Response by Sheriff Freitas to Letter of Concern

Published:  October 31, 2014

Sheriff's Office Logo 120

October 3, 2014

Judy Rice, Chairperson
Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task force
575 Administration Drive, Suite 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Dear Judy,

I am in receipt of your letter, dated September 9, 2014. I appreciate the Subcommittee sharing its concerns with me. While I understand there is frustration regarding this topic with some in our community, it is my constitutional responsibility to follow policies and laws. Deputy Sheriff Gelhaus was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by our District Attorney. Additionally, an internal investigation evaluated Sheriff's Office policies and determined that Deputy Sheriff Gelhaus did not violate any policy.

Also, it is important to note that the Sheriff's Office, and I, have received literally hundreds of calls, letters of support, and personal interactions with the public that expressed support for Deputy Gelhaus' return to patrol duty. This includes neighborhoods throughout the entire County. As Sheriff am elected by the County as a whole and must balance needs for all citizens.

Given the exhaustive and intense outside investigation, as well as our internal one, there are no legislative reasons to not return Deputy Sheriff Gelhaus to his assignment on patrol.

I respect and listen to all opinions from members of the public. Including your Subcommittee. I will continue to welcome collaborative and constructive ideas that will benefit all of Sonoma County.

Sincerely

Steve Freitas
Sheriff-Coroner

Original Letter (PDF)