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San Mateo CountyCandidate for Sheriff

Photo of Carlos G. Bolanos

Carlos G. Bolanos

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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Building strong community relationships.
  • Addressing the mental health crisis and implementing effective programs to reduce recidivism.
  • Leveraging modern technology to enhance public safety.



Profession:San Mateo County Sheriff
Sheriff, San Mateo County — Elected position (2018–current)
Sheriff, San Mateo County — Appointed position (2016–2018)
Undersheriff, San Mateo County — Appointed position (2006–2016)
Redwood City Police Chief, City of Redwood City — Appointed position (1994–2006)
Chief of Police, City of Redwood City — Appointed position (1994–2006)


California State University, East Bay Master of Arts, Public Administration (2000)
University of San Francisco Bachelor of Arts, Economics (1993)


I was born and raised in San Francisco and have spent myentire life in the Bay Area. My parents emigrated to the United States from Nicaragua, and I am a first generation Nicaraguan American. Growing up, my parents instilled in me the values ofhard work, integrity, and respect. Those core values shaped me and got me to where I am today.

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, East Bay. I am also a graduate of the California Command College Program and the Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program.

I have been married to my wife, Kim, for forty-one years, and together we have three amazing children and three beautiful grandchildren. I am very grateful to my parents for teaching me the value of hard work, and I am thankful to this wonderful County for the opportunities that it affords everyone who is willing to work for them.

I have a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. I began my career in 1979 as a patrol officer with the Palo Alto Police Department. While with the Palo Alto Police Department, I promoted through the ranks going on to serve as a detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. During this time, I was fortunate to work alongside leaders and mentors who were forward thinking, professional, and truly dedicated to serving their community. This inspired me to become a leader in law enforcement.

In 1991, I accepted a position as a Police Captain with the City of Salinas. In 1994, I was appointed as Police Chief for the Redwood City Police Department. During my thirteen-year tenure as the Redwood City Police Chief, I integrated a community-oriented policing philosophy in the organization which included focusing on youth-oriented programs and bringing the PAL program to our community. In 2007, I was appointed as Undersheriff of San Mateo County and served in that role until 2016 when I was appointed, and subsequently elected, Sheriff of San Mateo County.

Throughout my law enforcement career, I have embraced and understood the importance of the Community Policing philosophy and the role it plays in effective policing. I believe that building relationships and developing partnerships with our community members is the key to effective  policing.

As Sheriff, my priorities are to:

  • keep our great County safe;
  • implement programs that not only provide our inmate population with the tools, resources, andopportunities they need to successfully reenter the community, but instill hope and dignity as well;
  • build excellent relationships with the communities we serve;
  • leverage modern technology to enhance public safety and better serve our communities; and
  • be leaders in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Since taking office, I have focused on programs, policies, and procedures that increase public safety, promote transparency, and address the specific needs of our community. One of my proudest accomplishments as Sheriff is the outstanding leadership team I have put together. Our organization's success is is credited to the guidance and direction they provide day after day as well as the hard work accomplished by the women and men of the Sheriff's Office. Given the many challenges we have faced over the past two years, the Sheriff's Office has proven its ability to adapt and remain steadfast in its commitment to providing the highest level of law enforcement services.

I am running for re-election because I am proud of the great work we have done, but I know there is more work to do. It has been amazing to see the growth and progress our County has made in recent years and I am personally committed to continuing that progress and ensuring that our County is a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I believe that my forty-two years of law enforcement experience in four organizations and serving as a Police Chief of Redwood City for twelve years, Undersheriff for ten years, and Sheriff for six years make me the most qualified person to continue to lead the Sheriff’s Office. I have extensive experience not only in leading law enforcement agencies and keeping our communities safe, but also in building relationships with the communities that we serve. I am also extremely adept at managing our fiscal resources to ensure that we provide the highest level of service in a cost efficient manner.

I am an active member of the community and have volunteered my time for numerous organizations throughout the County. I currently serve as a board member on the Star Vista and San Mateo County Historical Association boards and am past president of the Redwood City Rotary Club.

I have called San Mateo County home for nearly 30 years. It is where my wife and I chose to raise our kids. It's a privilege to serve as Sheriff and I hope to have the honor of being re-elected so I can continue to work every day to keep our County safe.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Attorney General Rob Bonta
  • State Senator Josh Becker
  • The Palo Alto Daily Post

Organizations (4)

  • San Mateo County Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus
  • UA Local 467 Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Refrigeration Fitters
  • UCFW Local 648
  • San Francisco Deputy Sheriff's Association

Elected Officials (5)

  • Former State Senator Jerry Hill
  • San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe
  • San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee
  • President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Don Horsley
  • Millbrae Mayor Annie Oliva

Videos (1)

About Sheriff Carlos Bolanos — April 26, 2022 Carlos Bolanos for Sheriff

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