Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Owner of Concord landscaping company charged with two felonies for 2018 death of employee from Antioch

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Had suspended contractor’s license at the time; occurred in San Ramon

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney

Segundo Collazos. From
his Facebook page posted on April 26, 2019.

On Monday, March 1, 2021, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed a felony complaint against Segundo Collazos, the owner of Amazon’s Landscaping Company based out of Concord. (See Complaint Collazos February 2021)

The charges relate to the 2018 death of Manuel Peralta, then 68, of Antioch, California, who died while operating a rented tree stump grinder in San Ramon. At the time of the incident, defendant Segundo Collazos had a suspended license with the Contractors State License Board. The investigation began from the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety & Health Bureau of Investigations.

The first felony alleges that defendant Collazos permitted the victim Manuel Peralta to use a stump grinder in a manner contrary to manufacturer recommendations and to work in the danger zone of the cutting wheel, resulting in his death. The second felony alleges that Collazos failed to properly train Peralta on the proper and safe use of the stump grinder, also resulting in his death.

The District Attorney’s Office reminds homeowners to check that a contractor is currently licensed and insured before hiring them for residential construction work. Homeowners can check the validity of a license number on the Contractors’ State Licensing Board website or call (800) 321-CSLB (2752).

“When a Cal/OSHA investigation reveals evidence a worker’s serious injury or death involves criminal misconduct, our Bureau of Investigations Unit refers those cases to the local District Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. “We thank the Contra Costa County District Attorney for their work on this case. Employers must be made aware that disregarding the requirement to train and supervise workers using dangerous equipment can lead to tragedy and possible jail time.”

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Morris is prosecuting the case on behalf of the People. DDA Morris is assigned to our Office’s Special Operations Division.

Case information: People v. Segundo Collazos, Docket Number 01-195521-0.

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New state vaccination program concerns Contra Costa health officials, supervisors

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Contra Costa Health Officer said he expects Contra Costa County to remain in the Purple Tier for the next two to three weeks before moving into the less restrictive Red Tier. 

By Daniel Borsuk

The old saying “there’s nothing like good old competition” can apply when Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover on Tuesday questioned county health officials if an announcement a day earlier that the state and health care giant Blue Shield of California will jointly launch a statewide COVID-19 vaccine registration system that will compete against county sponsored vaccine registration systems like Contra Costa’s My Turn.

Glover, who represents the East County communities of Pittsburg and Antioch, with high numbers of underserved black and Latino constituents, asked Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano if the new statewide vaccination system will benefit or hinder the County’s efforts.

“Our scheduling system will still be in place,” Farnitano responded.  Furthermore, the health officer said that the county’s scheduling and testing capabilities will not be jeopardized.

The new central site sign-up system Blue Shield of California will operate on behalf of the state aims to make obtaining vaccination appointments more efficient and straight forward.  In addition, when the state is ready to expand vaccination eligibility to the next population category for doses, every county in the state will have to follow suite at the same time.  This takes the decision-making out of the hands of county health officials and into the hands of State or Blue Shield of California health officials.

Health care workers, long-term care residents aged 65 and older and employees working in agriculture and food, education and child care, and emergency services are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in California.  Beginning March 15, residents between 16 and 64 years old with severe health ailments, including cancer or heart conditions, and those with developmental or high-risk disabilities will also be eligible for vaccination.

Board Chair Dianne Burgis of Brentwood said that she has received inquiries from constituents if they can select the vaccine to be given when it is their turn at the clinic.

“They are all great vaccines,” answered Farnitano. “With all the vaccines in short supply, we get what is available.”

In the meantime, Farniton said he expects Contra Costa County to remain in the Purple Tier for the next two to three weeks before moving into the less restrictive Red Tier.

Farnitano also said Contra Costa County’s exposure to any COVID-19 variants is “not of concern.”  He said there have been no reports of the United Kingdom or South Africa variants in the County.

“Even though we are seeing a lot of good news, we are not out of the woods yet.  Up until now we’re winning the race, but we cannot let down our guard too fast.  Continue to wear masks, wash your hands and social distance,” he said.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said 86 percent of Contra Costa residents age 75 and over have at least had their first dose

The County Health Director said through the County Health Department, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and School Districts, 25,000 doses of vaccine are dedicated to educators as schools ramp up to reopen.

“More teachers are getting vaccinated,” Farnitano stated.

Supervisors Flash Green Light for Danville Roundabout

Supervisors gave county Public Works officials the green light to start the eminent domain process to change an accident-prone intersection in Danville into a traffic roundabout designed to reduce car speeds and improve pedestrian crossings at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court.

