Sheriff Christianson Faces Deputy Letras on June 3 Ballot

Alex Cantatore/

It’s boss versus employee on this June’s ballot.

Stanislaus County Sheriff-Coroner Adam Christianson will look to defend his seat against Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Letras.

Christianson, Sheriff for the past eight years, is running for his third term. Letras, who has worked at the Sheriff’s Department for 17 years, says the time is right for someone new.

“I’m up here as a candidate for change,” Letras said. “I’m up here because I believe, as Sheriff, I need to be accountable to you for what goes on out there in our communities.”

Letras says he’s particularly concerned with the number of deputies on patrol. Jail beds are closed for lack of deputies, and the local police academy has been closed for ages. He says he wants to provide better law enforcement services to all who live in Stanislaus County.

Christianson acknowledges the challenges of the past four years, lowlighted by a 25 percent funding cut which reduced staffing and services. The department fell from 214 sworn officers to 144.

But those cuts were driven by the Great Recession, he says. The department is already rebounding alongside the economy, hiring for the first time in four years and back up to 156 officers.

“We have a great future and a lot to look forward to,” Christianson said. “A chance to put back together what we were forced to tear apart, and restore service and staffing to the people of Stanislaus County.”

Those cuts could have been avoided, Letras said, if the department spent money more wisely. He says the department is wasting money sending recruits to out-of-area training academies. And he says more than $10 million has been spent on needless lawsuits.

“It’s way too much money, way too much money that’s been spent on these lawsuits that can go to other things,” Letras said.

Letras says that the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department administration needs to reestablish a working relationship with employees and labor groups. He says concerns can be addressed before lawsuits are filed.

Christianson says the lawsuits are a “byproduct of holding employees to a higher standard.” He says the number of lawsuits is roughly comparable to other similarly sized departments, and that the county’s insurance paid for much of the lawsuits’ cost; they did not result in a $10 million impact on the county itself.

“Lawsuits come along, but ladies and gentlemen, we won them,” Christianson countered. “Every single one.”

And the department also won awards against those who filed fraudulent lawsuits, he said.

As for the academy, Christianson says it’s more cost-effective to send recruits to Alameda County than to operate a local academy.

Both Letras and Christianson are supporters of concealed weapons permits, though Letras says they should be processed more quickly. Christianson is adamantly opposed to marijuana, which is illegal under federal law, where Letras says the law must be clarified to remove the gray area of questionable legality under state law.

Christianson believes his “experienced leadership” will carry him to victory this June 3. Letras, on the other hand, hopes voters will look poorly upon their experience with Christianson.

“You as voters are the ones who need to hold your elected officials accountable,” Letras said.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff-Coroner is paid $172,366.48 per year. 

Comments 3

  1. Christianson says:

    Christianson all the way! He’s been doing a great job with all the budget cuts and he’s a real leader! My wife and I are voting to continue the safety he’s been leading.

  2. Sean Hansen says:

    Sheriff Adam Christianson has been a total failure in Stanislaus County. No one in their right mind should vote for this man.

    Lawsuits against the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department have cost taxpayers $9.4 million during Sheriff Adam Christianson’s tenure. 41 cases have been lodged against the department since Christianson took office in July 2006 (ModBee info). According to the Modest Bee In the past seven years, legal claims have ranged from deputy brutality and K-9 bites to serious accidents involving patrol cars and several deaths of people in custody. Internal lawsuits alleged sexual harassment, racial prejudice and abuse of disabled workers; with Sheriff Adam Christianson denigrating his deputies calling them “limp, lame and lazy” & treating them like second-class citizens. Anthony Boskovich of Santa Clara County stated in a Modesto Bee interview that Christianson’s was “the worst-run department I’ve ever seen. It’s run in a very slipshod way and it’s going to end up costing the county a ton of money,”. A Pleasanton lawyer told the ModBee lawsuits were “related to what I consider to be ineffective management and poor policies”. He also stated “very rarely do you expect a department to be sued as many times for internal complaints.” & “there are a lot of problems with the administration in that sheriff’s office.” His statements directly reflect Sheriff Adam Christianson’s management or rather lack of proper management / administration. Tom Letras one of Sheriff Adam Christianson’s own deputies called the Sheriff a “bully”. Sheriff Deputy/ Police Chief of Patterson California Tori Hughes has questioned why there has been no discussion from Sheriff Christianson as to how to prevent these lawsuits. Sheriff Adam Christianson fast tracked, who many believe an undeserving/ unqualified, Kari Abbey to Detective whom ultimately gunned down her daddies renter for personal business during an illegal eviction on the Westside of Modesto triggering large protest and outcries from the community. When folks off the block requested to speak to the Sheriff about the “murder” Christianson refused; yet he had time to hobnob with then losing gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (adding insult to injury or rather death of Rita Elias). All this did was create a hostile environment between the community and law enforcement. Many within the community have stated both trust and confidence in the Sheriff’s office has been lost and until Sheriff Adam Christianson departs it will not be regained. Sheriff Adam Christianson’s mismanagement of the Stanislaus County jail has lead to numerous deaths of inmates including the “murder” of whistleblower Craig Prescott whom to this day justice has not been served because the Sheriff deputies that brutalized him to death have never been charge with the crime leading to many of Sheriff Christianson’s own supporters to question his honesty, integrity and ability to protect the community. The hostile environment Sheriff Adam Christianson created came to a boiling point when James Ferrario (whom probably heard about the failed eviction/ killing of Rita Elias) decided to stand his ground and defend his property from getting taken; gunned down a civilian locksmith and a sheriff deputy before he was himself burned to death in a Waco, Texas style barbecue. Sheriff Cristianson used the incident as a propaganda tool to blame not having enough tax dollars to protect the community. I could go on & on but I may run out of room on this blog post…

    Well, in my opinion and many others Sheriff Adam Christianson himself IS both the problem and a failure in Stanislaus County and the only way to solve this problem is to vote him out of office on June 3rd, 2014.

  3. Bryan says:

    No way am I voting for Christanson. Too many sad years in the big chair has reduced him to being limp, lame and lazy. We need a fresh approach to take the reins and restore the trust of the community as well as law enforcement.
    Every single tragedy that happens Christanson only focuses on complaining about the loss of funds like a broken record. Whenever I am preparing to listen to him speak I know I can always count on the “poor department has lost so much money speech sniffle,sniffle.” Not only is it in poor taste considering the circumstances of his briefings but lets focus on fixing the problems instead of crying over them. Tom Letras has a bright optimistic outlook on the department with fresh ideas and know exactly what not-to-do after serving under Chritanson.

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