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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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Stanislaus CountyCandidate for Sheriff

Photo of Jeff Dirkse

Jeff Dirkse

Police Chief/Stanislaus County Sheriff's Lt.
41,670 votes (51.63%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Restore Sheriff's Department staffing by focusing on recruiting local men and women of high character.
  • Implement body camera program for all patrol deputies based on proven policies.
  • Identify, select and train the next generation of Sheriff's Department leaders.



Profession:Police Chief/Stanislaus County Sheriff's Lt.
Police Chief, City of Patterson, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department (2015–current)
Police Chief, City of Patterson, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department — Appointed position (2015–current)
Sheriff's deputy, detective and sergeant, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department (2007–2015)
California National Guard Captain, California National Guard (2004–2006)
Managing Partner, D&M Ag (1999–2004)
Army Ranger, U.S. Army (1994–1999)


U.S. Military Academy at West Point Bachelor's degree, Military Science (1994)

Community Activities

Board Member, Greater Yosemite Boy Scout Council (2013–current)
Board Member, Turlock High School QB Club (2017–current)
Advisory Committee Member, West Modesto Boys & Girls Club (2015–current)
Member, Patterson Rotary Club (2015–current)


I grew up on a farm in Stanislaus County and graduated from Turlock High School in 1990. I received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduation in 1994, I became an Army Ranger. I commanded paratroopers and rifle companies at Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Lewis, Wa. By the time I left active duty in 1999, I had been promoted to captain.

I returned to Stanislaus County to manage my family's 550-acre farming operation. I was in charge of all aspects of the business, including up to 12 seasonal employees; planting, pruning and harvesting; marketing and sales; and millions of dollars worth of equipment.

When the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred, I knew I would return to military service. I intentionally sought out a unit that had deployment orders. I volunteered for and was put in command of a California National Guard company. Between January 2005 and January 2006, I led a group of 120 soldiers on more than 200 missions in and around Baghdad, Iraq. I was awarded a Bronze Star for my leadership.

Again, I returned to Stanislaus County. Inspired by the law enforcement service of many of the people I served with in Iraq, I enrolled in the local law enforcement academy. I applied for only one job -- with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

I was hired as a patrol deputy in 2007. Over the next several years, I was promoted to gang detective, rural crimes detective, patrol sergeant and then Internal Affairs sergeant. In 2015, I achieved the rank of lieutenant and was assigned as police chief in Patterson, which contracts with the Sheriff's Department for police services. I oversee a staff of 28 sergeants, deputies and civilians and manage an annual budget of $4.5 million. 


For more information about me, please see by campaign website or Facebook page.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Les Weidman, retired Stanislaus County Sheriff
  • Ralph Ghimenti, Stanislaus County undersheriff

Organizations (8)

  • Turlock Associated Police Officers
  • Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Supervisors Association
  • Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association
  • Modesto Police Officers Association
  • Stanislaus County Sworn Management Association
  • Ceres Police Officers Association
  • Stanislaus County Probation Correction Officers Association
  • Stanislaus County Farm Bureau

Elected Officials (40)

  • Michael Frantz, Co-owner of Frantz Wholesale Nursery, Turlock Irrigation District director
  • Ian Parkinson, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff
  • Jay Varney, Madera County Sheriff
  • Steven Durfor, Yuba County Sheriff
  • Rick DiBasilio, Calaveras County Sheriff
  • Adam Christianson, Stanislaus County sheriff
  • Deborah M. Novelli, Mayor, City of Patterson
  • Gary Soiseth, Mayor, City of Turlock
  • Ted Brandvold, Mayor, City of Modesto
  • Mani Grewal, Modesto City Council, District 1
  • Jeff Denham, Congressman, 10th District
  • Richard O’Brien, Mayor, City of Riverbank
  • Anthony Cannella, State Senator, 12th District
  • Heath Flora, Assemblyman, 12th District
  • Tom Berryhill, State Senator, 8th District
  • Bill Zoslocki, Modesto City Council, District 4
  • Jim DeMartini, Stanislaus County Supervisor, District 5
  • Dick Monteith Stanislaus, County Supervisor, District 4
  • Terry Withrow Stanislaus, County Supervisor, District 3
  • Vern Warnke, Merced County sheriff
  • Kristin Olsen, Stanislaus County Supervisor, District 1
  • Vito Chiesa Stanislaus, County Supervisor, District 2
  • Tom Changnon, Superintendent, Stanislaus County Office of Education
  • Adam Gray, Assemblyman, 21st District
  • Keith Royal, Nevada County Sheriff
  • Robert Doyle, Marin County Sheriff
  • Tom Bosenko, Shasta County Sheriff
  • Scott Jones, Sacramento County Sheriff
  • Steve Moore, San Joaquin County Sheriff
  • Kory Honea, Butte County Sheriff
  • Margaret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff
  • Darren Thompson, San Benito County Sheriff
  • Carlos G. Bolanos, San Mateo County Sheriff
  • Doug Binnewies, Mariposa County Sheriff
  • Dominic Farinha, Councilman, City of Patterson
  • Nick Blom, Director, Modesto Irrigation District
  • Amy Neumann, Modesto City Schools Trustee
  • Chris Vierra, Mayor of Ceres
  • Joe Alamo, Board President, Turlock Irrigation District
  • Jon E. Lopey, Sr., Siskiyou County Sheriff

