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.
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.
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.
Steve Moore at a glanceEducation: 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 glanceEducation: 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.