Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 is a day that Patrick Withrow will remember for a long time.
Not only did the lifelong area resident get sworn in as the new San Joaquin County Sheriff by his brother, he also had the chance to return the favor and swear his brother in to a new term as a Stanislaus County Supervisor.
“It was a great day for our family,” Withrow, an Escalon resident and the new county sheriff said.
The ceremony was hosted at the Sheriff’s Department offices in French Camp, with Terry Withrow administering the oath.
“He’s a member of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors,” Withrow said. “It was just absolutely amazing, I was able to then go and swear him in for a new term.”
Withrow takes over as the county’s 25th sheriff and defeated incumbent Steve Moore to earn the position. He noted that it was the first time in the department’s history that a seated incumbent running for re-election was turned out of office. Withrow was elected in the June 5, 2018 primary.
The new sheriff – who spent 28 years with the department prior to retirement in April, 2015 – said he is eager to get back to work for a 29th year and already has some goals.
“My first priority is beefing up patrols, getting more people in rural areas to suppress crime,” Withrow explained. “I also want more people on duty on each patrol team.”
The department will also utilize AGNET, an Agriculture Gang Narcotics Enforcement Team, to put more ‘boots on the ground’ in an effort to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it comes to rural crime.
“The concept behind it is 20 guys, two sergeants and a lieutenant at the street level; the ones in the gangs are the ones going out to victimize farms and the rural areas, taking the copper wire, stealing the equipment,” Withrow said. “They (AGNET) will work very closely with our crime analysis people and our patrol beat cars, our community cars, we will work to suppress crime before it happens.”
During his previous 28 years with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, Withrow served in multiple capacities, starting in custody and then working in patrol, as a K9 officer and spending several years with the SWAT team. He also worked as a contract deputy for the City of Lathrop and at one point ran the department’s AWP, Alternative Work Program.
He feels the experience gained in nearly three decades of police work has prepared him well for his new position.
“I got to see a nice mixture of all facets of our department,” he said.
Now, he will be working with budgets as much as fighting crime, but hopes to strike a balance as he oversees a department with some 850 personnel. Withrow ran unsuccessfully for sheriff during the 2014 election but decided to try again in 201 after his retirement.
He has spent his entire law enforcement career in San Joaquin County, where he also was born and raised. Now, he and his wife have three grown children and they still call Escalon home.
“It is an absolute honor to be able to be leading this department,” Withrow said.