San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer announced Tuesday she would not embark on a campaign to secure the title of San Mateo County sheriff in the 2018 election.
Manheimer, who has more than 30 years of policing experience, considered running for the county’s top law enforcement position after Sheriff Greg Munks announced in November he would not seek re-election.
Munks’ early announcement prompted San Mateo County Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos to quickly throw his hat in the ring and Manheimer to announce she too would consider the elected position. Still more than two years before countywide voters will have a say, other candidates may rise to the surface.
But taking on a campaign and leaving the San Mateo department ultimately led Manheimer to decide to focus on her family and continuing serving as the local community’s chief.
“I was deeply humbled and amazed by the deep level of support and encouragement I got. But at the end of the day, I had to prioritize my family,” Manheimer said. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to and impact some of the lives in our county.”
During her tenure with San Mateo, Manheimer has built a reputation having urged more community outreach, rising as a leader in the county’s anti-human trafficking efforts and promoting the city’s youth-focused diversion programs such as the Police Activities League.
Manheimer was first hired to oversee the city’s department in 2000 after spending 16 years working as a San Francisco police officer, including in one of the roughest neighborhoods as commanding officer of the Tenderloin Task Force.
Although still years away from voters deciding who should take the reins of the Sheriff’s Office, San Mateo’s chief now out of the running leaves Bolanos as the top contender.
Bolanos officially filed his candidacy in November, after which he said he’d started fundraising and was endorsed by Munks.
The current 61-year-old sheriff was first elected to the position in 2006 after then sheriff Don Horsley retired and later was elected as a county supervisor.
The sheriff is responsible for policing unincorporated areas of the county as well as communities that contract for services such as Half Moon Bay, San Carlos and Millbrae. The Sheriff’s Office also oversees the county’s correctional and court systems, the area’s homeland security and emergency services divisions as well as numerous task forces such as SWAT, narcotics and vehicle theft.
Manheimer expressed confidence that she would have garnered enough support to win an election. She previously noted she would officially announce her candidacy sometime this year, but said this week she has decided focusing on her family needed to take priority — particularly as her father’s health is ailing.
In a letter she sent to the community and the department, Manheimer noted her family obligations and dedication to San Mateo were premier factors in making the difficult decision not to seek the sheriff’s position.
“These are my priorities, and being unable to give anything less than the full measure of my efforts to this race, particularly with the backing of so many I respect and admire within this county, would not be acceptable to me,” Manheimer wrote. “I look forward to continuing to work with each of you as we ‘lean in’ to enhance our safety, security, quality of life and justice for all within our communities. It has been my life’s work, and I look forward to continuing the programs and strides that we’ve made in this city and this county.”
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