Ira Sharp | Crest Road
|Sheriff Taft. Photo Ira Sharp.
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Have you had lunch with the Sheriff? Captain Herb Taft is making sure that he is easily recognized by wearing his uniform, eating lunch on the Del Mar Plaza all while hoping residents will join him and talk about what is on their minds. It is important to build relationships with the communities that he serves and being accessible is one way he does that.
Along with a new Sheriff comes a new approach for providing Del Mar better service: a 24/7 Sheriff’s Storefront near 15th Street will be opening soon in Del Mar. This will greatly increase the time that deputies are visible by giving them a home base in Del Mar. The plan calls for a rotation of the same deputies working 12 hour shifts seven days a week.
A separate, new Sheriff’s contract with the Fairgrounds for special events will add to the time that deputies are on the streets in Del Mar, leading to faster response times and enhanced communications on issues like traffic hot spots, neighborhood safety and recommendations for improvements to the City Manager. Captain Taft notes that in a safe community like Del Mar, traffic is usually the number one issue citizens are concerned about. He will respond to every citizen complaint and will not hesitate to assign officers based upon the community’s need for traffic enforcement in specific areas.
As Captain Taft moved up steadily through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Department, two things stand out: he has always been promoted to positions of greater responsibility, upward instead of lateral; he has had two traffic command assignments in San Diego communities providing experience involving traffic issues on a broad community basis. Twice he has served in the critically important communications center which answers all 911 calls, which, focused on achieving its outstanding record of a 98% rate of response in under 10 seconds. He reminds us that if you have an immediate emergency or crime in progress call 911 but if you have a less serious crime that occurred and there is no immediate danger then call the Sheriff non-emergency line at 858-565-5200.
You get a big grin from Captain Taft when he talks about his two years as a detective and how good it feels to solve a crime, make an arrest and help the victim. He cited video cameras such as a Ring doorbell and other home security systems as one of the biggest crime-solving aids. When a citizen turns over the videotape to the SDSO, it is posted throughout the law enforcement community to help identify suspects. There is a good chance that the criminal was arrested before and can be identified through facial recognition technology, or the old-fashioned way of an officer in another community recognizing the criminal. Neither the Sheriff nor the San Diego Police can monitor NextDoor. He stresses that when you have a crime in progress FIRST, CALL THE SHERIFF; then if you want, post news of the incident on NextDoor to alert your neighbors.
For Captain Taft’s last assignment before this one, he was personally selected by Sheriff Gore to be his Special Assistant during the last two years, which included Gore’s 2016 re-election campaign. He went everywhere with Sheriff Gore, traveled to other cities, spoke on his behalf, and much more. Sheriff Gore, according to Captain Taft, is unrelenting in demanding the best equipment and best training for the entire Sheriff department. In addition, the goal of Captain Taft is to provide the highest quality public safety service for the North Coastal Sheriff’s Command.
Captain Taft attended Boston University for two years with a major in chemistry; he transferred to UC Davis where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. After college he worked at Mercy Hospital in the lab for two and a half years until his acceptance to the Navy Officer program. He attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island before his first assignment as a junior officer aboard a Navy ship. After 8 years in the navy and several overseas assignments as an engineer, operations officer and instructor, he missed being with his young family, and when he was offered a choice of final assignments, he chose San Diego. His first San Diego assignment was teaching at the Submarine Warfare School. He has two adult sons, one attending Kennesaw State University and one who works for a cruise ship line. He also has a seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter.