Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, July 27 @ 12:16 p.m. / Local Government

Del Norte County Sheriff Announces His Resignation; Erik Apperson to Leave Post in October


Sheriff Apperson. Photo courtesy of the CHP

Del Norte County's sheriff announced his resignation to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, citing his family's health needs and saying he'll be leaving his post Oct. 1.

According to Apperson, who asked his wife and children to stand with him at the Flynn Center's podium Tuesday, Undersheriff Randy Waltz will serve as sheriff for the duration of his term, which ends in 2022.

Apperson was a Crescent City Police Sergeant when he defeated incumbent Dean Wilson to become sheriff in 2014. At 36-years-old, he told supervisors, he was the youngest sheriff in California at the time. Apperson was re-elected in 2018.

From a Tuesday DNSO Facebook post:

I need you to know how proud I am of the organization that is the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office. The men and women that make up the DNSO staff are truly some of the finest, most dedicated people I have ever experienced. The majority of them suit up every single day for all the right reasons. They dedicate themselves at a level that most people can't even begin to comprehend.

Serving as Sheriff of this county is literally a dream come true for me. I can still remember being 15 years old and telling a coworker at Payless that someday I will be Sheriff. This community has always given me more opportunities than I deserved and at the least, allowed me to dream big. I was born just a few blocks from where I am standing right now. I attended Joe Hamilton, Crescent Elk, Del Norte High School and College of the Redwoods. I struggled as a young man and interestingly enough I didn't respond well to authority. Ultimately, I would teach at both Del Norte High and recently at College of the Redwoods.

I feel like my law enforcement career really began when I was an Explorer at the Sheriff's Office back in 1995. In 1998 though, I began getting paid for it as a correctional officer, first at Juvenile Hall and then at the Del Norte County Jail. I was hired by the Crescent City Police Department in 2000 and after graduating the academy, started my duties as a Police Officer in 2001. The CCPD was great to me but after about 13 years, I needed to make a change. Earlier than I initially planned, I ran for Sheriff in 2014. In 2015, at the age of 36, I was sworn in as Sheriff of Del Norte County. I was the youngest in the state at the time. As you all know, I was re-elected and began my second term in 2019.

As your Sheriff, I often experience days when I feel an extreme sense of accomplishment as I reflect over the past several years. I think about our overall staffing levels being at an all time high and our training standards are likewise. As of today, hopefully, pay for the DNSO staff will finally be competitive, allowing the organization to select the best of the best as we continue to move forward. I think about the open lines of communication to our office and just how obvious it is that we are supported by the communities we serve. Hardly a day goes by that we don't receive a card or basket of goodies from a group or individual that had a positive experience from someone in a DNSO uniform. What many of us see in the mainstream media or even social media just simply isn't the case here.

And still, I have my days when nothing seems to go right. The sort of days when I recognize I can't even get the building painted.
My best days are filled with experiences like swearing in a new deputy or just hiring someone for our community that has a fire inside them because they know they are going to make a difference. My worst days consist of letting someone go, or letting someone down.

All of that said, I feel truly blessed every single day I walk up the stairs to the DNSO. I intentionally park in the public parking area just so I can take the long way in. I interact with any members of our community in the lobby. I try to say good morning to as many people on staff as I can find as they are the real heroes. Eventually I make my way to my office, the same office Sheriff Maready swore me in when I was 19 years old and I take my seat. I never stay in that seat very long but that process, that daily ritual is never lost on me.

I love this job to my very core. I care deeply about the people I lead and also the people I serve. The best compliments I have ever received are "I feel like you are one of us" and "we finally feel like we have a voice".

But now it is time for a change. I have hit so many of the marks I hoped to accomplish when I first decided to pursue being your Sheriff. I am nowhere near perfect, but I feel I have much to be proud of in my service to this county. Mostly, and let me emphasize this, I am proud of our DNSO staff. Like me, they aren't perfect either but as an agency, we are impressive. We are always trying to improve and many of those improvements are obvious.

As for me though, I need to show my wife and children what sort of father and husband I can be, not what sort of Sheriff I am. They have stood beside me, as they are now throughout this entire process. They are the best part of me and I need to love them accordingly. As such, and with a grateful heart, I am announcing my intent to resign. My final day as Sheriff of Del Norte County will be October 1st, 2021. The DNSO has an incredible Undersheriff in Randy Waltz and he is willing and able to assume my role for the remaining duration of my term. I would strongly recommend the board appoint him.

We plan on moving our family. We have recently discovered that our family has some medical needs that cannot be met here and I will be pursuing a career change that will result in me no longer being a law enforcement officer. For well over twenty years and my entire adult life, I have served within Del Norte County and I will remain eternally grateful for that opportunity.

Thank you, and may God bless you all.


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