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Local sheriff candidate Tom Letras drops out of race
Tom Letras
Tom Letras

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Letras has opted to end his candidacy for Stanislaus County Sheriff, according to a letter he posted on his campaign's Facebook page.

Letras, a native of Ceres and Ceres High School graduate, states he decided to end his campaign after failing to get the endorsement of the deputies' association and that is backing Stanislaus County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Dirkse.

Letras' departure from the race leaves Dirkse and Stanislaus County Sheriff's Sgt. Juan Alanis running to become the Stanislaus County Sheriff. Current Sheriff Adam Christianson announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election.

"I felt very strongly that the employees of the Sheriff's Office were the only endorsement that really mattered," Letras wrote in his post. "They have worked with all three of us and would know who was best equipped and prepared to lead this department.

"I felt so strongly about this that I publicly stated that if I did not get the endorsement of the SSDA, [Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association]. I would remove myself as a candidate for the office of Sheriff. The employees voted, and they overwhelmingly chose to endorse Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff. Their endorsement was strengthened by the support of the Modesto Police Officers Association (MPOA), the Ceres Police Officers Association (CPOA), the Sheriff's Sergeants Association and Sheriff's Management Association who all endorsed Jeff Dirkse for Sheriff.

"As I publicly stated, I have removed myself from consideration as a candidate for Sheriff and I am also standing behind our local law enforcement associations in support of Jeff Dirkse," Letras wrote.

Letras began his career in 1997 after being hired by Sheriff Les Weidman to work as a custody deputy in the Sheriff's detention facilities. Letras has served as the Public Information Officer, a patrol deputy, gang detective and many other assignments.