by Ian Parkinson, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff
I don’t have to tell you that a lot of things changed in our lives during the age of Covid. Many of us got sick. Some of us lost loved ones. Our daily lives were turned upside down. Major events were rescheduled or outright canceled. It seemed like we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. But I would like to think the worst is past us. And we are starting to return to normal. Or at the least, a new kind of normal. Life is opening back up again. It’s okay to have fun once more. That’s why I am so pleased to announce that the Sheriff’s Family Day is back this September. And we need it now more than ever.
Every year since 1996, the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation had sponsored Sheriff’s Family Day at the Madonna Meadows in San Luis Obispo. But then Covid struck. And the event was canceled in 2020. And because of a resurgence of Covid, the event was canceled again in 2021. But organizers of this event were determined to make it work this year.
For those of you who don’t know what this event is all about, let me give you some background. It began in 1996 under then Sheriff Ed Williams. It was a collaboration between Sheriff Williams and members of the nonprofit public benefit organization Sheriff’s Advisory Council (now called the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation). At that time, it was called Sheriff’s Family Day at the Ranch. The name has been shortened, but it is long on fun for the whole family. And the best part. It’s all free. Free is good!
Sheriff’s Family Day is always entertaining. There are all kinds of displays and demonstrations like the Sheriff’s Posse, Search and Rescue, and the Sheriff’s SWAT vehicle. You can check out emergency response helicopters, along with demonstrations featuring the Jaws of Life, Bomb Task Force, and of course, everyone’s favorite, the Sheriff’s K9s. We have a special emcee of the event this year, kid favorite, Retro Bill!
We have something for everyone. There are free t-shirts, hot dogs, junior sheriff badge stickers, coloring books and bike raffle tickets for all children up to age 12. And don’t forget, we will have two Sheriffs there that day, yours truly along with my famous movie pardner Sheriff Woody from Toy Story. And did I mention it’s all free!
This is a chance to see the men and women who are sworn to protect and serve. It allows the public to see we are your neighbors and friends, and we all want the same thing: a safe and secure community. It’s an opportunity to sneak a peek behind the badge to see how we do what we do.
The event is hosted by the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation. For those of you who don’t know what this worthwhile organization is all about, let me tell you about the important work they do. Quite simply, they are a local nonprofit which provides additional funding and support to the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in San Luis Obispo County. They do good work by providing additional funding to help build things like our Behavioral Health Unit at the Jail, supporting programs like our K9 Unit and buying much needed equipment for law enforcement.
Mark your calendar, this year’s Sheriff’s Family Day is Saturday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Madonna Meadows in San Luis Obispo. Oh, and it’s free! So, bring the whole family and see the real-life heroes behind the badge.