Sheriff Jim Cooper


After three terms as Sacramento County sheriff and two failed runs for Congress, Scott Jones is finally out of a job. Jones’ successor, Jim Cooper, was sworn in Dec. 16, 2022, months after winning election to become the county’s top law enforcement official.

Cooper won his position outright in the June 2022 primary election, defeating Jones’ handpicked successor and Sacramento County Undersheriff Jim Barnes, 54.46 percent to 45.54 percent according to an official statement of the vote. Cooper campaigned as a departure from the controversial Jones, painting Barnes as “Scott Jones 2.0,” as California Local noted in July.

With his swearing-in, Cooper is now the first African-American sheriff in county history.


Cooper, who was born Jan. 5, 1964, served two terms in the California State Assembly. A Democrat, he served as assistant house leader and assistant majority whip, according to Ballotpedia. Cooper proved popular within his area, District 9, winning reelection three times by an average margin of just under 34 percent.

Prior to his time in the assembly, Cooper worked 30 years for the department he will now run, rising to the rank of captain. He won a Bronze Star for Bravery for his actions during an eight-hour hostage crisis at a Good Guys electronics store in 1991. The Sacramento Bee reported how Cooper, then an officer, delivered a bulletproof vest to the front of the store, shortly before officers stormed it, which was followed by the deaths of three of the four hostage takers, two store employees, and one shopper.

Cooper is married with four children and lives in Elk Grove, where he served 15 years on city council and was its founding mayor.

Key issues

Cooper has moderate to progressive views on a number of issues. This could help explain why he attracted endorsements from a wide range of elected officials, from former Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a past Republican, to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat.

Some of Cooper’s key issues include or have included:

  • Staffing within the sheriff’s department, which he described as his primary issue to the Sacramento Bee. “They’ve got over 100 vacant positions. We’ve got to do a better job of planning.”

  • Homelessness, with Cooper telling the Bee that it “is not a crime but we have to get the (American River Parkway) cleaned up so people can use it again without fear.”

  • Creating robust programming for youth;

  • Strongly backing law enforcement during his time in the state legislature, opposing Prop. 47, which limited sentences for non-violent offenders;

  • Immigration, with Cooper co-authoring California’s Sanctuary Law during his time in the legislature, prohibiting law enforcement from handing over detainees to ICE for likely deportation.

District boundaries and office location

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department typically handles unincorporated areas within the county and cities that contract for its services, such as Isleton.

  • District office: 4500 Orange Grove Ave, Sacramento, CA 95841

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