Written by Gabriel Otis
Mike Barnett is the Undersheriff of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. He has overseen the department’s operations since 2017, acting as the chief deputy of Sheriff William Gore. In these troubling times that law enforcement has faced across the country, Undersheriff Barnett has served as an excellent representative of the department. He has been a steadfast advocate for the department and law enforcement in general, as men and women who act as a beacon of hope and good for the community.
Recently, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved three new actions aimed at addressing the frictions between the community and law enforcement. The first being establishing mobile crisis response teams focused on alleviating the behavioral health crisis from the Sheriff Department’s workload. Second, the Board required the establishment of an Office of Equity and Racial Justice, which will permanently be staffed by three full-time employees. Finally, there will be increased independence and oversight responsibilities of the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board.
Undersheriff Barnett has no objections to these initiatives and welcomes these changes if implemented in the most effective way to put importance on public safety as opposed to politics. The San Diego Sheriff’s Department has long been seen as the “fixers of all the different ills of society.”
He is also enthusiastic about the increased partnership between other aspects of county government. Deputies responded to 54,000 calls in 2019 that were related to mental health. Increased cooperation and partnerships will go a long way in continuing the excellent efforts undertaken by the Sheriff’s Department to ensure the safety of San Diegans.
Undersheriff Barnett has long emphasized that the men and women in the Sheriff’s Department are good people who treat their duties “fairly, equitably and seriously.” As he says, “when law enforcement officers show up to a scene, it [the situation] gets remarkably better.”