Hay una nueva alguacil en la ciudad

Bay Area counties elect Latina sheriffs

Yesenia Sanchez (Alameda County) and Christina Corpus (San Mateo County) are the first Latinas in California to be elected sheriff.

Sanchez Photo by David Law, Wild Horse Productions

Yesenia Sanchez (Alameda County) and Christina Corpus (San Mateo County) are the first Latinas in California to be elected sheriff.

Iris Jaboneta '23

History was made this summer in Alameda and San Mateo County. After over 150 years, these two counties elected their first Latina sheriffs, Yesenia Sanchez of Alameda County and Christina Corpus of San Mateo County. 

“I hear these calls loud and clear. As the next sheriff of Alameda County, I know that I’ve been entrusted with an enormous duty, and I will make our county proud,” said Yesenia Sanchez of Alameda County to Fox KTVU News. 

“Latinas have been deeply underrepresented at every level of elected office. And Latina leadership is transformational,” Sanchez continued. 

In Millbrae, Chief of Police Christina Corpus was elected the first Latina sheriff in California.  

“It’s difficult for women, especially feminine looking women [in the police force] to be taken seriously. I had to work harder than anyone to be treated the same way,” Sheriff Corpus, who spent her childhood in San Francisco and Pacifica, said about her experience working in law enforcement, a male dominated field.

Latinas have been deeply underrepresented at every level of elected office. And Latina leadership is transformational. ”

— Yesenia Sanchez, Alameda County Sheriff-Elect

 “I had to use my words because the people I encountered were much bigger,” Corpus said in an interview via Zoom. 

Corpus said that she used to see police officers as people who “took people to jail and punished people.” But a life changing experience changed her perspective of the police for the better. 

While waiting in the parking lot at Tanforan to pick up a friend, a man came up to her window and assaulted teenage Corpus, taking her car and leaving her stranded and scared. 

“This changed the trajectory of my life and I saw cops in a new light,” said Corpus about her experience with the police department, and the support she received after the incident and during the trial. 

Anyone can pass a test, but if they don’t have the heart and the understanding of other people, there will continue to be an uphill battle. ”

— Christina Corpus, San Mateo County Sheriff-Elect

This experience led Corpus to pursue a degree from University of Cincinnati, Ohio and University of San Diego, and to later join the Police Academy in the Bay Area. 

When asked about the recent uproar in regards to allegations of police brutality and the controversy of immigration and ICE, Sheriff Corpus said, “Anyone can pass a test, but if they don’t have the heart and the understanding of other people, there will continue to be an uphill battle.”

To address these issues, Sheriff Corpus plans on instilling programs with professors to teach officers about diversity and understanding cultures. “In order to serve a community, we need to be a part of it. That means hiring people who reflect our community,” she said.

Corpus and Sanchez will be inaugurated in January.