James “Jim” Fryhoff, 31-year veteran with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, is running for Ventura County Sheriff and is endorsed by several associations – including the Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (VCDSA) and the National Latino Peace Officers’ Association Advocacy (NLPOA).
Fryhoff, 51, is the only candidate up against Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub who was elected in 2018. Fryhoff joined the sheriff’s department at 19 years old and is currently working as the Operations Commander for the Detention Services Bureau where he oversees several facilities throughout Ventura County.
“My years of experience clearly make me fit for the position. I’m also the only person currently working at the sheriff’s office that’s attended the FBI National Academy, which is a 10-week program in Quantico, Virginia,” Fryhoff said to VIDA Newspaper.
Aside from his VCDSA and NLPOA endorsements, Fryhoff said that he is also endorsed by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Correctional Officers’ Association and the Service Employees International Union. “All [those] associations endorse me and not the incumbent. I’m also endorsed by the Oxnard, Hueneme, Santa Paula, and Simi Valley Police Office Associations,” Fryhoff said. “They see what I bring to the table as far as leadership, and the deputies are looking for new leadership that is going to help motivate their moral…”
Before his current commander post, Fryhoff was selected as Chief of Police for the city of Thousand Oaks in 2020. The pandemic struck during this time, as well as the social unrest following the murder of George Floyd. “I was really trying to engage with the youth at that time because they were really upset at what they saw with George Floyd, and so were we, but they needed to hear that from us,” Fryhoff said to VIDA Newspaper. “We didn’t like what we saw either, and we know that needs to change and that will not be acceptable in our area, and I wanted to let them know that we’re trained way better than that.”
Fryhoff has continuously focused on community outreach throughout his time with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and has put together different programs for the areas he’s served.
Fryhoff previously partnered with the Conejo Valley School District to help design a program against bullying. This was in 2012 after he was promoted to Captain and assigned as Assistant Chief of Police in Thousand Oaks.
“We took fifth graders and gave them an experience where they got to work with other students in their grade that they don’t normally associate with. So, they learn that all the kids in their class have value. Even if they weren’t friends with them, they could be friendly with them. This was done to address the bullying we were seeing in middle schools,” Fryhoff said.
Also, during his time as Assistant Chief of Police, Fryhoff assisted with creating “Safe Passage,” a program to help reduce gang membership.
“We started with really young kids to show them that they had options beyond joining a gang, and by helping them be successful in school we knew that they had a better chance of wanting to go to college or go to a trade school and be successful,” Fryhoff said to VIDA Newspaper.
Fryhoff had also previously worked on a threat assessment program, which was an active shooter program, to help make schools safer.
The sheriff candidate strongly believes in community engagement and wants to hire more people who represent the community they serve if elected.
“Right now, officers are being measured on how many arrests they make, how many tickets they write rather than what they’re doing to keep their community safe,” Fryhoff said. “The [current] sheriff has already said I’m soft on crime during an interview because I had said these things, but I am not soft on crime. I’m very tough on crime but I’m focused on the crime that’s actually causing harm in our community,” Fryhoff said to VIDA Newspaper.
“By working with the community to address those things I think we’re going to attract more people who want to work for us, and we’re going to see people who work for our agency who are going to be patrolling their communities where there is going to be a better understanding of culture, issues, and being able to navigate things from a commonsense approach rather than a heavy-handed approach,” Fryhoff said.
Fryhoff says he wants to work closely with other agencies in the county, to help improve the county together.
“One of the things that people can look forward to with me as sheriff is the engagement with the other agencies in the county, and the other cities in the county that are not controlled by the sheriff’s office. Oxnard, Hueneme, Santa Paula, Ventura and Simi are going to have more engagement with the sheriff’s office so that we are all working together to keep Ventura County safe, Fryhoff said.
Fryhoff grew up in Pasadena, CA but came to Ventura County after joining the department in 1990. He has lived in several cities in Ventura County, and currently resides in Simi Valley. He and his wife Traci have two teenage daughters. Fryhoff’s wife is of Hispanic origin, and her maiden name is Fierro.
“My goal is to keep Ventura County safe,” Fryhoff said to VIDA Newspaper. Statewide elections are on June 7.