Sgt. Christine Nagaye Throws Her Hat into Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Race

Names have started dropping into the 2022 race for Santa Clara County Sheriff as six-termer Laurie Smith seemingly edges closer to the exit door of her scandal-tarnished administration.

Smith has endured a rocky 47-year tenure. Controversies surrounding concealed weapons permitting and continued abuses at the county jail came to a head in recent days, as the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted “no confidence” in her ability to lead. Smith has refused all calls to step down.

At first glance, 19-year Sheriff’s Office veteran Christine Nagaye looks cut from a different cloth than other candidates—a fresh face running for elected office for the first time, answering calls for reform in the county’s jails, law enforcement operations and runaway budgets.

With experience working in corrections and six years as a supervising sergeant, Nagaye pledged in an announcement Thursday to change the culture of the Sheriff’s Department by “bring[ing] honesty, transparency and integrity back.” She ducked conversations, however, saying she wanted to wait for a staged announcement, which suggests she may be more managed than transparent.

The 50-year-old San Jose resident believes she’s the best woman for the job, citing experience as a U.S. Army veteran, mom, active community resident, ally of LGBTQ folks and wife of a man of color.

While Fly’s spies couldn’t find any LGBTQ community leaders who actually knew Nagaye, proclaiming queer acceptance may still prove useful—it distances herself from fellow candidate Kevin Jensen, a retired captain who’s gunning to wear the Sheriff’s badge once more, after an unsuccessful 2014 campaign.

Jensen, a former assistant chief of corrections with supervisory experience in the coroner’s office and a local anti-terrorism arm of the Department of Homeland Security, was previously a close ally of deposed Deputy Sheriffs’ Association head Don Morrissey, who actively engaged in thousands of group texts rife with racist, homophobic and misogynist slurs.

We’re still digging to see if Nagaye’s campaign kickoff will be rehearsed or authentic, but she’s already looking like a fresher candidate than one aligned with the good ole boys club of the DSA who have fielded candidates against Smith every four years.

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7 Comments

  1. “Jensen, a former assistant chief of corrections with supervisory experience in the coroner’s office and a local anti-terrorism arm of the Department of Homeland Security, was previously a close ally of deposed Deputy Sheriffs’ Association head Don Morrissey, who actively engaged in thousands of group texts rife with racist, homophobic and misogynist slurs.” — The Fly

    What a pathetic excuse for journalism. The selection of a sheriff is important, apparently far too important to pay any attention to what The Fly has to say about it.

  2. Given SJI’s close relationship with Smith, is this a means of Smith hand picking her replacement?

    SJI is trying to be kingmaker.

  3. It is not SJI reporting on Smith that folks should be thinking about, it is the lack of reporting from SJI on the DAO since 2010 when Jeff Rosen was elected to office. There have been public defenders ( Sajid Kahn) and his own staff (Daniel Chung) that have exposed the horriific culture of the duly elected DA who has run his office more like a PR office for Netflix than an office designed to protect the public, proseucte crimes fairly and serve crime vicitms. A former San Jose Reporter was stabbed 14 times by a woman who was released on one of Rosen’s infamous plea deals. After the stabbing of Paul Gackle the woman, Sydney Whlen went on to kill another man and hammer yet another in the head. That is not what folks want when they talk about a progressive prosecutor. Jennifer Higgins Bradanini had scant coverage from SJI after she was texting and on percription meds while driving down Blossom Hill Road in Los Gatos when she killed a man she struck with her car. Rosen let her finish her poltiical run for San Jose City Council, then when she lost gave her a 6 month plea that will see her do 3 months in jail and be reduced to a misdeameanor as her victim’s daughter will grow up without a father to be the grandfather to her children. That is not what people want when they talk about a progressive prosecutor. Yes we need police who are better qualified and trained . We need them to write police reports worth of a pulizer so that when they are used by the prosector , the jury, the press and the public knows it is the truth. Until and unless SJI begins to report on the DAO as the should, going to be a bridge too far to ask for public trust in the reporting on the 2022 Sheriff Race, which will include the DA race as well.

  4. SJI, you and The Incompetent Failure Sheriff Smith, have For Years been close and used to promote her. This Sgt Nagaye has No Administrative Experience and is Unqualified, as Sgt Laurie Smith was when her Questionable Promotion was made to an Assistant Sheriff and then appointed as a replacement Sheriff, what was it based off of? Not her Experience or Qualifications. You need more then being a supporter of minority groups to be s successful Sheriff as well. I’m willing to Bet, Sgt Nagaye was “Shoulder Tapped” by Sheriff Smith, In Hope to Steal Votes from the Only Qualified Candidate, Future 2022 Sheriff Kevin Jensen! Sgt Nagaye, were you promised a promotion by Sheriff Smith? Let’s Make Sure, these Two Unqualified Candidates, Debate Publicly with the Only Qualified Candidate Kevin Jensen. Don’t let Laurie Smith Hide in the closet hoping to win with “Incumbent Only” Votes and Sgt Nagaye, don’t hide like Laurie Smith. Honestly if you cared about the Sheriff’s Office, you would drop out and not be used by Laurie Smith, she’s Known to Stab the Back of those she Uses, Be Careful! The Department needs Much Change from all the Destruction from the decades of Laurie Smith, so we don’t need an average Sgt with no Qualifications, we need a Highly Respected Retired Administrator with much Quality Experience and has good Relations, Concerns and Cares for the Sheriffs Office as well as the Community and that is Kevin Jensen in 2022!

  5. She’s the wife of a “man of color” Well there you have it, Its a done deal. she must be more qualified than Jensen. Sgt supervisory level is a HUGE leap into the leadership role of Sheriff. The progressive swamp aka bay area is an absolute trainwreck!

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