The County project will include curb extensions, curb ramps and entry medians at the roundabout to cut down on vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian crossings.  Sidewalks will be reconstructed along with curb extensions and curb ramps in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The intersection has one of the highest collision rates in the state.  It is 2.5 times higher than the state average.  Over the last 10 years there were at least 13 bicycle and three pedestrian collisions.

Ann E. Elliott Appointed Director of Human Resources

From a field of 62 applicants and seven semi-finalists, Supervisors unanimously selected acting Director of Human Resources Ann E. Elliot to the full-time position at an annual salary of $240,000 and a $57,000 pension per year.  The appointment became effective March 1.

Elliot has served as Interim Director of Human Resources since Sept. 30, 2020 when former Director of Human Resources Dianne Dinsmore retired.

Elliot started her career at the Contra Costa County Human Resources Department in 2015 and has developed a reputation of having an understanding of the responsibilities of Human Resources Management and the value Human resources can contribute to an employer.

Through the recruitment firm Peckham & McKenney, 62 applications were received and seven semi-finalists were forwarded to the County Interview Panel on Dec. 1, 2020 and interviewed on Dec. 9, 2020.  The County Interview Panel consisted of Joe Angelo, Alameda County Human Resources Director; Timothy Ewell, Contra Costa County Chief Assistant County Administrator; Lisa Driscoll, Contra Costa County Finance Director; and Kathy Ito, President of KMI Human Resources Consulting, Inc.

After the interviews, County Administrator Monica Nino recommended Elliot’s appointment.

Elliott is a graduate from Indiana Wesleyan University with as Master of Science, Management degree and from Cedarville University with a Bachelor of Arts, Behavioral Science and Psychology.

Approve $17.6 Million in 2020-2021 Property Tax Administration Charges

Facing no citizen comments, Supervisors unanimously approved the 2020-2021 Property Tax Administration Charges with net costs totaling $17,599,506.  That amounts to about .56 percent of all 2019-2020 property taxes levied countywide.

“The County absorbs the schools’ share, which amounts to $8,436,409,” according to the county staff report on the item. “School districts, community college districts and the County Office of Education are exempt from the provision, authorizing county recovery of their proportionate share of property tax administrative costs.”

 

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Contra Costa Community College District bond sale, refinance saves property tax payers $1.7 million

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, 4CD

On November 10, 2020, the Contra Costa Community College District (District) sold $110 million of new Measure E bonds and refinanced $35 million of previously sold general obligation bonds originally issued in 2014 following voter approval of 57.58%.  Due in part to favorable Moody’s and S&P ratings, the refinancing collectively saves Contra Costa County property owners over $1.7 million through 2040, and savings will be passed on in the form of lower property taxes. Voters will see this change reflected in their 2020-21 property tax bills, with annual total savings for our taxpayers of over $150,000.

The new Brentwood Center and new Kinesiology and Student Union Complex at the LMC-Pittsburg campus were the first major District projects completed using Measure E funds. The $110 million sale of new Measure E bonds will help continue the transformation of additional facilities at District sites. These projects include the new Science Center and renovation of the PE/Kinesiology Complex at Contra Costa College, the Arts Complex and PE/Kinesiology Complex at Diablo Valley College (DVC)-Pleasant Hill Campus, and the new Library and Learning Center at the DVC-San Ramon Campus.

“This is the fourth time the District has refinanced previously sold bonds to reduce debt service for our taxpayers,” said Chancellor Bryan Reece. “We will continue to focus on our fiduciary responsibility of managing public funds and want to thank Contra Costa County voters for allowing us to make these critical investments in the community.”

The sales and refinancing transactions were handled by Morgan Stanley.  KNN Public Finance was the District’s financial advisor, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe performed as bond counsel.

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The District serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon.  The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

 

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Sabrina Landreth named new East Bay Regional Park District General Manager

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Fifth generation East Bay native, former Oakland City Administrator, Emeryville City Manager

By Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor, East Bay Regional Park District

Sabrina Landreth. Source: EBRPD

The East Bay Regional Park District’s Board of Directors today approved the appointment of Sabrina Landreth as General Manager. She is the first female and the tenth General Manager appointed in the Park District’s 87-year history.

“Our Board is thrilled to have Sabrina join our organization,” said Dee Rosario, President of Park District Board of Directors. “She has all the right elements of urban public sector leadership experience and especially understands the diversity of the East Bay communities we serve.”

Ms. Landreth has deep roots in the East Bay as a fifth generation native who has held the top executive leadership positions managing the cities of Oakland and Emeryville.  She is a U.C. Berkeley graduate with a master’s degree in Public Policy, in addition to receiving a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“I am honored to be appointed by the Board as the District’s next General Manager,” Landreth said. “I look forward to continuing to build upon the great work the District does to improve the quality of life for our East Bay community, while adhering to its social and environmental responsibilities.”

Most recently Ms. Landreth served as City Administrator in Oakland from 2015- 2020, where she is credited with strong fiscal management and developing a capital improvement program that included community equity goals and has become a model program for local governments around the country.  She also worked for Oakland as Deputy City Administrator, Budget Director, and Legislative Analyst to the City’s Finance Committee.

Previously Ms. Landreth served as City Manager of Emeryville and as staff in the California State Assembly advancing state and local legislative initiatives.

Ms. Landreth succeeds Robert Doyle, who retired as General Manager after a 47-year career with the Park District.  She will begin her new position at the Park District on Monday, March 15 just four days after her 45th birthday.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Antioch Police Chief: no knee on Angelo Quinto’s neck by officers, not in custody at time of his Dec. 26 death, releases 9-11 calls

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

A screenshot of the video taken by Quinto’s family (left) shows an Antioch Police officer attends to Angelo on Dec. 23, 2020. (Right) Antioch Police Chief T Brooks speaks during Tuesday’s press conference. Source: EastCountyToday.net video screenshot

“At one point, during the handcuffing, for a few seconds an officer did have his knee across Angelo’s shoulder blade…taught at police academies for prone handcuffing,” Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks

District Attorney’s investigation continues

By Allen Payton

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks held the second of two press conferences in a week, on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, about deaths of residents following interactions with police. The latest was about the call police received to the home of Angelo Quinto on Dec. 23 and his death, three days later. Ending weeks of speculation and finally answering numerous questions on the matter, Brooks said that officers did not kneel on his neck during the incident. That refuted numerous Bay Area and national news stories that were based on the words of Quinto’s family and their attorney. In addition, the chief said Quinto was not in police custody at the time of his death on Dec. 26, refuting claims by some Antioch council members and local protesters.

Screenshots above and below of Quinto family call with APD Dispatch on Dec. 23, 2020.

Following are the chief’s prepared remarks he provided, today: (see video of press conference posted by eastcountytoday.net, here)

“On December 23, 2020 at approximately 11:10 PM, Antioch dispatch received a call from a woman screaming the address to an unknown disturbance in the 1900 block of Crestwood Drive in Antioch.  I will play the 9-1-1 recording for you now: (download recording here)

  • First Recording (9-1-1 Call)

Our dispatcher called back, and this is that recording:

  • Second Recording (9-1-1 Call)

Now listen to the recording of the initial radio traffic that went to our officers, Nicholas Shipilov, Arturro Becerra, James Perkinson, and Daniel Hopwood:

  • Third Recording (Radio Traffic)

Officers Becerra and Perkinson arrived on scene at approximately 11:12 PM to find Angelo Quinto being actively restrained by his mother on a bedroom floor of the home.  The officers requested Angelo’s mother to get off Angelo so they could detain him in handcuffs.

According to the results of a preliminary investigation, at one point during the handcuffing, an officer did briefly – for a few seconds – have a knee across a portion of Angelo’s shoulder blade. This is a common control technique taught at CA POST approved Police Academies for prone handcuffing.  At no point did any officer use a knee or any other body part to gain leverage or apply pressure to Angelo’s head, neck, or throat, which is outside our policy and training.

One of the officers then repositioned to control Angelo’s legs as his legs were actively thrashing around.  At that time, the other officer on scene spoke to Angelo’s mother to determine his medical history.

Officers determined Angelo was suffering a mental health crisis and summoned an ambulance at approximately 11:16 PM.  Based on the nature of the call, two other APD officers arrived on scene around that time.

Paramedics arrived on scene at approximately 11:23 PM.  As the medics entered the bedroom, officers recognized that Angelo had become unresponsive and was potentially experiencing a medical emergency.  Angelo was immediately unhandcuffed, and medics began evaluating him and rendering medical aid. (See video of the incident by Quinto’s family WARNING: Age restricted)

While CPR was in progress, officers notified an APD supervisor via radio of the situation at approximately 11:29 PM.  Angelo was transported to an area hospital at approximately 11:30 PM.

To ensure transparency, impartiality, and public confidence in the investigatory process, and out of an abundance of caution, the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI) Protocol investigation was initiated, whereby the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office lead an investigation into this incident.

Ultimately, Angelo was admitted into the intensive care unit of the hospital where he remained under their care for approximately three days before we were informed of his unfortunate passing.

