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. While still an undergraduate, she began her public service career in 1973 when she was sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff Matron, then the only full peace officer status position available to women. Sheriff Smith has spent her entire professional career with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Laurie 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. Sheriff Smith is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the State of California Command College, the FBI National Executive Institute and the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley. She is currently a Master’s candidate at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School through the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
On December 15, 1998, Laurie Smith was sworn in to serve as Santa Clara County’s 28th Sheriff since the department’s inception in 1850. She has also been consistently chosen for re-election through four additional terms to serve the people of Santa Clara County. Sheriff Smith has received numerous honors 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 is a past Woman of the Year recipient by the California State Assembly.
Sheriff Smith has been active in a number of professional and law enforcement organizations including the Valley Medical Center Foundation, Child Quest International, Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission, California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Peace Officers’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, National Criminal Justice Association, Police Futurists International and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
She has been appointed and has served on the State of California, Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (appointed by Governor Davis, Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Brown); 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 Violent Crime Reduction Task Force; and the Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority. Within Santa Clara County, she has been appointed and served on the Community Corrections Partnership and Re-Entry Network Governance Team, the Jail Diversion and Behavioral Health Subcommittee of the Re-Entry Network, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, and the Anti-Terrorism Approval Authority. She has also served on the Administration of Justice Advisory Board for De Anza College and the University of San Francisco.