Retired SLOPD officer to run for County Sheriff on reform platform
–Retired San Luis Obispo police officer Greg Clayton has filed papers to run for San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, promising a “campaign of justice and reform” based upon a series of 12 deaths at the County Jail during the past five years.
“The manner in which Andrew Holland was killed has compelled me to step forward,” said Clayton, who, after retiring from SLO PO due to an on-duty motorcycle injury, has served as a private investigator in San Luis Obispo for the past 25 years.
Clayton said he has examined available public information about the death of Holland, 36- who died in January 2017 at the County Jail after being strapped to a restraining chair for more than 46 hours- and concluded that reform in jail practices are overdue. The county jail is overseen by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.
“I feel strongly that an elected sheriff has to be an advocate for all,” Clayton said, “including the inmates with mental illness who are entrusted to the Sheriff’s care. It was our current sheriff’s personal decision to place Andrew Holland in the restraint chair for 46 hours – a decision that ultimately killed him.”
Clayton has lived in San Luis Obispo County since 1975. He is a graduate of Cal Poly with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in public administration, Clayton started his law enforcement career at the SLO County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy sheriff after completing the sheriff’s academy.
He was hired in 1979 by the SLO Police Department. Clayton completed a variety of assignments including Tactical Team, Patrol, SWAT, Motorcycle Officer, Field Training Officer and Crimes against Persons Investigator.
Following an early medical retirement due to an on-duty injury, Clayton obtained his Private Investigator’s license. He has spent the last 25 years working civil claims and criminal investigations for government agencies, insurance companies and attorneys.
While Clayton says he has a good personal relationship with the incumbent sheriff, he said reform of the department and interrelated County Mental Health system has waited long enough.
“After nearly eight years of his leadership, our current sheriff has the dubious distinction of leading a department that has three times the national death rate of in-custody inmates,” Clayton said. “I strongly believe I can be an agent of change in the jail and the entire department, that I can lead the department forward while providing transparency, accountability and citizen’s oversight.”
Key issues Clayton intends to pursue as sheriff:
• The deaths of inmates in our county jail – “Particularly the use of a restraint chair for 46 hours to torture and kill a severely mentally ill inmate.”
• Lack of a dedicated psychiatric care facility at county jail – “Due to a federal mandate requiring inmate population realignment, California jails now have responsibility for supervising certain kinds of felony offenders. Inmates were transferred from our state prison system to our local jail. Our jail has now become a defacto prison. We need a psychiatric care facility staffed with experienced psychiatric technicians, psychiatric nurses and physicians.”
• Lack of a specifically trained specialist, a warden – “On-site leadership is needed to oversee and manage our jail system along with citizen oversight.”
• Establish an Independent Medical Examiner’s Office- “Such an office, separated from the Sheriffs Department, is necessary to avoid conflicts of interest.”
“The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department is comprised of highly competent, well trained, professional men and woman,” Clayton said. “They have each dedicated themselves to public service. These outstanding men and women need engaged leadership at the top so they are properly guided and have the capacity to succeed each and every day,” he said. “Please study the issues and I ask for your vote.”