Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff's Office (FOCSO)             

Sheriff DiBasilio updates SO’s Bike Team with help from the community.

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Bicycle Unit was established in the early 2000’s to provide special enforcement for large events such as Halloween, parades and fairs. The bicycles the department had were outdated so together with the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office, the nonprofit that supports the department, Sheriff DiBasilio made the much needed upgrade to the bike team.

“During patrols, we may see a situation as it is occurring and bikes give us the ability to navigate narrow or crowded areas that offer advantages over patrol cars or deputies on foot. We had the team at the Frog Jumps and it was great that the deputies are more easily approachable to the public with general concerns or just to say hello. We are very appreciative that people donate to FOCSO to aid the department with special request” stated Sheriff DiBasilio.

The purchase totaling approximately $18k consisted of 4 extra-large bikes and 2 large bikes fully equipped with sirens, patrol lights, bike racks, uniforms and various other accessories that are needed to patrol effectively.

Currently there are 9 members of the bike team including the Sheriff. Sgt Anthony Eberhardt has a 65 hour instructor training course under his belt. Ebernhardt along with Sgt Rachelle Whiting serve as leads. There is a Post Class training required by each member along with quarterly trainings to be on the team.

Funds for updating this program came from residents, businesses and organizations that donate to the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office, a nonprofit who uses all proceeds raised to purchase equipment and enhance programs for the department that are not funded, or fully funded, by the county. To donate or become a member of the nonprofit contact FOCSO’s Executive Director Candace Keesey 209-598-1467

Pictured Left to Right - Sergeant Anthony Eberhardt, Deputy Keith Vincent, Deputy Zachary Glanville 

Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, Corporal Shawn Cechini 

Not pictured - Sergeant Rachelle Whiting, Deputy Lance Williams, Corporal Scott Kirkman & Deputy Corbet


Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio was appointed by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors May 2, 2016 to serve out the remainder of the late Sheriff Kuntz’s term, which ends in 2018. The appointment was made official through a public proclamation at a CalCo BOS meeting on May 10, 2016. On May 12, 2016, a formal Swearing in Ceremony was conducted for our new Sheriff Rick DiBasilio. The Sheriff was sworn in by Captain Jim Macedo. Pictured below left to right: Lieutenant Hewitt, Lieutenant Stern, Captain Ballard, Sheriff DiBasilio, Captain Macedo and Lieutenant Huberty

RIP The “Original” Friend and Cofounder of the Calaveras Sheriffs Office


Calaveras County Sheriff Gary G. Kuntz 63 years old born June 30, 1952 in Mandan, North Dakota and died October 29, 2015 of a heart attack in his home.

Sheriff Kuntz worked as a Concrete Mason from 1971-1985, graduated from Delta College Police Academy then in 1985 started his career at Calaveras County Sheriff's Office as a Reserve/Extra Hire Officer. Sheriff Kuntz worked his way up through ranks of Patrol Officer, Detective, Sergeant, Operations Commander, Jail Commander, Lieutenant and Sheriff in 2010 to his EOW on 10/29/2015. The Sheriff had approx. 2 years left in his second term as Calaveras County Sheriff. He was involved in numerous associations and groups and enjoyed motorcycles, cars and golf. Gary’s legacy will always be known as being deeply rooted in this county and being the “Sheriff of the people”.

The pictures above a just a few of the people that worked to reinstate the K9 program for the Calaveras County Sheriffs Office. Thanks to each of you members, and sponsors who made this possible.


Another huge Thank you to the Halverson Clark Invitational for another great donation to FOCSO on Sept 27th, 2014. The golf tournament raised $10,000.00 and those funds will go towards body cameras for our deputies and toward the CalCo Sheriff Bicycle Patrol. Pictured let to right are: CalCo Sheriff Gary Kuntz, FOCSO Executive Director Candace Keesey, Corporal Chad Poortinga and his canine Deputy Buster, Richard Clark, Helen Maracle, and Eric Halverson.


First-year non-profit provides
substantial aid to sheriff's office
- Nov. 6, 2013

By Nick Baptista

It was show and tell time Friday when Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office had its first annual membership luncheon with some of the top brass from the department.

The organization was form a year ago to provide financial assistance to the sheriff’s office and members of the department took the time to explain how some of the items purchased from Friends donations were used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local law enforcement.

One of the latest technological innovations purchased from Friends’ funding is an iPad and software used by the detective division to sketch crime scenes. It use to take three deputies to measure and sketch a crime scene, but the task can be accomplished by one with the help of the iPad, its built-in camera, which acts as a rangefinder, and the software.

Sgt. Tim Sturm demonstrated the iPad’s abilities to measure and sketch the crime scene to the audience.

“It’s an amazing piece of technology and saves us a lot of time,” Sgt. Sturm said. “Hopefully we don’t use it all the time, but when we need it, we need it.”

Another valuable addition to the department has been a Nikon D800 camera thanks in a major part to Friends’ funding. A thank you letter from Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Technician and Property Room Manager Kylie Breitzman was read at the luncheon outlining how the state-of-the-art digital camera has been in recent investigations.

