Greg Munks, Sheriff of San Mateo County, California, was re-elected to a second term in the spring of 2012. As the county’s chief law enforcement officer, he is responsible for a broad range of safety and security issues. One of the lesser-known of these is the responsibility to educate the public on how to avoid danger in the wild. Like much of California, a large portion of San Mateo County is mountain lion habitat. Sheriff Greg Munks arranged for the department website to post safety tips for residents and visitors to avoid problems with mountain lions.

People living or spending time in mountain lion country must remember that these cats, while reclusive, are natural predators of deer. Any measures taken to attract deer will also attract mountain lions. For this reason, feeding deer is illegal in California; in addition, property owners can deer-proof their property by eliminating plants that deer like to eat. Brush should be kept trimmed back to reduce spots where mountain lions can hide, and pets and small children should not be left unattended.

Motion-sensitive lighting around a house in mountain lion country will help to frighten them away. Likewise, homeowners with vulnerable livestock like goats and sheep should provide them with sturdy enclosures that are covered. Pets should not be permitted outdoors unattended during the night or during dusk or dawn, because these are the times when mountain lions are the most active. Finally, the guidelines applying to deer also should apply to other potential mountain lion prey, like raccoons and opossums. Pet food that might attract these scavengers should not be left outside.
The sheriff of San Mateo County, California, for the last six years, Sheriff Greg Munks takes a leading role in the annual North Fair Oaks Festival. The festival provides a celebration of food, music, art, and community partnership that is free and open to the public. Under Sheriff Gregory Munks’ leadership, the event has begun to feature scholarship awards for young women who otherwise would be unable to afford tuition. 

Since its beginning in 2002, the North Fair Oaks Festival has grown to entertain more than 30,000 citizens of the greater Redwood City area on a yearly basis. The 12th annual North Fair Oaks Community Festival will take place on Sunday, August 25, 2013, on Redwood City’s Middlefield Road. A sneak peek of the festival’s numerous music, dance, and fine art performances will be provided on Thursday, August 22, at the Sabor del Festival Preview Party. Held in the County History Museum, this event will feature great food and a variety of wine and spirits from Latin America. All proceeds go to benefit the youth programs of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

Since its inception in 2009, the TAILS initiative has seen more than a dozen
graduating classes and many more success stories. Canine graduates include Milo, a young Chihuahua-Dachshund mix who had no previous experience with a leash and collar, and Canelo, who learned to overcome his potty training and aggression issues through food direction. Among the graduates of December 2012, were a smart pit bull and Labrador mix and an affectionate and intelligent border collie mix.

The inmates also have an accomplishment to be proud of. They
have not only successfully rehabilitated dogs with problems, but also acquired
invaluable skill sets to aid them in a future career path. Moreover, by being
completely entrusted to care for and train an animal, they have gained a sense
of responsibility and empathy, qualities Sheriff Gregory Munks and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office believe will reduce instances of recidivism.

About the Author:

Sheriff Greg Munks assumed control of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office in 2007. Prior to that, he spent 14 years as Undersheriff of the Office and served in the Palo Alto Police Department for nine years. He holds degrees from Golden Gate University and the Menlo School of Business Administration.                             
Sheriff Greg Munks, who oversees law enforcement operations in San Mateo County, California, has instituted a number of innovative initiatives over the course of his career, including a scholarship program for underprivileged women and a push to address overcrowding in correctional facilities. In addition, Sheriff Gregory Munks launched TAILS (Transitioning Animals Into Loving Homes), which teaches inmates the principles of responsible dog ownership and rehabilitation. 

Through TAILS, the men staying at a minimum security facility in Redwood City spend eight weeks caring for dogs deemed unadoptable by Peninsula Humane Society. With the help and supervision of certified trainers, these inmates provide obedience instruction, much-needed socialization, exercise, and companionship; the prisoners also groom the canines in their charge and make sure they complete all their assigned "homework." The dogs spend every hour of the day with their handlers, sleeping in their cells at night and working on commands with them during the day. As a result of both parties' hard work over the course of two months, canines are ready for adoption by a caring family.

