Veteran law enforcement officer running to unseat longtime Alameda County sheriff

An Alameda County sheriff's captain announced he's running for sheriff.

Capt. Michael Carroll has served 25-years in the sheriff's office and says there have been several controversies during his time there, including inmate suicides and charges of wrongdoing by deputies.

Carroll says he's running now because it's time to correct those problems.

"I am a leader that believes in real change, progressive change," he told KTVU on Monday. "I would like to reform the agency, I would like to restore public trust and I would like to reimagine law enforcement and how we show up in our communities. I believe in public service."

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Carroll added, "I believe in protecting the public, in public safety, and I also believe in collaborating. I believe we need to start to having true collaborative relationships and partnerships. I believe that we need to embrace the community."

Born and raised in San Francisco, Carroll says he has witnessed the "impacts of inequity" in the community. When he was accepted to UC Berkeley, Carroll says he didn't believe it at first - and drove to Sproul Hall, the administration building, to ask if the letter was legitimate and not a prank by his friends. 

He worked his way up the ranks, from patrol deputy and sergeant, ssergeant in the street crimes/robbery unit to captain. 

He has taken part in the "Barber Shop" conversations at San Quentin Prison, the sheriff's Santa Rita Jail and elsewhere in the community, having conversations with Black inmates, police officers, prosecutors and others and discussing the impact law enforcement has had on them. 

Carroll said those forums were "conversations to provide resolutions." He's also created a "cultural diversity" course that helps deputies communicate with people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. He's invited members of the community, including religious leaders, to the sheriff's office to participate in exercises to broaden their perspective about law enforcement.

Carroll said he notified Ahern on Monday of his intention to run.

"We had a conversation in regards to it, and we're going to move forward," Carroll said. "He was very professional about it. Of course, it was disturbing news to know that someone internally is attempting to pursue your position, but he was cordial throughout the conversation."

If elected, Carroll would be the first African-American man to lead the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

He is the second person to announce a bid for the seat.

JoAnn Walker, a police officer in San Francisco who lives in Hayward, announced in mid-January that she would run as a progressive ticket with Pamela Price, who is running against Nancy O'Malley to be District Attorney. 

Right now, it's not clear if the current sheriff, Greg Ahern, plans to run for re-election next year.

KTVU's Henry Lee and Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified JoAnn Walker as a sheriff's deputy.