I have been in contact with the Coroner’s Office and the following four points have been jointly approved by multiple pathologists related to their findings thus far:

  1. Although the decedent had injuries consistent with a struggle with his family and law enforcement, none of the injuries appeared to be fatal.
  2. There were no fractures of the skull, torso, or extremities.
  3. A full examination of the neck revealed there was no evidence of strangulation or crushed airway.
  4. They are currently expanding toxicology testing because they were aware of reported past drug use.

As you may already be aware, in Contra Costa County, anytime there is a death related to law enforcement, there is a Coroner’s Inquest.  This is a public hearing in which the facts and circumstances of the incident are provided by the officers and specific eyewitnesses.  Additionally, this is the venue for the medical examiner to provide insight into the medical cause and manner of death.  That hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Additionally, and separately, this case will also undergo an independent third-party administrative investigation to determine if there was any violation of departmental policies.

On behalf of myself and the men and women of the Antioch Police Department, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Quinto family for their devastating loss.”

Informing of Mayor and Council About Incident

At last Wednesday’s press conference on the in-custody death that occurred early that morning, Brooks was asked by this reporter if he had contacted Mayor Lamar Thorpe about the incident with Quinto and his subsequent death, at that time. Brooks responded that he was on vacation at that time. When asked if someone from the department had contacted the mayor he responded, “yes.”

Thorpe, who spoke at that press conference refuted that and said he had learned of Quinto’s death on social media the first week of January. Brooks was asked by the Herald to provide documentation of when the mayor was contacted and by whom.

In today’s press conference in response to another question about it, Brooks said “I spoke to the mayor on Dec. 31st, about this. I believe there are additional records on this.”

However, when asked about what Brooks said about informing him, Thorpe responded emphatically, “I inquired to the chief if there was an in-custody death after I read about it on social media. That’s the conversation he’s referring to when he said he spoke to me on Dec. 31st. I said it was the first week of January, for which I apologize for getting that wrong.”

“The police department did not inform the council and did not inform the mayor and that’s why we’re going to have new protocols on when the chief will inform the council of major events,” he added.

Brooks responded, “I believe that is correct. I don’t know how he heard about it prior, but he did call me and ask on that day.”

The DA’s investigation is still not complete.

Family’s Attorney Makes False Claim About Police Cameras

As reported by other news media, the family’s attorney, John L. Burris said during a February 18 press conference, that Antioch Police failed to turn on their body cameras and police car dash cams. That’s in spite of the fact the department has neither, currently. Those were the subject of last Friday night’s special council meeting in which all five council members voted to support both. A final decision will be made to approve the purchase of cameras at a future council meeting.

 

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Newsom, state leaders agree to reopen schools by end of month, offer incentives, penalties

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Governor, Senate Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon highlight new $6.6 billion package to reopen schools and deepen student supports

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today highlighted an agreement on a $6.6 billion budget package to accelerate the safe return to in-person instruction across California and empower schools to immediately expand academic, mental health and social-emotional supports, including over the summer.

“Since the height of the winter surge, we have successfully shifted the conversation from whether to reopen schools to when,” said Governor Newsom. “Now, our collective charge is to build on that momentum and local leadership, and – just as critically – do whatever it takes to meet the mental health and academic needs of our students, including over the summer.”

The Governor was joined by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and other legislative leaders at Franklin Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. The state’s fifth largest public school district was among the first to close for in-person instruction last year. Last week, based on deep partnership between school staff and leaders, the district announced plans to reopen grades K-6 in mid-March and grades 7-12 in early April.

Elk Grove Unified and public schools throughout the state will be allocated $6.6 billion under the proposed budget package. $2 billion would fund safety measures to support in-person instruction, such as personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades and COVID-19 testing. $4.6 billion would fund expanded learning opportunities, such as summer school, tutoring and mental health services. Together, the funds empower schools to develop and execute comprehensive strategies to both reopen and expand programs to address the social-emotional, mental health and academic needs of students.

All public schools would be required to offer in-person instruction to grades K-2 for all students and for high-needs students in all grades by the end of the month, losing 1 percent of eligible funds every day thereafter if they do not. Schools in the state’s Red Tier or better would be required to offer in-person instruction to all students in all elementary grades and at least one middle or high school grade, or risk the same penalty. Together, these requirements help ensure schools begin to reopen as soon as possible, in order to build trust and confidence to continue phased reopenings.

