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.

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.