Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni endorses Joe Cortez

Sheriff's candidate Joe Cortez has picked up an endorsement from Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni.

In a news release, Macagni, an Arroyo Grande High School alumnus, said: "It is imperative during these challenging economic times that the next sheriff be a strong leader with significant law enforcement department head experience. I have known Chief Cortez for nearly 10 years and am impressed with his strong leadership, proven track record of success, and the key law enforcement agency head connections he has in place."

The sheriff oversees a staff of 392 with a $55 million budget, and the department patrols about 3,200 square miles in the unincorporated areas of the county.