Deputy Challenges Yolo County Sheriff, with Backing of Deputy Sheriff’s Association

By Robert J. Hansen

Woodland, CA – Tommy Hayes, a 15-year Yolo County Sheriff’s deputy, announced his campaign for Yolo County Sheriff on March 29 on Facebook.

Hayes, a resident deputy sheriff for the rural Zamora community north of Woodland, has been endorsed by the Yolo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association with 77 percent of members participating in the vote.

“I am proud to announce the endorsement from the Yolo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association for Yolo Sheriff,” Hayes said. “I am honored to receive overwhelming support from my fellow Deputies, who believe in me.”

According to Hayes’s website, he considers a significant staffing shortage the most pressing issue facing the Yolo Sheriff’s Office.

“We have dozens of vacancies between our many divisions,” Hayes said. “During my 15 years at the Sheriff’s Office, morale has never been as low as it is today.  With all the staffing shortages, we continue to see veteran staff in all divisions leaving for other departments.”

The resources spent training these veteran staff members leaves with them according to Hayes.

“When these veterans leave, it creates a strain on the current staff, often burning them out, denial of time off, and creating a crippling overtime expense,” Hayes said. “It would be one of my top priorities to improve and modify our recruiting practices to attract, hire, and retain qualified candidates, while not lowering our standards or jeopardizing the public’s faith in our agency.”

To voters, an important issue seems to be Sheriff Tom Lopez’s policy on not allowing concealed carry permits (CCW) in Yolo County.

“Current Sheriff Tom Lopez, does not support residents defending their businesses or homes, by having a CCW, but Tommy Hayes does,” Stephen Chaudhry, Yolo resident said. Tommy Hayes wants residents, with clean records and background checks, to have the opportunity to have a  firearm with a CCW, just like other counties that surround Yolo County.”

Shari Pedersen said she questioned Sheriff Lopez after he was elected about changing CCW procurement procedures to be more in line with the surrounding counties.  

“He said he is ‘working on it,’” Pedersen said.  “However, the fact that the city of Davis is part of Yolo County impacts this situation.  As far as I know, absolutely nothing has changed. To obtain your CCW you need to move to any other county.”

“If elected as Yolo Sheriff, you will see a continued communication and collaboration with the citizens of the county to serve in ways that matter to them,” Hayes said.

“I feel that Yolo County’s current policy is discriminatory, often denying qualified citizens a CCW permit simply because they do not own a business. What about the individuals that are nurses, firefighters, office managers that carry large sums of cash to the bank, prior victims of violence, and shift workers? Owners of businesses are not the only ones that have the right to keep themselves safe,” Hayes said. “We cannot have law enforcement everywhere, nor would we want to.”

Hayes said he would model the policy similar to surrounding counties’ CCW policies and make the application and testing process available to all residents while requiring extensive background checks and training requirements.

Also endorsing Hayes is retired Tustin Deputy Chief of Police Jeff Blair.

“I have known Tommy for well over a decade and he always spoke about how much pride he takes in the Yolo County community,” Blair said on Facebook. “I have 31-years of sworn law enforcement experience and served as the interim Tustin Police Chief before retiring as the Deputy Chief in 2020.  I am confident Tommy is the best candidate for the position.”

Another goal for Hayes would be the creation of a Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Board that would consist of members from our diverse community who will be able to communicate the direct needs of its citizens.  

“The board would have the opportunity to meet regularly with the Sheriff, discuss topics of interest and concern, be a conduit for information to the communities, and provide input on initiatives and policies relating to the office’s relationship with the community,” Hayes said 

Read here to find out more about Hayes’ platform.

About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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