News

Undersheriff Mike Barnett set to Retire after nearly 30 years of Service

Undersheriff Mike Barnett will be retiring tomorrow, November 20th, after more than 29 years of service. Barnett is not completely leaving the department, however. He will remain second in command on a part-time basis. Sheriff Gore has said that we will rely on Barnett until a successor is chosen in 2021.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce Undersheriff Mike Barnett has informed me that he plans to retire effective November 20, 2020,” said Sheriff Bill Gore in a statement. “I am happy for Mike and grateful for his more than 29 years of service to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in four different bureaus (Law Enforcement, Detentions, Human Resources and Office of the Sheriff). I’m also well-aware of what a loss of expertise and leadership his retirement will be for our department.”

Mr. Barnett’s career in law enforcement began in 1991 and in 2001 he was promoted to sergeant. Since then he “has led teams at all levels of this organization which have significantly contributed to making San Diego the safest urban county in the nation.”

“He played a pivotal role in our department’s use of Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP). This modern law enforcement model harnesses data and information from a wide range of sources to identify crime patterns, links and trends. ILP is renowned as one of the best analytical approaches to law enforcement. Thanks to Mike’s vision, we have a better understanding of the areas we patrol while strengthening relationships with the communities we serve. Mike also helped roll out our Body Worn Camera (BWC) program in 2017 after years of research, community input and a successful pilot program. The use of body cameras increases accountability and transparency during law enforcement contacts. It also shows our commitment to shifting demands of technology and providing the best service to our communities.”

Barnett was promoted to undersheriff in 2017

“Thanks to Mike’s vision and leadership, the Sheriff’s Department became the first law enforcement agency in San Diego County to introduce a formal de-escalation policy and training for our deputies in 2018. De-escalation is a combination of tactical communication with a balanced use of force response to critical situations in order to achieve positive outcomes.”

San Diego News Desk thanks Mr. Barnett for his decades of public service and wishes him well in the rest of his endeavors.

The full statement from Sheriff Gore is as follows:

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Undersheriff Mike Barnett has informed me that he plans to retire effective November 20, 2020.

I am happy for Mike and grateful for his more than 29 years of service to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in four different bureaus (Law Enforcement, Detentions, Human Resources and Office of the Sheriff). I’m also well-aware of what a loss of expertise and leadership his retirement will be for our department.

During his career, Mike has led teams at all levels of this organization which have significantly contributed to making San Diego the safest urban county in the nation.

He played a pivotal role in our department’s use of Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP). This modern law enforcement model harnesses data and information from a wide range of sources to identify crime patterns, links and trends. ILP is renowned as one of the best analytical approaches to law enforcement. Thanks to Mike’s vision, we have a better understanding of the areas we patrol while strengthening relationships with the communities we serve.

Mike also helped roll out our Body Worn Camera (BWC) program in 2017 after years of research, community input and a successful pilot program. The use of body cameras increases accountability and transparency during law enforcement contacts. It also shows our commitment to shifting demands of technology and providing the best service to our communities.

Thanks to Mike’s vision and leadership, the Sheriff’s Department became the first law enforcement agency in San Diego County to introduce a formal de-escalation policy and training for our deputies in 2018. De-escalation is a combination of tactical communication with a balanced use of force response to critical situations in order to achieve positive outcomes.

As you all know, this country continues to deal with significant challenges, from a nationwide pandemic and widespread civil unrest regarding racial inequality to highly charged national, state and local elections. Every one of these issues has ramifications for San Diego County.

It is for these reasons I have asked Mike to remain on my team as second in command for the next few months and into next year. I am pleased he has agreed to do so as a temporary employee at a reduced salary, which is a win-win for taxpayers and our department. This will provide continuity of leadership and ensure a seamless transition to the next Undersheriff in 2021.

Join me in congratulating Undersheriff Mike Barnett on his nearly three decades of service and his well-deserved retirement. I will personally miss his sage counsel and wish him all the best as he looks ahead to future opportunities.

For more information on Undersheriff Barnett’s career, click here.