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Sheriff Administration

Published on: 4/13/2015 2:04 PM
The Office of the Sheriff for the County of Santa Clara has existed since 1850. The Sheriff holds an elected office, which is voted on by the citizens of the county. The Sheriff is elected to a four year term and he or she may serve additional terms if re-elected by the citizens. The current Sheriff is Laurie Smith, who was elected to office in January of 1999. Sheriff Smith is the twenty-eighth Sheriff of Santa Clara County.
The authority and mandates for the Sheriff to provide law enforcement services can be found in several state and local codes. For instance, the Government Code Sections 26600 - 26602 require the Sheriff to preserve the peace, to make arrests, to prevent unlawful disturbances which come to her attention and to investigate public offenses which have been committed. Also, the Santa Clara County Charter (Section 605) requires the Sheriff to provide the County efficient and effective police protection and to perform all the duties required of her by law.
The Sheriff oversees the entire department. What once was a one-man office has, since 1850, grown into a multi-million dollar operation. To oversee this multi-million dollar agency, the Sheriff has a top management team consisting of an Undersheriff, two Assistant Sheriffs, and an Administrative Services Director. 

The Undersheriff reports directly to the Sheriff, is responsible for the operational oversight of the entire Sheriff’s Office, and represents the Sheriff in her absence when needed. The Undersheriff also serves as the Chief of Corrections.

One Assistant Sheriff manages the Field Enforcement Bureau, and the other manages the Custody/Court Services Bureau and the Administrative Bureau. 

The Administrative Services Director manages fiscal, information systems, and the administrative and support staff for all the bureaus.  Together they work with a team approach to manage this very large office.
The Office of the Sheriff Administrative Division, where executive staff have their offices, consists of the following personnel:
  • Sheriff Laurie Smith
  • Undersheriff John Hirokawa
  • Assistant Sheriff Carl Neusel
  • Assistant Sheriff Ken Binder
  • Administrative Services Director Martha Wapenski
  • Public Information Officer Sergeant James Jensen

The Administration Unit is open Monday through Friday (except County holidays) from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We can be reached by calling (408) 808-4900.  Our FAX number is (408) 283-0562.  Or you can email us at

Sheriff's Office Headquarters is located at 55 West Younger Avenue., San Jose, CA 95110