The announcement is not yet official, but Deputy Sheriff Mark D. Melville says he is running for the top job in the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office in the June 2018 election.
"I definitely will be a candidate for Sheriff," he told the Almanac in an Aug. 10 email, noting the extent of his campaign's online presence, including his website and accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. "My team and I are working on when to have the 'Big Announcement,'" he said.
The current sheriff, Carlos Bolanos, has an online presence as well, including a website, and has said he is running for election in 2018. Mr. Bolanos was appointed to his post last year by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Melville, 60, lives in South San Francisco and has been a deputy sheriff since 2008, his website says. His duties include patrol, investigation, corrections, courts and transportation, and he is also an instructor in emergency vehicle operations and advanced officer driving.
He is a native San Franciscan and says he is single with two children and four grandchildren.
He has an associate degree in criminal justice (with honors) from Ohlone College, and has completed courses in police officer standards and training at Humboldt State University and Cal Poly in Pomona, his website says.
Mr. Melville served on police forces in Half Moon Bay, Patterson and Brisbane, where he was also a fire captain, his website says. As an adjunct professor with the Regional Police Academy at Modesto Junior College, he focused on criminal law, traffic accident investigation, narcotics and report writing.
His top issues: cracking down on human sex trafficking, leaving immigration law violations to the federal government so as not to discourage immigrant-community trust in local law enforcement, filling Sheriff's Office vacancies with qualified deputies, requiring body cameras on all deputies, updating training in the use of force, and community policing.
The 2018 election will not be his first electoral campaign. He was elected in 2002 to a four-year term on the City Council of Gustine, California, in Merced County.
His term on the Gustine council represented a return to the city, where three years earlier he completed 11 years as chief of police, including eight years in a dual capacity as police chief and city manager. In the intervening three years, he had been city manager and director of public safety in Livingston, also in Merced County.
According to the website Transparent California, which tracks compensation of public employees in the state, Mr. Melville was paid $346,678 in total compensation in 2016.
Sheriff Bolanos had been undersheriff since 2007, including in November 2015 when then-sheriff Greg Munks announced plans to not seek re-election in December 2018.
For what Mr. Munks said were health reasons, he retired after several more months on the job, on July 1, 2016. About two weeks later, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to appoint Mr. Bolanos to the job.
Mr. Bolanos was paid $524,296 in 2016, according to Transparent California.
Mr. Bolanos could not be reached for comment.
This will not be the first time a sitting San Mateo County sheriff has been challenged by a deputy.
In the spring of 2014, Deputy Juan Pablo Lopez, a 26-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, ran for the top job in a write-in campaign – his name was not on the ballot – against then-Sheriff Greg Munks, who was running for his third term and who won easily.
By the time the following June rolled around, Mr. Lopez had been arrested twice, once at gunpoint and each time on a different set of charges, including obstruction of justice, conspiracy, counterfeiting and perjury. His two cases are now into their third year of winding their way through the San Mateo County Superior Court system.
In a recent development, famed San Francisco criminal defense attorney J. Tony Serra signed on as Mr. Lopez's attorney. "Essentially, we view the case against him as a political case ... a sort of retribution, almost, for running for sheriff," said Attorney Maria Belyi, Mr. Serra's assistant. "I don't think that there is going to be any evidence of criminal wrongdoing."