‘Homelessness is not a crime’ | State Assemblyman Jim Cooper joins Sacramento County Sheriff’s race

The Elk Grove Democrat has served in the California Legislature since 2014.

Originally published on ABC10

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Standing alongside the mayors of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova, California State Assemblymember Jim Cooper declared he’s running for Sacramento County Sheriff.

With Sheriff Scott Jones recently announcing his run for Congress, Cooper is so far running unopposed. The Elk Grove Democrat told reporters on Thursday he’s already raised $1 million for his campaign. 

And the number one issue for Cooper? Homelessness.

“Homelessness is not a crime. We spend over $12 billion in the state on homelessness and it’s got worse,” he said Thursday. “The sheriff plays a part in that.”

Commending wraparound services in regards to housing in Sacramento County, Cooper said if elected sheriff, he would address shortfalls in mental health and substance abuse services. Mentally ill residents should not be in jails or prisons, he said, and more services are needed to address their problems before they commit crimes.

“Most of the calls for law enforcement services center around individuals who are unhoused that have mental, or substance abuse (problems),” Cooper said. “We’ve got to fix that.”

Who is Jim Cooper?

A native of Sacramento, Cooper said he spent 30 years in law enforcement before being elected to the State Assembly for parts of the Sacramento area in 2014.

He was also once a captain for the County Sheriff’s Department, worked as an undercover narcotics officer and gang detective before spending eight years in the California State Assembly.

This is Cooper’s second attempt at the county sheriff’s position. He unsuccessfully ran against Scott Jones in 2010.

Along with having been the founding mayor of Elk Grove and a 15-year councilmember, Cooper also graduated from the FBI National Academy and holds certificates from the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training.

Current Sheriff Scott Jones announced in October 2021 he will not seek re-election as Sheriff in 2022. Instead, Jones recently announced he is running as a Republican in California’s 3rd Congressional District.