MADERA COUNTY – Mike Salvador, Undersheriff of Madera County, is looking to step into the shoes of his mentor, Sheriff John Anderson, who retires this year after four terms in office.
Salvador has been a resident of Madera since making it his home in 1991, raising his family, building his career and donating time and service to a host of community organizations.
Born in Visalia, Salvador grew up in Kerman, the oldest of two boys, and graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School in 1983. He then went on to the Fresno reserve police academy where he graduated in 1988.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology at California State University Fresno in 1990 while working various assignments with the Kerman Police Department where he rose to the rank of Sergeant.
During a four-year stint with the Chowchilla Police Department, Salvador was on duty as the watch commander when a tornado hit the city. Working with the city’s response team and the FEMA recovery process gave him his first experience in the politics of law enforcement, and the opportunity to learn the support roles necessary to make everything work.
“The experience gave me a taste of administration and set me on the path I’m on now,” he says.
Salvador came to work at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office in 1997, rising through the ranks to Sergeant in 2000 and Lieutenant in 2003. He was assigned to the newly created Administrative Division. where he says he gained valuable experience in budgeting, grant management, human resources, and project management.
He was promoted to the position of Undersheriff in January 2013, and in July, announced his intention to run for Sheriff.
“I’ve worked in three different agencies with three different mind sets,” he says. “I’ve learned that balancing act of being able to do the job with basically nothing. When you have very little in the way of resources, you learn to make it work and spend money wisely.”
As to the issues facing law enforcement in the county, Salvador says there are three big ones, starting with marijuana cartels in the forest.
“Sheriff Anderson often says we don’t have a crime problem in Madera County, we have a drug problem. Agriculture and tourism are our big industries. Marijuana cartels on our forest land affects tourism, and you can’t stop taking these guys out.”
Gang violence is another issue Salvador is concerned about, citing the increasing crime rate as AB 109 triggers the release of what he says will be about 10,000 prisoners.
Another crime having a devastating effect on a prime industry, agriculture, is the rise in metal theft.
“You may not see it so much in Eastern Madera County, but it has a residual effect, and often leads right back to feeding a drug habit,” he says.
Salvador also says he is committed to filling the remaining positions of the 17 deputies lost during the past years due to budget issues, and wants to accomplish that in his first term in office.
Salvador credits Sheriff John Anderson with being a formative force in his career, allowing him to try innovative things and gain the experience necessary to even contemplate taking on the top job.
“He is the best law enforcement executive I’ve ever seen, and this county has been incredibly fortunate to have John Anderson as Sheriff,” says Salvador. “He has fostered an atmosphere that allows for innovation and experience, and you can’t achieve those things unless you have someone who has trust and vision.”
As to what he will bring to the job, Salvador says the citizens of Madera County “will have someone in there every day fighting for them and for the department. It takes out-of-the-box thinking to make things happen, and I plan to use my experience to take this department to the next level.”
Salvador says he wants to build on what Sheriff Anderson has accomplished, and provide local law enforcement with the most up-to-date techniques and technology. He also wants to improve the way the public obtains services from the Sheriff’s Office, and build strong relationships with the community.
“There may be times you may not like the message, but I’ll always tell you the truth.”
Michael Salvador is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Madera, the Madera Rotary Club, and a trustee on the Madera Unified Board of Education, in addition to participating in dozens of service groups and associations. For in-depth information on his background and campaign, visit https://salvador4sheriff.com
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