Sheriff’s of Santa Clara County

ROBERT E. WINTER (December 1, 1978 – August 1, 1989)

Robert Winter became our 26th Sheriff on December 1, 1978 and retired from office on August 1, 1989, after the Board of Supervisors wrestled away control of the County jails.

Robert was born in Gilroy on August 13, 1930. He attended the local schools in Gilroy until he transferred to Hollister High School for his junior and senior years. In 1954, he joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, rising to the rank off Sergeant. Six years later in 1960, Robert joined the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in May 1968 and the rank of Lieutenant in May 1969, one year later. In 1973 Robert graduated from San Jose State University. For the next eleven years, he worked in Personnel and Training, Detectives, Patrol, Court Services and as a Watch Commander. At the time of his retirement Sheriff Robert Winter lived in Gilroy, CA

Sheriff Robert Winter was the Sheriff during our years of dealing with the Family Courts and the Sheriff’s Department before Joshua’s death and he was the Sheriff of Santa Clara County when the Sheriff’s Department refused to investigate Joshua death.

Joshua’s father shared with someone very close to him at the time that he had a professional relationship with Sheriff Winter from his local business of butchering livestock and wildgame on a person’s private property in Gilroy, CA area. I was also told over time they became hunting buddies and Sheriff Winter helped KW to gain employment with the Sheriff’s department after he graduated from the training academy. It was explained to me as a close father-son relationship, a man KW had a high level of respect for.


CHARLES P. GILLINGHAM (August 30. 1989 – December 14, 1998)

Charles Gillingham was the 27th Sheriff to hold office in the history of Santa Clara County. Appointed to the Office of Sheriff by the Board of Supervisors on August 30, 1989, he soon gained the endorsement of the voters by winning the election to the office in November of 1990. Sheriff Gillingham was re-elected by the voters to a second four year term in June of 1994.

Sheriff Gillingham became Sheriff 7 months after Joshua’s death, he was re elected to the office in November 1990, the same month the Sheriff Department called me, they told me they were reopening the case, Sheriff Gillingham and at the time Under Sheriff Laurie Smith sent Homicide Deputies to my home and shared information with me about the night Joshua died that I did not know,  I was interviewed about the years of abuse, our complaints about The Sheriff’s Department’s misconduct over the years, the refusal’s to investigate Joshua’s death. After gathering all the information Sheriff Gillingham and UnderSheriff Laurie Smith without explanation stopped the Homicide deputies from communicating with me in 1990-1991.

Mission Statement:
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to the preservation of public safety by providing innovative and progressive service in partnership with the community.

Sheriff Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith was elected to be the Sheriff of Santa Clara County, California in January of 1999 after serving 9 years as Assistant Sheriff of Santa Clara County under the watchful eye of Sheriff Gillingham.  She was placed in this job months before Sheriff Gillingham had put her in charge of the child death review board request for information on Joshua’s death, She sent Homicide Deputies to my home and shared information with me about the night Joshua died that I did not know,  I was interviewed about the years of abuse, our complaints about The Sheriff’s Department’s misconduct over the years, the refusal’s to investigate Joshua’s death,  after gathering all the information Sheriff Gillingham and Assistant Sheriff Smith without explanation stopped any further investigation and the Department stopped communicating with me..

In 2007 after banging on the Attorney Generals Office to investigate the Sheriff Department after finding the Klaver Trilogy, the AG’s Office forced Sheriff Laurie Smith to meet with me to address my complaints against the Department. In this meeting Sheriff Smith told me that it was the Child Death Review Board that pushed my son’s death out for review in November of 1990. She told us she sent crime scene and homicide Deputies out to the barn where Joshua died by Hanging for the 1st time 22 months after his death. She knew that Joshua’s father Deputy KW Klaver was his abuser, and still she relied on his description of scene the night Joshua died, they took photos and measurements and placed all the information gathered into a report and turned it over to the Child Death Review Board as information gathered at the time of death. As she told us this she went from sitting to standing to sitting again and when she was done she said in a small nervous laugh. .better that it happened late then never happening at all, right


The History of the Thin Blue line –

The concept of the thin blue line is said to trace back to 1966 when it was put forth in a documentary exploring the cultural brotherhood of policing. It’s come under attack innumerable times since then, first during the time of tumultuous civil unrest when the emblem and concept were born in the 1960s.

It was a time when police were called “pigs” and “police brutality” was an accepted circumstance. This feeling carried forward into the 1970s.

Fast forward to the millennium. Officers have recently been charged with taking the concept of the thin blue line brotherhood too far, extending “professional courtesies” to other law enforcement brothers, particularly for minor offenses.

The charge is that the emblem on the bumper of a personal vehicle effectively says, “I’m one of you. Look the other way.” Such theories have led some to criticize – and to misunderstand – what the solidarity of the thin blue line really means.

Supporting Law Enforcement

For some civilians, the thin blue line emblem simply connotes a show of support for police, acknowledging the role they play in society. To others, it represents the solidarity and brotherhood that police officers share as fellow professionals.

Standing Together for the Good of All

Police, like any other profession, have an understanding among each other for what they do and what they go through on a daily basis. If anything, the thin blue line demonstrates support for each another in a tough job. It’s not an excuse to violate the high ethical standards that officers are held to, but rather an encouragement to stand on that line together in service of others.  .   .And sometimes that thin blue line is crossed and it’s a clear reminder on Joshua’s photo everyday.

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