As students return to in-person instruction, all public schools would also be empowered to meet the needs of the whole child. The Expanded Learning Opportunities Grants allocate $4.6 billion to local educational agencies based on the equity-based Local Control Funding Formula, with an additional $1,000 for each homeless student. These funds would be for supplemental instruction and support for social and emotional well-being. Schools would be able to use the funds for providing more instructional time, such as summer school, and accelerating progress to close learning gaps through tutoring, learning recovery programs, mental health services, access to school meal programs, programs to address pupil trauma and social-emotional learning, supports for credit-deficient students and more.

The package would also codify multiple successful state programs to support safe school reopenings:

  • Vaccine Prioritization for K-12 School Staff. The package codifies the Governor’s commitment to set aside 10 percent of vaccines for education workers. This commitment ensures that the state prioritization of school staff, in place since January, is made real in all 58 counties. Since the Governor’s announcement two weeks ago, the state has collaborated with county health departments, the Biden Administration and providers such as Kaiser Permanente to accelerate vaccine access for K-12 school staff starting March 1.
  • Data Reporting. The package codifies data reporting requirements, including requirements for schools to report reopening status and COVID-19 safety measures. These statutory requirements will help build on efforts to increase transparency, including interactive geospatial maps displayed on the Safe Schools Hub.
  • State Safe Schools Team. The package also allocates $25 million to the State Safe Schools Team, which serves to provide technical assistance, oversight and accountability to the over 10,000 public schools in the state. The capacity will enhance the Team’s reach, and the Team will conduct a safety review of any school with two or more COVID-19 outbreaks.

The budget package is the result of months of work by the Governor’s Office, Senate and Assembly. The Governor, Senate Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon also thanked Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) and Connie Leyva (D-Chino), along with Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) for their tireless work and leadership on this effort.

The state’s efforts to accelerate safe school reopenings to date include delivery of three months of PPE and safety supplies to all schools at no cost, direct support to over 1,000 schools in 41 counties to implement COVID-19 testing and direct technical assistance to over 300 school districts.

For more information, please visit: https://schools.covid19.ca.gov/.

 

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One suspect arrested, another sought in Antioch liquor store burglary Monday morning

Monday, March 1st, 2021

The stolen goods recovered by Antioch Police officers in the suspect’s car trunk and inside the store. Photos: APD

Over $20,000 of goods recovered

By Antioch Police Department

Early this morning, just after 4am, an Antioch Police Officer was keeping an eye out on Early this morning, just after 4am, an Antioch Police Officer was keeping an eye out on Romi’s Liquor & Food store at E. 18th Street and Cavallo Road. The Officer knew the store was closed but, saw two suspicious subjects lurking around and soon noticed both going in a broken window. As more officers responded to attempt to catch the would-be thieves in the act, one suspect fled,, but we did catch the second one as he crawled out the window.

As pictured above, there was a significant amount of both cigarettes and alcohol that had already been stolen and was found in our suspect’s nearby vehicle as well as more that was stacked up and waiting to be taken when the burglars were caught in the act! All totaled, the stolen property was in excess of $20,000 and was returned to the owners. As for our burglar, he didn’t get what he came for, but did get a ride from us to the county jail

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Melissa Klawuhn promoted to Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

New Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Melissa Klawuhn. Photo: CCCSheriff’s Office

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston is pleased to announce the promotion of Captain Melissa Klawuhn to the rank of Assistant Sheriff effective February 27, 2021.

Captain Klawuhn joined the Office of the Sheriff in 2001 as a Laboratory Aide in the Forensic Services Division. In 2003, she was promoted to Deputy Sheriff Criminalist and attended the police basic academy. The next year she transferred to the classification of Deputy Sheriff and had assignments in custody service, patrol and investigation. During that time she served as a Bay Point resident deputy and homicide detective. Captain Klawuhn was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2013, to lieutenant in 2016 and captain in 2019. Captain Klawuhn previously served as a team leader of the Hostage Negotiation Team and the commander of the SWAT Team.

Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, Captain Klawuhn, who has a degree in animal science, was a high school chemistry teacher.

“The Office of the Sheriff values our community partnerships and diversity, and I am honored to transition into this new leadership role,” said Captain Klawuhn.

In her new role, Captain Klawuhn will be one of four Assistant Sheriffs in the organization. She will oversee the Administrative Services Bureau. This includes personnel, finance, professional standards, recruitment, and training.

“It is my privilege to promote Captain Klawuhn,” said Sheriff David Livingston. “She has handled numerous high profile and critical assignments as she climbed the ranks in the department. She has shown outstanding dedication and leadership and made many contributions to the department and community. I thank her for taking on new responsibilities as we serve the community and guide the department into the future. Congratulations to Captain Klawuhn.”

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