From the time he was a young boy newly elected and sworn-in Tehama County Sheriff Dave Kain wanted to be a sheriff.
“This is truly a lifetime dream come true,” he said. “And now I’ve attained that dream I’m going to hit the ground running. I have a lot of ideas and goals to implement and a department to lead in the best way I know how.”
The 49-year-old sheriff has lived in Tehama County since he was 2-years-old and graduated from Mercy High School.
He started his law enforcement career at the age of 16, serving a two year stint in the Tehama County Sheriff’s Explorers Program before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. After being injured he had to resign from that duty.
“That was a tough time for me,” he said. “However, it wasn’t a hard decision at all to enter the Butte Police Academy, graduating from there in 1995.”
It wasn’t long before he was picked up by the Corning Police Department where he served as a police canine handler, two tours on the interagency Tehama County Narcotics Taskforce, field training officer, SWAT team member, and officer-in-charge.
It was in 2008 that Kain decided to take a promotion to the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol sergeant.
“This was an opportunity not available to me at the time with the Corning Police Department,” he added. “It just made sense to make the move.”
His years with the sheriff’s office moved him through the ranks, at one time serving as the Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement commander and then captain of the Jail Division and other assignments.
“It was in 2018 that I was promoted to division commander operating administrations and the jail,” Kain said.
He has come on the job as the county’s top-cop at a very difficult time – the department is understaffed to a point previous Sheriff Dave Hencratt had to discontinue daytime patrols to allow deputies to fill the required staffing of the jail and courts.
“We are terribly understaffed,” Kain said. “But now that the Board of Supervisors has provided decent salary raises we are working hard to get our numbers back up, but that takes time.”
One of Kain’s main goals is to not only recruit and hire new deputies and jail staff, but retain those hires and current staffing as well.
“My mission is to quickly and efficiently hire staff so we can get our day patrol back on the streets, serving the residents of this community – that is not an option, but a necessity,” he added.
Kain has also upgraded and implemented the department’s website and looks to move forward with the county jail expansion project.
“The jail project is very important,” he said. “It’s critical, as the safety of our residents hinges on providing a place to house inmates - those who pose a threat to the safety of our community.”
He also would like to implement a rural area deputy patrol program in area such as Mineral, Manton, Lake California, Flournoy, Rancho Tehama and Paskenta.
“Residents in this areas, far from the Interstate 5 corridor, need to have someone they can contact who knows them and the area. Again, this is something that will take some time, but I really hope to see come to fruition,” Kain added.
He said he wants to see better interaction between the department and the community, more transparency, expansion of the interagency Major Crimes Unit, canine unit and much more.
“But this is all dependent on filling our staffing levels, that has to come first,” the sheriff said. “I take great pride in this department, that is something (former) Sheriff (Dave) Hencratt taught me. That and so much more. These are challenging times, but making it through challenging times can create a lot of growth and that is what I am determined to do.”