Individuals (53)

  • Paul Caruso, Former Stanislaus County Supervisor
  • Mike Zagaris, CEO, PMZ Real Estate
  • Jeremiah Williams, Director, Stanislaus County Fair
  • Michael Frost, Owner, Active Industrial Contracting
  • Stan Risen, Retired CEO, Stanislaus County
  • Pete Blom, Blom’s Ranch, Inc.
  • Sean Roddy, VP and General Manager, Hennings Bros. Drilling
  • Joe Johal, Wendy's of the Pacific, Inc.
  • Becky Campo, Former member, Patterson City Council
  • Ray Simon, Former Stanislaus County Supervisor
  • Tom Letras, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy
  • Jose Perez, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Sergeant
  • Dr. Garry L. Found, Stanislaus County Chief Forensic Odontologist
  • Douglas Adams, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy
  • Luis I. Molina, Former Mayor, City of Patterson
  • Curt Andre, Former Mayor, City of Turlock
  • Bill Berryhill, Former Assemblyman, 26th District
  • Thomas Crowder, Former Hughson Mayor
  • Jeff Grover, Former Stanislaus County Supervisor
  • Brad Bilson, Bilson's Sporting Goods
  • Ken & Lori Braden, Braden Farms
  • Evan Porges, President, Prime Shine Car Wash
  • Alana Scott, Co-Founder and President, Women's Education and Leadership League
  • Kurt & Shirley Spycher, Partner, Spycher Farms Inc.
  • Matt Swanson, President, Associated Feed
  • George & Elizabeth te Velde, te Velde Dairy Farm
  • Willie Traina, Traina Foods/Fruit Yard Restaurant
  • Jim & Julie Vieira, California Mill Equipment Co. and P&F Metals
  • Micheal S. Warda, Attorney
  • Mike West, Senior Vice President, JS West & Companies
  • Gary West, CEO, JS West & Companies
  • Dillon Olvera, President and CEO, Beard Land and Investment Co.
  • Alan Marchant, President, Turlock Scavanger
  • Mark Kuhn, Owner, Hillview Funeral Chapels
  • Tony Bruno, President, Turlock Dairy and Refrigeration
  • Matthew Bruno, CFO, Turlock Dairy and Refrigeration
  • Kirk & Cathy DeLaMare, Mid-Valley Engineering
  • Rich & Jacqui Dyt, Owners, Moonshine Dairy
  • Ron Fair, Manager, Clark Pest Control Stanislaus County
  • John Gardner, Central Valley Automotive
  • Michael & Debbie Ireland, CEO, Winton-Ireland, Strom & Green
  • Kent Johnson, President, Ag Production Co.
  • Judy Kindle, CEO, Sierra Vista Child and Family Services
  • Shelly Koch, Frost Bakery and Fine Foods
  • Wayne Zipser, Executive Director, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau
  • Phil Trompetter, Police and Forensic Pyschologist
  • Bill Duncan, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Captain
  • Gary Hampton, Retired Police Chief, Oakdale, Turlock and Tracy
  • im Gordon, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s captain
  • Keith Rakoncza, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s captain
  • Mick Hardenbrook, Retired Stanislaus County undersheriff
  • Brent Smith, Ceres Police Chief
  • Jill Silva, Retired Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy


Most of my adult life has been spent in public service -- first in the military and, since 2007, as a member of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. My campaign for sheriff is a natural extension of the military and law enforcement training and experience I have accumulated over the past 25 years, coupled with my passion to ensure public safety in the place my wife and I have called home for our entire lives -- Stanislaus County.

