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Steve Moore, Robert Moreno face-off for San Joaquin County sheriff-coroner

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Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:00 am

They're both career lawmen, they both moved up the ranks at the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, and now two men are running for the Sheriff-Coroner position in June's election.

Current Sheriff Steve Moore is being challenged by Robert "Bob" Moreno, who retired as a lieutenant from the same office. Both worked together for years, and Moreno was one of the few department employees who endorsed Moore during his first campaign four years ago.

Now, Moreno says Moore is not managing the department well enough, especially in light of a security breakdown that allowed an inmate to attack a judge. Moore, meanwhile, stands by the programs and changes he has made during his tenure as sheriff.

Steve Moore

Moore, of Linden, has spent 32 years in law enforcement, the last 28 at the Sheriff's Office. In his bid for re-election, he points to programs he has instated, including a revival of the popular community program.

The program places a patrol car in each of eight neighborhoods throughout the widespread county, so deputies don't have to drive for miles to respond for service. They sometimes walk beats or cruise through neighborhoods talking to residents and business owners.

"It's a great way to do policing — it gets us out in the community, it cuts down on our calls for service," Moore said this week.

He has also seen drug-sniffing dogs begin working in the jail, and secured $80 million in state funding for a jail expansion. Moreno questions whether that is needed, at such a cost and because the jail has not been overcrowded in recent months, but Moore said it's probably a case of now or never.

"The fact that there is money currently available in this state budget. If we choose not to do it, I don't know if we would see any money for jail expansions again," Moore said, noting that it's ultimately up to the Board of Supervisors to determine if more jail space is constructed.

Budget woes are the biggest concern, Moore said, noting that overtime has been cut and that he hopes things will turn around in two to three years.

"I definitely want to be able to guide us through this economic crisis. We've had three good years of growth. Last year we hit a little skid with it but we avoided layoffs," he said. "Now the trick is to preserve as much of our services as we can."

As for the March 2009 courthouse attack, in which Lodi murder suspect David Paradiso attacked Judge Cinda Fox with a jail-made shank, Moore said security has been tightened. Lodi Police Detective Eric Bradley fatally shot Paradiso, ending the assault, and the District Attorney's Office officially ruled the shooting justifiable.

However, the District Attorney's final report still has not been made public, so Moore is waiting until that point before discussing any specific security changes.

"We have made changes," Moore said. "We have continued to make changes because we don't want it to ever happen again."

Though Moreno criticized some of Moore's actions in office, Moore declined to speak about his opponent.

"I don't need to worry about what Bobby's doing, I need to worry about what I'm doing," Moore said.

Robert Moreno

Moreno, of Stockton, spent 31 years with the Sheriff's Office, starting as a cadet and working a variety of positions, ranging from the community car program to investigating sexual assaults and homicides.

He retired in March 2009 and began running his family's flower shop in Stockton. Then the courthouse attack was the "straw that broke the camel's back," as he described his decision to enter the Sheriff's race.

"I used to do those protocol reports. That report is solely to determine if the shooting is justified," he said of officer-involved shooting cases. "I don't know why he keeps standing behind the DA's Office, saying he's waiting for them to release it.

"The public has a right to know, and when you release (the report), you relieve suspicion," Moreno said, adding that attorneys, court employees and the public should know, 14 months later, exactly what security changes have been made.

Money is also a big focus of his campaign. If elected sheriff, Moreno said he will immediately take a 10 percent pay cut as a way of leading by example.

He also said his previous experience in a variety of department positions gives him a better idea of how things really work.

"He's never actually worked any of those assignments hands-on. He was only patrol five or six months," Moreno said of his opponent. "That really hinders his ability to do his job that we're paying him for. We're paying him a quarter of a million dollars a year and I don't think we're getting our money's worth."

Moreno questions the jail expansion proposal, as well as paying a consultant for public education. Instead, he wants to explore adding double bunks to the current jail — something Moore said is not allowed under state law.