The current elected Sheriff of San Mateo County, California, Sheriff Greg Munks comes to the position after a 28-year career as an officer and an undersheriff. From his Redwood City government offices, he has instituted a number of new programs during his six years in office. Sheriff Greg Munks is particularly proud of his innovative TAILS program, which connects minimum-security inmates with stray dogs from the Peninsula Humane Society/Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Established in the spring of 2009, TAILS (Transitioning Animals Into Loving Situations) is designed to provide around-the-clock care for dogs with limited adoption potential while giving inmates a positive way to structure their lives and instill their prison lives with meaning. In addition to keeping the dogs healthy, inmates in the program are tasked with training these aggressive or otherwise problematic animals for future adoption into new, permanent homes.

The results of the TAILS program have exceeded all expectations. It has given countless dogs a second chance, but the most remarkable effect of TAILS has been on the incarcerated individuals who participate in the program. Promoting empathy and providing an avenue to develop new skills, the TAILS program has made prison life more bearable for every inmate who has been fortune enough to take part in it.
A nonprofit organization with a half century’s experience helping incarcerated people, the Service League of San Mateo County works with law enforcement and other institutions to furnish initiatives within each of the county’s prisons. Those initiatives include substance abuse education and recovery services, in addition to projects facilitating spirituality and self-improvement.

With the support of volunteers and dedicated staff, the Service League also helps those recently released from prison to transition back into the community. Program coordinators interview candidates requiring assistance and determine the solutions that will best satisfy their needs. Those solutions include helping ex-offenders materially, providing counseling, putting them in contact with other organizations, and offering employment services. All this support comes with the express goal of encouraging ex-offenders to reintegrate into society without returning to a life of criminal activity.

To find out more about the Service League of San Mateo County and the various services it delivers to those impacted by the justice system, please visit

About the author:
Sheriff Gregory Munks sits on the Advisory Board of the Service League of San Mateo County. He has decades of experience in law enforcement.
With a law enforcement history that stretches back over three decades, San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks strives to serve with the intelligence and respect that California citizens demand of their elected officials. Over his years in the office, Sheriff Greg Munks has been intimately involved with the establishment and management of a number of innovative government programs, community outreach projects, and special events. One such event is the annual “food, art, music, and community” celebration known as the North Fair Oaks Community Festival.

Sponsored by the Sheriff's Office of San Mateo County, the North Fair Oaks Community Festival draws more than 30,000 people to Redwood City each year. This multicultural entertainment and craft festival features a parade, a Queen of the Festival Scholarship presentation, and a highly anticipated raffle. The event raises funds for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Activities League, an organization that hosts afterschool and summer activities to benefit children from disadvantaged homes. Proceeds from the North Fair Oaks Community Festival also go to support the Activities League’s mountain summer camp.

The next North Fair Oaks Community Festival will take place on Sunday, August 25, 2013. Bands slated to play this year’s festival include Banda Reinas de la Bahia, La Orden de Michoacan, and Mambo Tropical.

Sheriff Greg Munks has overseen the planning and execution of the North Fair Oaks Community Festival since his election to the office in 2006.
n response to an increase in gang-related activities, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office launched the Coastside Neighborhood Response Team in the coastside communities of San Mateo County in March 2012. To meet its mission, the organization identifies, verifies, and monitors local gang members while assisting the Sheriff’s Office with related criminal investigations. To accomplish these goals, the Sheriff’s Office has dedicated resources and personnel to create the team.

Since its establishment, the Coastside Neighborhood Response Team has identified 120 gang members and 75 associates, who have either admitted to gang participation, possessed gang symbols, or been identified by credible sources. 

This initiative is just one of many introduced by the Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to suppress gang activity in San Mateo County. Other programs include graffiti abatement and improved communication methods. 

About the author: Sheriff Gregory Munks has been an employee of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office since 1993, when he became the County’s Undersheriff. Previously he served the City of Palo Alto.