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Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is a native of Michigan where she lived until completion of high school. In 1969 she relocated to San Jose, California to pursue higher education and begin her law enforcement career. She graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice, and later received her Master's Degree in Management from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

While still an undergraduate, she began her public service career in 1973 when she was sworn in as a Matron, then the only full peace officer status position available to women. Sheriff Smith is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the State of California Command College and the FBI National Executive Institute.

Sheriff Smith has spent her entire professional career with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, working and attaining command status in virtually every division, including jail, vice, intelligence, narcotics, patrol, and

detective. She was promoted to Assistant Sheriff in 1990 and served more than eight years in this capacity as second-in-command of the Sheriff’s Office.

On December 15, 1998, Laurie Smith was sworn in as the Sheriff of Santa Clara County, having been elected by an overwhelming majority of the voters. She serves as Santa Clara County’s 28th Sheriff since the department’s inception in 1850. Santa Clara County, the home of Silicon Valley, is the fifth largest County in California and the thirteenth largest in the nation, with approximately 1.9 million residents.

Sheriff Smith has been very active in a number of professional and law enforcement organizations including Child Quest International, Domestic Violence Council, California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Peace Officers’ Association, Major Counties Sheriffs’ Association, National Criminal Justice Association, Police Futurists International and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

She has been appointed to serve on the State of California, Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training; The Speaker’s Commission on Police Conduct; the Office of the Attorney General, Blue Ribbon Commission on SWAT Practices and Policies; the Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee; the California Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Response Training Advisory Committee; and the Attorney General’s Violent Crime Reduction Task Force. She also serves on the Administration of Justice Advisory Board for De Anza College and the University of San Francisco.

Sheriff Smith has received numerous citations and awards for her public service and has an outstanding record in the California law enforcement community. She is a past-president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association and was recently named Woman of the Year by the California State Assembly.

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