stabilizing it in the least restrictive way possible, and then working to get that person the help they need. PERT combines the unique resources available to each profession, coupled with the training and expertise of both the officer and clinician, to provide the highest possible level of service to someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department recently announced the rollout of the Mobile Emergency Response Team which adds another option for individuals to utilize when experiencing a mental health crisis. Bob has, and will continue to advocate for greater funding associated with these types of programs to ensure the resources are available when people need them most.
It’s clear that the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office needs reform. Bob has fought for change in every law enforcement office he’s ever worked in, and continues to do that work today. The relationship between the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Correction and Law Enforcement Monitoring (OCLEM) has been slow to progress. Bob was, and continues to be, engaged around the topic of police accountability and reform.
When the nationwide movement for criminal justice reform began in June 2020, Bob did not take a position on the sidelines, he leaned in with the Palo Alto City Council, City leadership, and executive leadership of the Police Department to engage in a series of public meetings to discuss police reform. On a regular and ongoing basis beginning in June 2020, and continuing through to this day, the Police Department has routinely participated in City Council meetings, Human Relations Commission meetings, and other community meetings to address any concerns in a proactive and transparent manner.
In 2021, in response to increasing community calls for police accountability, Bob worked with City leadership to dramatically expand the scope of investigations reviewed by the department’s Independent Police Auditor (IPA). The IPA now reviews Supervisory Inquiry Investigations, internal employee complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, and any administrative use of force investigation where a baton, chemical agent, TASER, less-lethal projectile, canine, or firearm is used, or when a subject’s injuries as a result of a police use of force require treatment beyond minor medical care in the field. This greatly expanded scope provides for an even greater level of transparency with our community, since the IPA’s reports will continue to be available for public review.
Chief Jonsen believes it’s essential to provide personnel with the best training possible, so everyone can live healthy lives - physically, mentally, and emotionally - while serving their communities.
He became a certified instructor for Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) in 2018, a program developed at Stanford University by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers. Chief Jonsen also graduated as a trained mindfulness facilitator from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in 2020. Additionally, he’s a Peer Coach for Resilience Immersion Training, a program designed specifically for public safety personnel and developed by the Mindful Badge Initiative and the University of California San Diego, Center for Mindfulness.
Chief Jonsen was instrumental in bringing mindfulness training to the Menlo Park Police Department, where every employee received Resilience Immersion Training. He has facilitated mindfulness and CCT to public safety personnel throughout California and witnessed the profound impact it has had for participants, both professionally and personally. He has co-developed resiliency programs for public service, with “Courageous Heart - The Human Behind the Badge," which was created alongside the Compassion Institute, now being offered to law enforcement personnel across the state of Califonia.
Balancing the Budget
Bob is the only candidate for Sheriff that has spent the last 20 years responsible for maintaining and balancing large department budgets. As Chief of Menlo Park and more recently in Palo Alto, Bob has passed a balanced budget each year. He was able to dive deep after cuts were made during the pandemic, restoring six positions to his police force, working closely with the city council and other city officials throughout the process.