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Drown Considered for Job as District Attorney’s Liaison

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After losing a bitter election for sheriff last month to Jim Roache, Assistant Sheriff Jack Drown is discussing the specifics of a job that would have him serve as a liaison between the district attorney’s office and all law enforcement agencies in San Diego County, including the Sheriff’s Department.

Drown confirmed this week that he met with Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller and that such a job is in the “discussion and formation stage,” although nothing has been offered.

If details can be worked out, Drown would probably be one of three special assistants who report directly to Miller. Miller writes the descriptions for each of those specialized jobs, which can change depending on whom he hires. Two are now filled: one with a media spokesman and one with a budget and finance manager.

Steve Casey, the district attorney’s spokesman, said Miller would have no comment.

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After losing the election last month to sheriff’s Capt. Roache, a reform candidate who pledged to remove all top administrators if elected, Drown began pursuing new employment.

As assistant sheriff for law enforcement services for the past four years, Drown, 45, has been in charge of all patrol stations and the investigations, narcotics, homicide and vice divisions.

Drown, two other assistant sheriffs and an undersheriff will be out of jobs Jan. 7, when Roache is sworn in to replace John Duffy, the county’s sheriff for the past 20 years.

With 21 years in the sheriff’s department himself, Drown said he has a good relationship with Miller and many staff members in the district attorney’s office. He said the job possibility was discussed over lunch last week.

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Four days before the Nov. 6 election, Miller, who rarely endorses candidates in political races, called a press conference to say he supported Drown. Miller called Drown “a top-flight professional who offers the people of San Diego ethical and effective law enforcement protection.”

He also described Drown as “impeccably honest, a seasoned veteran with experience in every area of law enforcement, and he’s a good person. He’s also independent. He’s a man of his own ideas.”

Over two decades in office, Miller has endorsed only one other local candidate: Maureen O’Connor for mayor in 1983.

The sheriff’s election turned hostile in the final few weeks, as both candidates exchanged accusations of impropriety almost daily. Roache tried to portray Drown, who had worked as a top assistant to Duffy, as a mirror image of his boss. Drown said Roache, a sheriff’s captain and 19-year employee, didn’t have the executive experience needed to lead the department’s 1,349 deputies and officers.

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Drown described the job that Miller may create as “some sort of law enforcement liaison also in charge of special projects.” He said the liaison position would touch on all law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff’s Department.

He said he had mixed feelings about dealing with Roache.

“I believe I could work with Jim,” Drown said. “But obviously I have certain feelings about the manner in which he conducted the race that won’t ever go away.”

Contacted Wednesday, Roache said he had heard of Drown’s job discussion with Miller and said he would have no problem working with his former opponent.

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“It sounds like a good position,” Roache said. “I’m assuming Mr. Miller wants someone with law enforcement contacts throughout San Diego County and that it would be advantageous to his office. It’s obvious that Mr. Drown fits the bill.”

Even if the job is temporary, Drown said he would be interested because it would allow him to stay in San Diego with his family. Drown said he has other job prospects, but did not want to discuss them.


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