At a ceremony attended by several hundred current and retired deputies, judges and family members, Steve Moore was sworn in Monday as San Joaquin County's 24th sheriff.
The crowd filled Judge Richard Guiliani's courtroom on the third floor of the courthouse, as well as a nearby courtroom equipped with a televised view of the afternoon event.
Moore's first official act as sheriff was to create a position of undersheriff and give the job to John Drummond, who along with Moore had been one of two captains. He also appointed two new captains, and his next priorities are to increase patrol deputies and building another jail wing.
Outgoing Sheriff Bob Heidelbach had come out of retirement to take the job for two years after a corruption scandal and promised not to endorse a candidate, but he said Moore will do well in the position.
"He's honest and hard-working. He'll lead by example, and that's what's important," Heidelbach said.
Moore took his oath of office with his left hand placed on his family's large white Bible, as a number of family members sat in the audience. He singled out retired Sgt. Gordon Kennedy, who was seated in a wheelchair.
"Even while he suffered from a massive stroke, he continued to support my campaign," Moore said as Kennedy began crying.
In a close, expensive race leading up to November's election, Moore edged out retired California Highway Patrol Chief Dennis Lobenberg. The two had received the highest votes in last spring's primary elections, the first since former sheriff Baxter Dunn accepted a plea deal in a corruption scandal and retired from office the same day.
Moore said one of his top priorities is to increase patrol - the department is down 30 positions, not counting retirements and departures that happen every year.
Residents in outlying areas, including much of the northern end of the county, have gotten used to slow response times, and there is often one deputy patrolling the whole area. Moore wants to increase the number of patrol cars in those areas and also wants to see faster response times.
His other immediate priority is seeing the completion of a jail, possibly this spring, and then finding money to enlarge the jail.
Newly appointed Assistant Sheriff John Picone will be charged with overseeing that project, while new Assistant Sheriff Jess DuBois will oversee patrol and the coroner's unit.
All administrative and internal affairs matters will now be handled by Drummond, rather than split between two people, Moore said.
Steve MooreAge: 51
Experience: Became a police explorer at age 16. Started with Oxnard Police Department in 1978 and the Sheriff's Office in 1982. Promoted to sergeant in 1986, lieutenant in 1991, captain in 2002 and assistant sheriff in 2004. Attended the 185th session of the FBI academy in Virginia. Received a bachelor's degree in criminology law enforcement from California State University, Fresno.
Family: Wife, Robyn; son, Gregory, in high school; and daughter, Stephanie, in college.
First published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007