County undersheriff retires; Lopez names new second-in-command

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The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office announced changes to its command-staff ranks last week.

Dale Johnson, undersheriff to Sheriff-Coroner Tom Lopez since 2019, retired Oct. 1 after more than 30 years with the agency. During that time he worked in all divisions of the office, serving in every sworn rank.

Lopez said he selected Johnson as his undersheriff due to his superior leadership skills, along with the respect he’d earned both within the Sheriff’s Office and countywide.

“Dale helped usher in the changes that my administration has made within the Sheriff’s Office over the last three years and kept our agency safe from COVID-19,” Lopez said. “Dale will be missed, but has earned his retirement and I wish him a long and healthy future.”

Johnson joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1992 following six years of service in the Army. His assignments as a deputy included the detention and field operations divisions, field training officer, an agent with the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team and SWAT team.

Promoted to sergeant in 2000, Johnson worked the marine patrol and investigations divisions, the Yolo County Gang Task Force, and led SWAT team operations.

As a lieutenant assigned to the administration division, Johnson oversaw the personnel, civil, and professional standards, training and SWAT units. He became a captain in charge of field operations in 2013 and served as commander of the detention division in 2019 prior to being named undersheriff.

Johnson earned numerous honors along the way, including Deputy of the Year in 1995, Sworn Manager of the Year in 2007 and 2010, along with multiple commendations from elected officials.

On Monday, Lopez announced Johnson’s replacement: Matt Davis, an 18-year Sheriff’s Office veteran.

Lopez said he sought a second-in-command “that represents the future in law enforcement: a person that is educated, well spoken, has excellent writing abilities, is in touch with what our diverse communities expect from law enforcement, has been loyal, committed and respected within this agency.”

A longtime Yolo County resident, Davis began working for the Sheriff’s Office in 2004 after earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State University.

As a deputy, Davis held assignments including resident deputy — in which officers are assigned to the communities where they live — Capay Augmented Patrol, and field training officer.

Promotions followed to sergeant in 2013, lieutenant in 2019 and captain in 2021, with Davis serving in supervisory and management roles for the field operations, detention and administration divisions. He took on Honor Guard, Crisis Negotiation Team and public information officer positions as well.

Davis’ peers selected him as Deputy of the Year in 2006, and he earned Sworn Manager of the Year honors in 2015.

All those achievements made Davis “a natural choice” for undersheriff, Lopez said.

“Undersheriff Davis will assist in leading our 300 dedicated employees as we enter a new era of policing and the challenges that every law enforcement agency has with recruitment and retention of their staff,” he said. “I look forward to our agency’s future and the service that we provide the citizens of Yolo County.”

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