As the race to replace popular incumbent Sheriff Rob Giordano gets underway in the new year, Captain Mark Essick has gained ground with a series of key endorsements – including the nod of Sheriff Giordano himself.
Essick, a 24-year veteran of the department who lives in Cloverdale, has added Board of Supervisors Chair Shirlee Zane, Supervisor David Rabbitt and the 500-member Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association – the union representing much of Sonoma County’s public safety community – to a list of supporters for the seat. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association weighed in early in the race, throwing its support to Essick.
Giordano – who served as the face of Sonoma County during the recent fires – announced his unequivocal endorsement of Essick, and detailed his reasons for backing him in the upcoming election. High among those reasons was the need for a steady leadership transition in a challenging time, along with Essick’s track record in the community and his knowledge of the agency.
"Mark shares my strong belief in delivering effective services to those in our community affected by mental illness,” added Supervisor Zane in a statement. “He was instrumental in creating the Crisis Intervention Training Program which better prepares law enforcement officers helping those in mental health crisis. When I created the Mobile Support Team, placing trained mental health professionals in the field, Mark worked with my team to ensure the program was a huge success. Mark is passionate about growing a Sheriff's Office that partners with the community, that reflects the community, and that serves the community. He'll have my full support."
Rabbitt echoed Giordano’s praise and call for a smooth transition in his endorsement of Essick. “As Sheriff Giordano prepares for retirement next year, we need a steady hand and sharp mind running the Sheriff’s Office – we have that in Captain Mark Essick. As we recover from the financial impacts of the fires, we’ll need an experienced executive who knows every inch of the department, its budget and its workforce. We couldn’t ask for a candidate who fits the bill better than Mark. He has the respect and support of his team and our communities because he genuinely cares about people, and it shows.”
Gore asserted his strong endorsement of Essick because of, “Mark’s ability to forge strong partnerships in our community with key stakeholders. Mark is a person who will continue to build strong relationships in our community as our next sheriff.”
According to a press release issued by Essick, since his days as a deputy sheriff serving Roseland, he has been a proponent of community policing, encouraging relationship-building with the communities served. He worked on transparency concerns as the Sheriff’s representative on the Local Law Enforcement Task Force in 2014.
Essick, who started with the agency as a correctional officer, has led both the Field Services and Administrative Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office as captain, managing significant parts of the budget and its personnel. Essick holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from CSU Sacramento, and an MBA from Golden Gate University.
“I’m humbled by the outpouring of support from so many community leaders and residents who appreciate the work of our agency under Sheriff Giordano’s strong leadership,” said Essick. “It’s my intention to continue this work and strengthen the organization for the next generation. We have a lot to be proud of, but there’s more work to do as we focus on fairness, accountability and community engagement.”
— by Ray Holley