Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano, began his career in law enforcement in 1989 after working as an auto mechanic—something he was involved in since the age of 14. He started as a police officer for the Pittsburg Police Department where he worked for seven years. When the opportunity to join the Sheriff’s Office in Sonoma County arose in 1996, Giordano jumped at the chance, with the desire to live in the community and raise a family. He spent seven years on patrol and as a detective before promoting to supervisor and management roles. In 2017, he was appointed as Sheriff. Giordano was born in Concord, but considers Sonoma County his home. He lives in east Santa Rosa, where he enjoys mountain biking at Annadel State Park, hiking Sugarloaf and building boats.
What’s your greatest fear?
Letting people down. In law enforcement, it’s drilled into you from day one to protect your partner andcommunity. The worst moment in your career is when your partner is in trouble and you’re trying to get to him or her. The next extension of your partner is that community member who needs help and you’re trying to get to him or her.
How are you different now than you were before October 8, 2017?
I’ve learned so much about what it takes to be the leader of a large law enforcement organization. As much as I thought I understood, and as much experience as I have working so closely with former Sheriff Steve Freitas, it’s a completely different job than anything I’ve done in my life. With the fire’s force, there was a fast learning curve of what I was responsible for and how the Sheriff’s Office handles it. Regardless of what people think you should do, it’s your decision. I’m so proud to be part of this organization because of how everyone in the Sheriff’s Office performed in that event.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
How this office handled the fires. The teamwork was unbelievable—making it the proudest moment of my career. Watching the county government, outside law enforcement agencies, community groups and the general community come together to do the right thing—I’ve never seen teamwork like that. It was rewarding to watch that happen.
When life returned to normal after the wildfires, what did you do for fun?
I love boats and spend a lot of time outdoors. When life returned to normal after the fires, I got my boat and chocolate lab and went duck hunting. There’s nothing like going in the dark, setting up in a marsh and watching the sun come up with all the birds around you with your dog sitting next to you. It’s really a great experience and it brings me back to normal—it centers me.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
I have three: I love chocolate, red wine and I’m a big fan of good coffee.
What’s your favorite meal?
I love a good steak—tri-tip and prime rib. I enjoy red meat with deep green vegetables like kale, broccoli, asparagus or Brussels sprouts.
What radio station do you listen to?
I listen to three: KZST, KSRO and Alice radio out of the city.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I’m very mechanical. I got into building boats several years ago and have built five of them. If I’m not building something, I’m fishing in the ocean, diving in the ocean or waterfowl hunting. I built the boat I fish out of and the boat I use for hunting.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Starting out as a cop and finishing as the Sheriff. The teamwork and caliber of people that work in this field is amazing, and I’m proud to be part of that team. Personally, it’s the boat I built and use for ocean fishing.
If there’s a gift to humanity in a natural disaster, what is it?
How people rise to the occasion and what they can accomplish. We learn what we’re capable of, what we can do and how well we can come together. It’s nothing you would choose to go through, but when you come out on the other side, you’re more experienced in life. You’re better able to deal with anything with the gift of growth and bonding with fellow humans to get the job done as a team.
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