Though it isn’t Dodge City or Tombstone, Arizona, from the “OK Corral” in Cottonwood to the “Silver Dollar Club” in the City of Shasta Lake, we love our county sheriff around these parts. This week the Chamber’s political action committee had the opportunity to meet recently-appointed Sheriff Mike Johnson. The straight-shooter explained how he is ready to address the good, the bad, and the ugly while leading the department in these complex times for law enforcement agencies.
Sheriff Johnson served the past nine years as the Police Chief in Anderson, during which time he set the tone for the department and for the community as a “zero-tolerance-for-crime-
In terms of his priorities, Sheriff Johnson laid out 3 areas of emphasis as follows:
1) Staffing: It is well-known that deputies are few and far between in the vast geography of the county. Sheriff Johnson said that he is working to implement a resident deputy program (ideally a K-9 handler) in outlying communities like Shingletown to give a better sense of security and faster response times for local residents. He also shared that current staff at the Shasta County Jail can be an excellent source for promotion from within in the recruitment of more deputies. To make that a reality, more attention is being put to recruiting for open positions at the jail, and, as the Sheriff says, it is often easier to qualify applicants. “To work in custody in the jail, applicants must be 18 years old or older, have a GED or high school diploma, and be able to pass a background check,” he explains. For current job openings, please click HERE.
2) Illegal Marijuana Grows: Described as an out of control problem in rural Shasta County, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an increase of $350,000 to the budget of the Marijuana Eradication Team of the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Johnson was asked to define success and he answered that his efforts will be targeted on “bang for the buck” – going after large grows of greatest disruption within unincorporated parts of the county as well as getting intel and bringing to justice companies illegally drilling wells for cash as well as those committing other environmental crimes.
3) New Incarceration/Rehabilitation Facility: A local team is planning to tour a new jail facility in Santa Barbara County in the near future to gain insights into the latest trends in incarceration facilities with a focus on reducing recidivism rates while increasing capacity. Shasta County’s CEO, Matt Pontes, is the former Assistant CEO of Santa Barbara County. No doubt his familiarity with this project is the reason it has been identified as worthy of a visit. It has been rumored that Shasta County is considering building a facility of its own, which is an exciting thought given the much-maligned capacity issues in the current Shasta County Jail.
Remember, Sheriff Johnson takes over for Eric Magrini, now Assistant County CEO, who was Sheriff in place of Tom Bosenko, who retired in late 2019 after more than 40 years of public service. The current Sheriff will be facing an election in 2022, which he plans to pursue. In the meantime, he will wear the badge proudly and seek to improve the quality of life for businesses and individuals alike across Shasta County.
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