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New captain comes home

ENCINITAS — There’s a new top cop in town. Effective July 1, veteran law enforcement officer Sherri Sarro took over the captain’s position at the Encinitas station of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
City Council officially welcomed Sarro in a special presentation during the regular meeting on Aug. 18. The council also commended the outgoing captain, Don Fowler, for his years of service at the local station. Fowler and Sarro switched positions during a routine transfer.
Sarro, 49, has been in law enforcement for 26 years, serving all but the first two with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Her previous assignment was in the human resources division handling personnel matters. “This is a change in customers,” Sarro said in a recent interview.
“Where my focus has been on internal matters, it is now on the citizens of Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the unincorporated areas,” she said. “My job is to do what we can to keep citizens safe and also to reduce crime.”
The change is one that Sarro welcomes. “It’s a pretty big switch,” she said. The key is working with stakeholders in the community. To that end, Sarro said there are several initiatives. “We target trends of crime and address them, use grants effectively and encourage communication between different law enforcement agencies,” she said.
“We also have Start Smart, a program designed to educate teens on the dangers of drinking and driving and Operation Watchful Eye, which we do in conjunction with the probation department to check up on people who are on probation living in the area.”
“My favorite part of the job is getting the citizens to feel comfortable working with us (Sheriff’s Department) so that they feel safe,” Sarro said. “It’s that kind of impact on the community that I look forward to.”
The council is also looking forward to working with Sarro. “I think it’s vitally important that we have open lines of communications between what their issues are and ours, said Councilman Jerome Stocks. According to Mayor Dan Dalager, Encinitas is the safest city in the county. He gives a lot of the credit for that statistic to community policing efforts.
“We’re really lucky to have the great relationship with the Sheriff’s Department that we do,” Dalager said. “I look forward to getting to know and working with the new captain,” Stocks said. “I’ve heard very good things about her.”
Sarro, a North County native, said she feels a sense of home in her new location. “I like the fact that I’m contributing and giving back to my community,” she said. “My roots are here.”
Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan said she spoke with the new captain about the issue of drugs in the community. “She comes with excellent credentials and appears to be have a very approachable, no-nonsense, can-do attitude,” Houlihan said. “I’m looking forward to a very productive relationship in keeping Encinitas residents of all ages safe.”