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Sonoma police chief Bret Sackett to retire

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Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett has announced his plans to retire in mid-July after 11 years as the Valley’s top cop.

Sackett has served 28 years with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and 14 years for the City of Sonoma. Sackett is currently the longest tenured police chief in Sonoma County. During his career, he worked as a correctional officer, field training officer, academy training officer, SWAT team member, background investigator and detective in the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault unit.

In 2004, the City of Sonoma began contracting with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services, and give the city access to the resources of the larger Sheriff’s Office.

Sackett joined the transition team in 2004 as a patrol sergeant and in 2007, became Sonoma’s police chief. He is credited with building strong relationships with the La Luz Center and the Latino community, creating a K-9 program, and fostering a financial partnership between the City, Sheriff and Sonoma Valley Unified School District for a School Resource Officer at Sonoma Valley High School.

In addition to serving as the police chief for the City, he has also had responsibility for overseeing law enforcement services for the unincorporated portion of Sonoma Valley on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office. This dual role has allowed for mutual support and streamlined services for both the City and the Valley. Sackett’s leadership and emergency management coordination was considered by many to be critical in the response to the 2017 October fires.

“Bret has really embraced himself with both the Sonoma and Sonoma Valley community,” said Sheriff Rob Giordano when reached on Wednesday. “He has taken such a great leadership role, not just within the Sonoma community, but within our Sheriff’s Office and the different jobs he’s held throughout the years. His work is completely appreciated and he’ll be missed by all of us.”

Over the past decade, Sackett has received the Sheriff’s Office Distinguished Service Award, the Optimist Club’s Officer of the Year award, and was honored by the Consul General of Mexico with the prestigious “Amistad Award” for his service to the Latino community.

Sackett said that he will continue to be involved in Sonoma and that the community will certainly still see him around town after July. He currently mentors six young men through the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, where he also serves on its board of directors. He also sits on the board of Sweetwater Spectrum, a housing community for adults with autism, and has served with a variety of other nonprofit groups over the years.

Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola described Sackett as a “humble, strategic” community leader.

“Chief Sackett managed with expertise, professionalism, integrity and a commitment to justice while also deeply understanding and connecting with Sonoma’s small-town character,” said Capriola.

When reached by phone on Thursday, Sackett said that it has been an honor and a privilege to work in Sonoma and that he was proud of the fine work done by the men and women on his team. In the press release announcing his retirement, expressed a “deep respect and admiration for the Sonoma community.”

A Santa Rosa resident, Sackett is married with three children. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Sonoma State University and graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College’s administration of justice program.

The City of Sonoma Police Department currently has a total staff of 16.5 employees; one chief, two sergeants, 10 patrol deputies, two community services officers and 1.5 administrative staff.

Prospective candidates will be interviewed and a new Sonoma police chief will be appointed by Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola. At this time, three possible candidates have stepped forward to begin the evaluation process.

Sackett said that he looks forward to supporting the City’s choice in any way possible.

Sackett, who is only 50 years old, said that he is looking forward to his chapter two, and that he will be pursing another opportunity in the coming months.

Contact Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.