Moreno also wants to trim administration, questioning why so many captains are needed when lieutenants, who are paid less, would be just as efficient in a drug task force and other programs.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

Steve Moore at a glance

Education: Bachelor's degree in criminology law enforcement from California State University, Fresno, and a single subject teaching credential. Graduated from the FBI's national academy.

Career: Started at the Oxnard Police Department as a cadet in 1975. Joined the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff in 1982. Has since commanded every major division at the Sheriff's Office. Was elected sheriff in November 2006.

Family: Wife of 29 years, Robyn. A son and a daughter, both of whom are in college.

Robert Moreno at a glance

Education: Associate's degree in administration of justice from San Joaquin Delta College. Bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Pacific Western University.

Career: Joined the San Joaquin County Sheriff's department in 1978. Worked in every division, including bailiff, detective, field training officer and watch commander. Retired in March 2009 as a lieutenant.

Family: Wife of 20 years, Jan. A son in college, and a daughter in high school.

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  • posted at 4:58 pm on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    Cont.. An "us" v/s "them" perpetuates the rank and file and the morale of the dept is severely damaged. Supervisors and mid management are often times overturned in their decision making responsibillties. They become frustrated and apathic in their duties because they feel that their input doesn't make a difference. This was extremtely evident when several of Sheriff Moore's command staff abrutly retired just months after he took office. It is unfortunate that Sheriff Moore does not use the full potential of his best resource, the men and women of the office. On the other hand, Bob has always brought out the best in his people. He provided his people with the necessary resources to perform to the best of their abilities and trusted those abilities. Any of the people who work for him will tell you, They worked hard and respected Bob because they could count on his support when doing the right thing. As the CEO of any Corporation, there must be a balance of overseeing your subordiantes and trusting your subordinates to make the right desicions. Bob has the ability to determine that balance and bring the office to full potential of effectiveness & efficiency

  • posted at 3:38 pm on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    Thank you Lodi News and Layla for covering this local race for Sheriff. I would like to give my perspective on why I feel that Bob is a better choice then Sheriff Moore. True, my opinion is bias because Bob is my brother. However, I feel that I am more then qualified to voice an accurate account of the atmophere within the Sheriff's Office. I worked for the department for 27 years before moving to the district attorney's office in 2008. First off let me say that Sheriff Moore in my opinion, is very dedicated to the department. However, by his own admission, he is a micro-manager. This might not seem like significant issue but it has great impact on the ability to run a department efficiently. Micro managing fosters a sense of distrust from the administration and/or supervisors to the employees. Autonomy and decision making, the basis for community oriented policing, is hindered. Many of the deputies are afraid to make the decisions they are paid to because when they do, they are often times unnecessaraly subjected to suspision of whether it was the right desicion. Cont....

  • posted at 12:53 pm on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    Geez, you guys are all serious and to the point! I was just kidding around!Seriously though, nothing is more biased than peers who were passed by for promotion. Sounds to me like both of these gentlemen running for Sherriff are very qualified. They know how to accomplish goals and are focused on results, and know how to "work the system". That's exactly who you want as the Sheriff, afterall the Sherriff is a Politician!

  • posted at 8:50 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    I too have worked with Steve Moore and am far from impressed. He parades around with a "better than thou" attitude toward all those around him. Classic Napoleon complex....wanna-be bully....

  • posted at 5:22 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    In reading all the previous posts relating to Steve Moore's lack of line officer experience, I would like to add that having worked with Steve Moore from when he was first hired, this information is all true. He failed to work assignments that require basic peace officer skills in dealing with criminal suspects. Moore has very limited experience in preforming those duties.Because of his lack of experience and understanding of what it takes to work real police work, this was only one of the reasons that he was not supported by the Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) in the last election. The DSA supported Moore's oponent. Moore lacks professionalism. This has been referenced on many occasions and can be viewed on a link as referenced in a previous post by "deputy chief"Moore is very capable at politicking, shaking hands and embellishing the truth. His utilizing the Mobile Command Center in a parade illegally is a perfect example of this. Our Top Cop needs to be a real law man not a politician who skirts issues.Vote Moreno, a real law man with credibility

