After more than 10 years as San Benito County Sheriff, Darren Thompson announced he will retire on June 25.
“It is with much contemplation in speaking with my family and my close friends that I will be departing from you after completing 33 years of service,” Thompson said.
Thompson broke the news at the San Benito County Board of Supervisors meeting April 13 after presenting a display of badges from 1988 showing 13 agencies and 34 people who attended the police academy with him. He said he was the last active member of that group.
“That probably means it’s time for me to go,” Thompson said.
He said the display board, which was found in a closet at Gavilan College, was given to him after he was elected sheriff in 2010.
Thompson asked the Board of Supervisors to expedite the process of appointing his replacement until the next election because he wanted to spend as much time as possible with the interim sheriff to ensure a smooth transition.
He also said he would provide a state-of-the-county address prior to his departure, which would include updates on pending cases and projects.
Supervisors thanked Thompson for his years of service and congratulated him on his retirement.
“You’ve proven to have been the perfect person for the job and our county owes you a deep debt of gratitude for your service and the culture that you developed and created at the Sheriff’s Office,” Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki said. “For me what stands out is the sense of the high level of integrity that you bring to the role, the level of trust that you gained from your staff and the community.”
Supervisor Peter Hernandez said he knows Thompson to be a person of integrity and that he provided honor and stability to the Sheriff’s Department.
Supervisor Mark Medina said only five sheriffs have been elected since 1974, one of them being his uncle Julian Medina, and that it says a lot about the position and leadership.
“What you’ve done here is, an outsider coming in taking control of the department or the office and it shows,” Medina said. “We’ve had many conversations. Some of them we agreed with, some of them we disagreed, but when we hung up that phone we knew we could depend on each other. And we understood the passion that existed in both of us.”
Medina also said he wanted the supervisors to interview Capt. Roy Iler, Capt. Eric Taylor and Capt. Tony Lamonica and appoint one of them interim sheriff at the April 27 supervisors meeting.
“[Thompson] needs to transfer that knowledge and the quicker we can put someone in that position the more successful we will be. It’s not just for us but also for the sheriff,” Medina said.
The other supervisors agreed with his recommendation.
Thompson was re-elected in the June 2018 primary, winning 69.92% of the votes. Voters will elect a new sheriff in 2022.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and I look forward to spending the next 74 days with you,” Thompson said.
BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is working around the clock during this time when accurate information is essential. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.