March 2019 Sheriff
40 years of
Prior to his
As a lieutenant, he commanded the South County/Anderson Patrol Station (largest in the Sheriff's Office) with 26 employees and supervisors. He oversaw the Youth Services Unit and supervised the development of the Safe School Initiative. He also assisted in the development of the Sheriff's Office Community Safety Plan.
As a sergeant, Tom had several assignments which provided development and diversity in preparation for future positions. In addition to patrol operations, he supervised in jail operations and the Community Oriented Police Problem Solving (COPPS) Unit. As administrative sergeant working directly for the sheriff and undersheriff, he developed policies and procedures, conducted research, and investigated personnel matters. Tom has served as a S.W.A.T. member and team leader, dive team member, field training officer (FTO), and K-9 Unit coordinator and handler.
Tom received his bachelor of science degree in Criminology from California State University Fresno in 2000, graduating with high honors. He attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in 2001. His academic emphasis at the academy was leadership and organizational management. He completed the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Law Enforcement Command College in 2004. The program focused on organizational leadership skills, knowledge needed to anticipate and prepare for the future, and strategic planning. As a sergeant, Tom completed the POST Supervisory Leadership Institute. He completed the POST Basic Law Enforcement Academy in 1979 and received his associate of arts degree in Administration of Justice from Shasta College in 1978. Tom has earned over 2,500 hours of training from POST and other providers throughout his career. A lifelong learner, he continues with his training and education.
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BOOTHE: Sir, I want to ask you about something you brought up at the press conference earlier. You made a distinction between the fact that Corporal Singh came here legally. He came here for the sole purpose, he wanted to be a police officer, he wanted to serve this country, he wanted to serve his community.
And you drew a distinction between the suspected killer who came here, broke the law and came here illegally.
Why was it important for to you draw that distinction?
CHRISTIANSON: Because I want the nation to know, I want your viewers to know, that Officer Singh really should be the focus of this investigation and his sacrifice. But I also want everybody to know that immigration is good for America, if done legally. Illegal immigration doesn't serve our communities, especially criminals who victimize and exploit our communities.
Whether you hate the president or love the president, border security goes hand-in-hand with national security, the safety of our communities, and public safety. We need to know who is in our communities that shouldn't be. We should be focusing on criminal activity without political interference.
And there is only one with entity that can fix immigration, even though there are laws on the books and we should stand by the rule of law and we should be enforcing those laws, Congress is the only entity that can fix this problem, and until they decide to depolarize themselves and focus on what's in the best interest of the people, you can't establish a system of immigration that lacks bureaucracy, hopefully, and allows people a path to become good citizens and contribute to what makes America great.
Officer Singh, he is the absolute poster child for why immigration works if done legally, and properly.
BOOTHE: So, should more be done at the southern border to prevent this illegal activity?
CHRISTIANSON: Well, I think there is, at least from what I know -- I think that there is a lot of great work going on, on our southern border. I think it's inexcusable that we continue to attack the men and women who are there, either as members of U.S. Customs, the Border Patrol, ICE, or other federal law enforcement partners.
Stop demonizing and villainizing the men and women who are there trying to protect our communities. It's time to come together and fix the problem and, yes, border security needs to be a priority. And it's not just the immigration issue, Lisa. We have cartels that are trafficking narcotics, weapons, little girls.
We have a problem with human trafficking. We need to secure our borders and we need to give the men and women who protect us, our federal law enforcement partners, the ability to do their job without political interference.
BOOTHE: Well, sir, California has come under fire for being a sanctuary state. Has that hamstrung your ability to do your job in any way?
CHRISTIANSON: Oh, certainly, it has. First of all, and as I told the president of the United States when I sat next to him, I don't think we should be subjected to political interference.
I understand why the state legislature and politicians have decided to create these laws because they believe that people need to be protected. Law enforcement is here to protect people. But you can't provide sanctuary for criminals. That -- all that does is silence the voices of our victims, and I certainly didn't sign up to do that.
Remember that our partners with ICE, great, great law enforcement partners, they are not in my county sweeping through churches and schools and convenience stores. They are only interested in the fugitives and the criminals. Why are we providing sanctuary for people who victimize and exploit the weak and the defenseless? We should not be doing that.