Tim Shea, who served as Mendocino County sheriff from 1982 to 1990, has died, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
The department did not have further details Wednesday on the death of Shea, 82. Capt. Gregory Van Patten said in a statement Shea would “be remembered for his leadership and dedication in serving the community.”
Shea served more than 30 years as a local law enforcement officer, including 11 years with the Ukiah Police Department and four years as Mendocino County undersheriff.
He was president of the county’s Deputy Sheriff’s Association in 1980, when officers went on strike for nine days to protest then-Sheriff Tom Jondahl’s leadership and failure to work with his officers tackling an uptick in crime.
Shea took office on a platform of increased neighborhood-watch programs and marijuana eradication efforts but was hampered by county budget troubles.
His department was marked with greater controversy in later years, including a 1985 botched drug raid where deputies targeted the wrong house for a major marijuana smuggling operation, and a 1987 incident where a deputy used a youth as a human shield to fend off an angry mob.
Shea retired after two terms, citing accomplishments such as a countywide narcotics task force and an anti-marijuana program “that’s the political envy of the state.”
Announcing his retirement in 1989, Shea noted that “31 years in law enforcement is long enough, pure and simple.”
You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BillSwindell.