Sonitrol's Youngblood runs for Sheriff of Kern County

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.--Donny Youngblood is a 30-year veteran of the Kern County Sheriff's Department and currently the vice president of public affairs for Kimberlite, the largest Sonitrol franchise with 13 offices reaching from San Francisco to Bakersfield. In June, looking to get back to public service, Youngblood placed second in the primary election and will participate in a two-man runoff election with incumbent Mack Wimbish for the position of Kern County Sheriff/Coroner/Public Administrator, to be decided November 7. By California election laws, had any of the seven candidates received more than 50 percent of the primary vote, they would have been elected. However, since that did not happen, there will be a run off election between the two top vote getters, Wimbish, who received 27 percent of the vote and Youngblood, who received 25 percent.
Youngblood said 73 percent of the voters choosing a candidate other than the incumbent means, "we're in pretty good shape, but you cannot outguess this game, so we're going to run like we're behind right up to the election." The Sheriff position is the chief executive officer of an organization with 1,200 employees and a $144 million budget. Kern County is 8,000 square miles, with a population of roughly 400,000,
Should he be elected, Youngblood feels his work over the past four years in the private security industry will serve him well. "I was on the task force in [Los Angeles] when they were going to go to verified response," he said. "Now I can now see it from both sides." Sonitrol, which offers audio verification on every alarm system, recently released a study of verified response (see related article, page 1), and false-alarm reduction is clearly a hot-button issue between the alarm industry and law enforcement.
"I understand how important it is for the industry to work with law enforcement to solve these problems," he said. "There's a need for [alarm systems]. It makes the public feel more secure, whether it's real security or not is unimportant. It's not to say that law enforcement doesn't protect you, but when you go into false alarms and verified response, people tend to panic. They think, 'They're going to take our alarms away.'"
Youngblood chose Sonitrol as a place to work after retirement from the Sheriff's department because its solution focuses on catching burglars rather than scaring them away, and its audio verification had a good reputation with his department.
However, working in the private sector, has had "a significant impact on my ability to be objective ... I understand now, with people who commit crimes, you do your time and you come out and you're not a criminal for life. You get a different perspective on the world."