For a long time, Alameda County has confronted a seemingly unlimited slew of crises in its criminal justice method. Sexual intercourse scandals, racist textual content messages, and recurring allegations of abnormal and deadly drive have plagued various local law enforcement departments, most notably Oakland, which has experienced five law enforcement chiefs in 7 years. Earlier this year, the county’s Santa Rita Jail was put less than court docket supervision over mistreatment of individuals with mental wellness concerns. Two deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Division were being the middle of a $5.5 million lawsuit immediately after they beat a guy in a San Francisco alley.

On best of that, the county has a skyrocketing homicide price. Very last calendar year, 134 people were killed in Oakland, with law enforcement reportedly responding to 3,320 shootings. It was the deadliest yr for the metropolis in much more than a decade.

The realities of a flawed and as well generally racially unjust method, paired with violent streets, have remaining people of Alameda County, to varying degrees, concurrently fearful and deeply distrustful of the technique intended to safeguard them.

This pressure is a microcosm of the nationwide push and pull over reform and general public security. But as opposed to numerous components of the region, Alameda isn’t wanting backward. Longtime Alameda District Legal professional Nancy O’Malley is stepping down. She’s held the seat given that 2009 and has drawn criticism for failing to file rates in opposition to police officers who killed people today. The four candidates are on the ballot to change her all have spectacular resumes and a motivation to varying concentrations of reform. They are also all Black, guaranteeing that Alameda County — the place Black people today are 20 instances much more most likely to be incarcerated that white people and have been victims of 73% of the homicides from 2008 to 2017 — will have its first Black district lawyer.

Civil rights legal professional Pamela Cost, who has been on the frontlines of felony justice reform in Alameda County for decades, is the progressive favorite. She took on O’Malley in 2018, drawing 42% of the vote. Fluent in the structural impediments to reform, she speaks with authority on the Oakland Law enforcement Commission, Santa Rita Jail, the juvenile justice method and state criminal regulation. She does not support dollars bail and hopes to build community courts and other diversion applications as alternate options to incarceration. In an job interview with the editorial board, Price pledged to operate an business fully commited to “transparency, equity and accountability.”

In spite of an spectacular legal resume, even so, Price tag has hardly ever labored as a prosecutor. And she likely will not get much assist overcoming any studying curves from inside the place of work. Alameda prosecutors unionized in 2019, allegedly to prevent Value from cleaning house really should she ever acquire workplace.

Price tag helps make no magic formula she designs to be hard on prosecutors who problem her reforms. “There will be some departures,” she told us. “That’s just likely to be unavoidable.”

Though significant improve does call for toughness, we’ve seen the outcomes when a reform-minded district legal professional takes unwilling prosecutors with civil services protections head on. In Los Angeles, District Legal professional George Gascón has clashed with users of his workers. Various years in, his agenda is sliding backward.

Seth Steward, in the meantime, is main of workers to Oakland Town Council Member Dan Kalb. A previous Air Pressure flight engineer, Steward worked as a prosecutor for 11 many years underneath District Lawyers Kamala Harris and Gascón in San Francisco. In Oakland, Steward drafted payments that banned ghost guns and prevented the Oakland Police Section from making use of carotid restraints and choke holds. Like Price tag, Steward is committed to ending money bail, expanding diversion packages and prosecuting officers accused of legal misconduct. His knowledge as a prosecutor and in City Corridor appeals to us, as complete prison justice reform calls for partnerships and a political contact.

Terry Wiley is a 30-year veteran of the Alameda District Attorney’s Office, the place — amongst other positions — he led its division of range, equity and inclusion. In the early 2000s, he prosecuted officers in the infamous Riders scenario, just after allegations of beatings and proof planting by Oakland law enforcement officers surfaced. Wiley’s in a tough position he’s experienced to straddle defending his career operating for a controversial district attorney with his phone calls for reform. Will he drive for modify or do the job to even more the legacy he served make with O’Malley? He argues that each are attainable.

Wiley isn’t the only member of the District Attorney’s Business vying for the seat: There’s also Jimmie Wilson, a plumber turned law firm who’s been a prosecutor for 17 several years. Wilson calls for the return of the office’s gang intelligence device, an increase in law enforcement staffing in Oakland and intensified endeavours in prosecuting violent criminal offense. He’s generally much more aggressive than his opponents, these types of as his help of charging some 16-calendar year-olds in adult court docket, dependent on the crime. He is endorsed by 7 of the county’s law enforcement unions — commonly not a harbinger of reform. But Wilson’s is not a hardliner he speaks thoughtfully and pragmatically on hard cash bail reform and wishes to reshape diversion packages to be additional effective.

With a group of candidates this impressive, it’s not likely any 1 will protected the 50% of votes needed to gain outright in the June 7 principal. Centered on her remarkable record of endorsements and apparent foundation of group assist, Selling price will almost definitely make it to the prime-two on the November ballot

We would like to see Steward there together with her.

In a county in which distrust in the standing quo runs deep, we get worried Wilson’s phone calls for reform really do not go much enough. Whilst Wiley was adept at pointing to flaws in the system during our job interview, he fell quick on proposing options.

Steward is a wonk. We have been informed time and again that he is a likable chief, befitting his military services knowledge, and we’re optimistic he could rally a skeptical staff of prosecutors about his ambitious system. He warrants to make that scenario to voters in November.

This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to specific your views in a letter to the editor. Remember to submit your letter through our on the web form: SFChronicle.com/letters.

Correction: An before model of this endorsement misstated what Seth Steward did in the Air Pressure.