Alameda County Sheriff's Office

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Alameda County Sheriff's Office
Abbreviation ACSO
Alameda County, CA Sheriff.jpg
Patch of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of California, USA
Legal jurisdiction Alameda County, California
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Oakland, California
Sworn members 1000+
Unsworn members 500+
Sheriff responsible Gregory J. Ahern
Stations 5
Jails 2
Official website
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) is a law enforcement agency serving Alameda County, California. The ACSO is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the American Correctional Association (ACA), National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and the California Medical Association (CMA).

As of 2008, the ACSO has approximately 1500 positions, over 1000 of which are sworn peace officers.

The ACSO is charged with

  1. Providing security to the Consolidated Superior Courts
  2. Operating the Coroner's Bureau
  3. Operating a full-service crime laboratory
  4. Operating a County Jail and Detention Center
  5. Conducting a basic academy pursuant to Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) requirements.
  6. Performing Civil Process
  7. Operating the County Office of Emergency Services
  8. Providing Fish and Game enforcement
  9. Operating a Marine Patrol Unit in the San Francisco Bay waters
  10. Providing patrol and investigative services to the unincorporated areas of Alameda County
  11. Pursuant to contractual agreements, providing patrol and investigative services to the City of Dublin, Peralta Community College District, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex, Oakland International Airport, Highland County Hospital, Social Services, and to the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District[1]

The sheriff and coroner is an elected position currently filled by Gregory J. Ahern. The previous sheriff was well known local law enforcement figure Charles Plummer, who served from 1987 to 2007.

Detention facilities[edit]

The ACSO operates two detention facilities (or jails). The Santa Rita Jail is the primary facility that houses most people arrested or convicted of crimes in the county and is located in Dublin, CA. The Glenn Dyer Detention facility, also known as the North County Jail, houses a smaller number of inmates and is located in downtown Oakland, directly adjacent to the Wiley W. Manuel court building in which the majority of the county's criminal calendar is initially heard.[2]

Training and exercises[edit]

The ACSO operates a police academy as well as training exercises for the greater law enforcement community in the Bay Area.

Hosted by the ACSO, Urban Shield is the largest urban "SWAT" exercise in the United States. Held in the fall, it provides an opportunity for police special teams from all over the nation to train in 20 scenarios over a continuous 50 hour exercise. These scenarios range from an active shooter on the UC Berkeley campus to airplane hijacking to maritime interdiction and a 20-mile hike.[3]

Eden Township substation[edit]

ACSO operates a police substation in San Leandro, near John George Psychiatric Pavilion and a juvenile detention center.

Crime laboratory[edit]

The ACSO operates a crime laboratory that is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. The Crime Lab, located at the Eden Township substation, receives and analyzes evidence from law enforcement agencies throughout the county. The Crime Lab has capabilities in controlled substance analysis, latent fingerprint recovery, ballistics, tool mark identification, and DNA extraction and analysis. The crime lab staff can also serve as crime scene investigators upon request by law enforcement agencies in the county.[4]

Coroner's bureau[edit]

The ACSO operates the Coroner's Bureau in downtown Oakland. Coroner's Pathologists, Deputy Sheriff's, Forensic Death Investigators, and Sheriff's technicians, assist all law enforcement agencies throughout the county in determining the type and manner of death of all persons in Alameda County. They also make contact of next of kin anywhere in the world, and seize and protect assets' of decedents whenever needed. When next of kin cannot be located they decide when to refer the case to the Public Administrator.[5]

Controversial Policies[edit]

In early 2013 Sheriff Gregory Ahern proposed purchasing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which produced much public controversy and discussion.[6] Sheriff Ahern was one of the first law enforcement officers in California to request a UAV. Privacy advocates such as the ACLU feared widespread surveillance from the sky. The controversy generated nationwide interest.[7] Responding to Sheriff Ahern's request, an organization called Alameda County Against Drones or ACAD formed.[8] Petitions on were started. Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors decided that just because the technology exists, does not mean Alameda County should use it, and did not approve the purchase in 2013.[9]

Urban Shield[edit]

Later in 2013, Sheriff Ahern organized "Urban Shield" which was held in Oakland on the 2nd anniversary of the removal of Occupy Oakland from Frank Ogawa Plaza.[10] The Sheriff claimed that Urban Shield is about first responder preparedness. Community activists countered that urban shield was a forum for arms dealers, and part of the process of the militarization of civilian peace officers.[11] Objections have been raised that this militarization is aimed at quelling citizens rights to free speech and assembly while enriching international arms dealers. Weapons manufacturer Condor, of "less lethal" type munitions, such as that used on Occupiers in 2011, have reported a 33% increase in profits.[12] Meanwhile, the City of Oakland recently settled a lawsuit for $1.17 million, brought by Occupiers who claimed use of excessive force by Oakland Police in 2011 which included use of these "less lethal" munitions.[13] 7

No Contested Elections. With the June, 2014 election, a group called "Elections for the People" have been concerned that for many decades the position of Sheriff, while elected, has not been a contested election. The current Sheriff Ahern was selected by the prior Sheriff Plummer, and has run twice, unopposed.[14] The 2012 salary for the Sheriff of Alameda was over $547,000.00; which includes a base salary of $267,871, and other benefits and payments.[15]

Rank Structure[edit]

Title Insignia
New York Fire Department Chief Rank.png
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Sheriff
2 Gold Stars.svg
1 Gold Star.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg


Memorial to fallen officers from Alameda County, including Sheriff's Office forces, Lone Tree Cemetery, Fairview

During the Free Speech Movement riots of the 1960s, Alameda County Sheriff deployed several squads of Deputies. Clad in light blue jumpsuits, they quickly became known by anti-government protesters as "The Blue Meanies".[16]

In November 2010, October and November 2011, and January 2012, Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies were requested by the Oakland Police Department and supplied by the Sheriff to assist at protests.[17][18]

Former sheriffs[edit]

Activist Stew Albert ran for sheriff in 1970, garnering 65,000 more votes than the previous sheriff, who had supervised his incarceration.

Other law enforcement agencies[edit]

Most of the cities within the county have their own police forces, including the Alameda Police Department; the Berkeley Police Department; the Oakland Police Department; the San Leandro Police Department; the Hayward Police Department and the Fremont Police Department. The municipal police departments provide routine law enforcement services for those cities, with the ACSO providing corresponding services for unincorporated regions of Alameda County and the city of Dublin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alameda County Sheriff's Office
  2. ^ Alameda County Sheriff's Office - Detention & Corrections Division
  3. ^ Urban Shield 2007 Alameda County Sheriff's Department
  4. ^ Alameda County Sheriff's Office - Criminalistics Laboratory
  5. ^ Alameda County Sheriff's Office - Coroner's Bureau
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Nation: Occupied Berkeley, TIME, Friday, May. 30, 1969
  17. ^ [1], FogCityJournal, October 27th, 2011
  18. ^ [2], San Francisco Chronicle, June 24th, 2013
  • Sheriffs from 1853 to 1883 - "History of Alameda County", M.W. Wood, 1883.

External links[edit]