San Benito County Board of Supervisors on April 27 unanimously approved the appointment of Eric Taylor as the new San Benito County Sheriff. Taylor will be acting sheriff-coroner starting June 26. His term expires Jan. 2, 2023.
Sheriff Darren Thompson announced his retirement at the April 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. The sheriff-coroner position is a four-year elected term; voters will again elect a sheriff on June 7, 2022.
The supervisors also considered Captains Roy Iler and Tony Lamonica, but both withdrew from consideration, according to the agenda packet. Supervisor Mark Medina said he still spoke with Iler, who endorsed Taylor.
Taylor said he was grateful the supervisors interviewed him despite Iler’s and Lamonica’s withdrawal, as it shows how seriously they took the appointment.
“Even though the process went the way it did and at the end you were left with one candidate, it’s still meaningful to me that all of you stayed true to the process,” Taylor said. “We talked about the tough issues and I will stand in front of you every meeting and always answer the tough questions and always be honest with you.”
Taylor also thanked his wife and two daughters for their support.
“It’s not easy to be the family of someone in law enforcement, especially the way my career has gone up and down, and left and right, but they’ve never given up on me and I appreciate all three of them very much,” Taylor said.
In addition, he thanked Thompson for taking him under his wing starting when both worked at Watsonville Police Department. Taylor said what he learned there was to police aggressively but treat people with respect and dignity, regardless of economic status or beliefs.
“I promise as your sheriff to have that same level of dignity,” Taylor said.
Several community leaders spoke in support of Taylor’s appointment, including San Benito County Business Council member and former supervisor Jim Gillio, Hollister Fire Department Battalion Chief Charlie Bedolla, San Benito County Office of Education Superintendent Krystal Lomanto, First 5 Executive Director Lisa Faulkner, REACH San Benito Parks Foundation member Valerie Egland, and resident Elia Salinas.
The agenda packet also included letters of support for Taylor by San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper, retired Watsonville chief of police Manny Solano and Hollister Fire Department Chief Bob Martin Del Campo.
“Captain Taylor came to our community with vast experience and leadership,” Hooper states in her letter. “He is a role model for the office. He is respected not only by our sheriff’s office personnel but surrounding departments as well.”
The Board of Supervisors also had only positive statements of Taylor highlighting his community involvement, character and experience.
“When Supervisor Gonzales and I interviewed Captain Taylor before the other candidates dropped out we had a phenomenal interview. It was a homerun all the way,” Supervisor Bob Tiffany said. “We asked a lot of tough questions and he answered every one A-plus level.”
Medina said he also asked tough questions even though Iler and Lamonica had already withdrawn. He said he was still impressed with Taylor’s responses.
“I have no second guessing at all,” Medina said. “You are the man for the job. It’s not going to be easy.”
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