Leadership is about motivating, guiding, mentoring and collaborating with others. That is what I have done in various forms since I graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I believe my experience has prepared me to lead the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.




I have always been a "hands on" leader. I believe in leading from the front and by example. I did it in Iraq and I have done it in all my Sheriff's Department assignments. There is nothing I expect of those who I supervise that I am not willing to do myself.

I also strongly believe in the power of communication and in listening to others. I actively invite ideas and feedback from my staff; in part, because I truly am interested in ways to improve my own as well as the group's performance and in part because helping others grow into positions of greater responsibility requires challenging them to think. 

The Sheriff's Department today is a high-functioning organization, full of men and women committed, as I am, to serving the people who live in Stanislaus County. I am proud to be a part of it.

Still, there are challenges. The biggest is staffing. We have more than 730 positions budgeted, but at any given time, dozens are vacant because people leave for positions with other agencies that pay more or they retire. We must address that. 

Since 2013, 27 deputies have left for other agencies (almost all because of greater pay and/or benefits) and another 22 have retired.

Filling those important openings with quality employees is the key to completely restoring all public safety services -- some of which were reduced or eliminated as part of budget cuts because of the economic recession a decade ago.

Funding is not the issue now. The annual sheriff’s budget is about $118 million. And though our salaries are slightly lower than some regional agencies and especially the Bay Area, there are incentives we can offer – more pay for military or college experience, meeting specific fitness standards, possibly recruitment or hiring bonuses – that can make our total compensation package competitive. These are worthy topics of discussion among the Board of Supervisors, the next sheriff and employee representatives.

More than anything, what prevents us from filling all our openings today is finding people who can meet our background standards and complete our training requirements. We are not alone. Almost every law enforcement agency in the region contends with the same issue.

As sheriff, my focus would be to recruit locally – to bring responsible young men and women of good character into the department. Employees who are from here – who have families and friends here – tend to stay here.


As a sergeant, I was part of a team that developed an intern program that gave aspiring local deputies an opportunity to learn about the job. Our Explorer Scout program allows teens to do the same.

We run assessments monthly to screen potential deputies. There are two five-month academies each year -- we recently started 17 young men and women in that program; another 15 will begin in September.

It’s critical that even as we hire new deputies, that our training is continuous. We have a great staff today. They work hard. They are well-intentioned. They care about the communities they serve. They’re just young. And we have to continue to develop them and mold them.

I am committed to continuing to build a culture that enables and encourages experienced employees throughout the department to mentor our newest hires – whether they work in adult detention, are on patrol or have another role. That’s the way I learned in the Army Rangers and when I began as a deputy in 2007, and it’s what I’ve been doing for the past three years as a lieutenant and police chief in Patterson.

The other major staffing challenge the next sheriff must address is what is likely to be complete turnover among the department’s command staff – undersheriff, captains, lieutenants and even some sergeants – in the next three to four years. Most of that group is going to retire.

Identifying, selecting and training the next generation of leaders is critical responsibility for any leader. I have done that in the military as well as in Patterson. It’s not a job for someone with only entry-level supervisorial experience.


I am proud to be endorsed by Sheriff Adam Christianson, former Sheriff Les Weidman, associations representing more than 600 local law enforcent professionals, all five county supervisors, elected officials, business leaders and hundreds of local residents. For more, please visit



Videos (5)

Sheriff's Department staffing — April 18, 2018 Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff campaign

No. 1 challenge facing the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is staffing -- identifying, recruiting, training and retaining qualified young men and women, preferably with ties to the local community.

Value of staff ideas — April 18, 2018 Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff campaign

In law enforcement as well as the military, I have actively solicited and listened to ideas from my staff. I believe this is an important characteristic of successful leaders.

Vision for Sheriff's Department — April 18, 2018 Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff campaign

This video from one of my campaign events includes my vision for the Sheriff's Department -- its key challenges and some of my ideas to deal with them.

This video outlines the key differences in experience and qualifications between me and my opponent for sheriff.

Significance of local law enforcement support — April 18, 2018 Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff campaign

Video discusses the importance of the overwhelming support for my campaign from local law enforcement professionals.

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