Sheriff Bio

Sheriff Jonsen Headshot

Sheriff Robert Jonsen


Sheriff Bob Jonsen has been in law enforcement since 1986. Prior to being elected as the 29th Sheriff of Santa Clara County, he was the Chief of Police for Palo Alto Police Department (2018–2022). He was also the Chief of Police for the Menlo Park Police Department for five years where he led the organization to receiving the IACP/Cisco Community Policing Award.

Most of Sheriff Jonsen’s career was with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked for 27 years. His last command was as the Captain of Lancaster Sheriff’s Station serving the City of Lancaster. Prior to being promoted to Captain, he was the coordinator of the Antelope Valley Crime Fighting Initiative (AVCFI), where he developed crime reduction strategies for a 1370-square-mile region. Significant crime reductions and greater community collaboration led to the AVCFI receiving the James Q. Wilson Award for Community Policing in 2010. Sheriff Jonsen also received the JQW Award a second time while Chief of the Menlo Park Police Department as well as the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Public Safety.

Sheriff Jonsen believes it is essential to provide personnel with the best training possible, so everyone can live healthy lives physically, mentally, and emotionally while serving their communities.

In 2018, Sheriff Jonsen became a certified instructor for Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), a program developed at Stanford University by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers. He also graduated as a trained mindfulness facilitator from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in 2020. Additionally, he’s a Peer Coach for Resilience Immersion Training, a program designed specifically for public safety personnel and developed by the Mindful Badge Initiative and the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

Sheriff Jonsen was instrumental in bringing mindfulness training to the Menlo Park Police Department, where every employee received Resilience Immersion Training. He has facilitated mindfulness and CCT to public safety personnel throughout California and witnessed the profound impact it has had for participants both professionally and personally. He has co-developed resiliency programs for public service, with “Courageous Heart - The Human Behind the Badge” now being offered to law enforcement agencies across the state.

Sheriff Jonsen holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership.

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