  • posted at 5:10 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    I meant to include URLs for their campaign websites. Steve Moore's is at http://www.moore4sheriff.com/Bob Moreno's is at http://www.bobmoreno4sheriff.com

  • posted at 4:30 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    In regards to the courtroom incident, there have not been any changes made to reflect that reflects the security of the courtroom employees, or the general public. If you have ever had the opportunity to visit a courtroom in this county, you will see that it is being ran the same today as it was when this incident occurred. It amazes me how people keep getting voted into office when all they do is make empty promises. There are no security measures in place that ensure the publics safety at any of the courthouses. Sheriff Moore has had an ample amount of time to address this issue, yet he conitnues to sweep the issue under the rug. We need somone who can make the necessary changes that will not only protect the court staff, but the public as well. Bob Moreno has worked from the bottom up and was a very respected leader when he was employed by the office. Its time to address these issues that Moore promised, its time to put a plan into action. Moreno is the person who can and will do this, he has said its one of his main priorities!

  • posted at 3:24 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    Moore spent 99% of his total law enforcement career behind a desk. How many Cops do you know avoid working shift work and preforming routine street crime investigative work? Moore spent his career behind a desk, Baxter Dunn was his ticket to promotion and avoidance of having to make the sacrifices that all other law enforcement officers make.Sheriff Moore ran his last campaign promising transparency. He promised to disclose the report to the public regarding the obvious breakdown in courtroom security. The only thing transparent about Sheriff Moore is his inability to maintain any sense of credibility.We cannot afford to risk more lawsuits filed against an incompetent Sheriff. His irresponsible spending and mismanagement of funds need changing. His 4 year track record speaks for itself.Sheriff Moore has failed the public and prooved that he is incapable of providing the necessary leadership that San Joaquin County needs and pays for.

  • posted at 2:55 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    I would like to know how someone who has not had the experience in the fundemental basics of law enforcement can be chosen to be the leader of the largest law enforcement agency in this county. Moore has made poor choices regarding spending, and runs his office with scare tactics. With economic times the way they are, he continued to hire deputies knowing fully well we would need to make reductions, only now to deliver upcoming layoff notices to at least 28 deputies. He purchased that big mess of a command vehicle knowing fully well it was illegal to drive, yet drove it illegally in several parades without any type of permit. How can a law enforcement agency be ran by a leader who refuses to obey the law. Its time for a change, its time for the Sheriff's office to make a turn-around Moreno is the right choice for Sheriff!

  • posted at 1:44 am on Thu, May 13, 2010.


    Sheriff Moore was the one responsible for "Mobile Command Center fiasco."This is just one example of his failure to monitor fiscal issues within his dept. He hires more deputies during lean fiscal times, only to find himself notifying these deputies that they all are on his list to be laid off due to budget cuts. That again is incompetent fiscal management of the county budget, he lacks vision to prepare for these issues. His incompetent communication abilities can be viewed on this TV video(channel 31) http://cbs13.com/local/San.Joaquin.Courthouse.2.952661.html, again displaying a defensive demeanor coupled with failing to accept responsibility for the smuggling of a weapon from the jail into the Courthouse.Lawsuits that have been filed under Moore's watch have and will continue to cost the county more money.Moreno is the man who has the vision and the capability of restoring integrity to the position of Sheriff-Coroner.

  • posted at 11:07 pm on Wed, May 12, 2010.


    Just to slam em' once more...They actually tried to justify this overgrown bread truck by saying, "It can communicate with up to 500 different agencies" !!!!When in the heck are 500 AGENCIES going to be in SJ County? It's not the space shuttle for JC sakes!

  • posted at 11:03 pm on Wed, May 12, 2010.


    Which one of these gentlemen was responsible for buying that huge waste of tax-payer dollars they call the (said in a loud God-like voice) "Mobile Command Center"?Remember the one they had to ship back to the midwest because it wouldn't handle the weight of all the equipment. What ever happened to that thing. Wasn't that the same van used on the old TV show "SWAT", lol!



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