Re-introducing a canine program was discussed by Lt. Dave Seawell. The new canine program has been the major fundraising priority for Friends and the sheriff’s office.

The immediate goal is to obtain a narcotics detection dog, Lt. Seawell said, and the Deputy Sheriff Association has been generous in dealing with labor issues involved in re-instituting the program.

The next step is finding a dog for the task and the department is looking at ones that have already received substantial training from the Air Force, he added. The cost is $5,000 for the dog and $1,000 for transportation.

“It’s moving slower than we’d like, but certainly moving forward,” he told the members.

Seawell finished his presentation by saying having a citizens group that cares about the well being of the department and its personnel is more important than the financial assistance being used to buy much-needed equipment.

Sheriff Gary Kuntz said for 20 years he’s wondered why the department didn’t have a non-profit support group and it was when he began working to re-open the Valley Springs substation that he ran across Candace Keesey who had similar thoughts.

An iPad with crime scene diagramming software was one of the latest crime-fighting tools obtained through Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office funding.

 “She’s been ‘a ball of fire,’” he said, and within several weeks of them talking about forming the non-profit, it was formed. He also thanked Wallace area residents Richard Clarke and Eric Halverson for their generous contribution of $20,000.

The sheriff added he and his department are very pleased with establishment of Friends and are looking forward to many years of working together.

Keesey, the group’s executive director, said the non-profit has collected $30,000 in donations the past year and spent $1,000 on insurance and $500 for its website.

“Everything else has gone back to the department,” she added.

Membership fees range from $35 to $1,000 for individuals and $150 to $5,000 for businesses. There is also a $25,000 Lifetime membership level.

For more information or to become a member or volunteer, call Keesey at 598-1467.

Charity golf tourney gives another $10,000.00 to help SO


By Nick Baptista
The Valley Springs News, Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pictured below: Eric Halverson, Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz and Richard Clark

   The annual Halverson-Clarke Invitational this past weekend made another substantial donation to Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office.
The seventh annual Halverson-Clarke Invitational, which included a charity golf tournament Saturday at La Contenta, donated $10,000 to Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office, marking the second year in a row it has made a $10,000 contribution to the organization.
    According to Candace Keesey, FOCSO’s executive director, the bulk of the donation is going toward continued efforts to reinstate the sheriff’s department K-9 program. Funds also go to purchase supplies, equipment and to support the department’s other programs.
The invitational – hosted by Wallace area residents Richard Clarke and Eric Halverson - started Friday night with dinner at El Torero restaurant in Burson followed by games and karaoke. In addition to golf on Saturday, non-golfers could go on a chartered wine tour of Shenandoah Valley or guided kayaking on Lake Camanche.
The event concluded Saturday night with a barbecue, live music, dancing, raffle and presentations. 

    The mission of the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office is to support the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office by providing funds for programs, projects and equipment through events, fundraising, membership, networking and donations from both the public and private sector.
FOCSO, which was organized just over a year ago, is planning another fundraising event in October in the Murphys area. FOCSO also raises money to assist the sheriff’s office through the e-script program at Mar-Val and memberships. 
Paid membership is open to individuals and businesses. Membership fees range from $35 to $1,000 for individuals and $150 to $5,000 for businesses. There is also a $25,000 Lifetime membership level. The organization receives between 1 and 5 percent on grocery sales through the e-script program. There is no cost to sign up for e-script.

   E-script and membership forms are available at the FOCSO website:

 New foundation helps SO buy needed gear

By Vip Hale
 The Valley Springs News, Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office received its first of what promises to be a number of donations from the newly established Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Technician and Property Room Manager Kylie Breitzman received a Nikkon D800 camera thanks in a major part from Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office funding.
She had been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Leila Fowler murder investigation and they made the suggestion the sheriff’s department could use a better camera for evidence gathering.
In addition, the FBI invited Breitzman to their Sacramento area offices where she received 40 hours of photography training.
Breitzman, who has been with the sheriff’s office for a year and a half since graduating from Fresno State University, was “ecstatic” about receiving the new piece of equipment.
“Opening the boxes was just like Christmas,” she said.
The Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office’s major goal is to provide funding to re-establishing the department’s K-9 program. The non-profit foundation – which started last year - also plans to purchase other items the sheriff’s office and deputies need, but county funds are unavailable.
“I am so proud of the people who put this non-profit foundation together,” Sheriff Gary Kuntz said, “and I want to thank all of the citizens who joined this organization. We now have the opportunity to purchase badly needed equipment that we can’t afford.”
Regarding the eventual purchase of a narcotic-detecting dog, the sheriff said his office is working on a K-9 policy and memo of understanding with the deputy sheriff’s association.
“The money raised by the FOCSO will help the sheriff’s office better serve the community,” he added. “I urge that if you would like to help, please buy a $35 membership. The dollars you spend go directly to help your sheriff’s office and the bureaucrats can’t interfere.”
“We are so happy to see people in this community supporting FOCSO because without the residents and business owners who reside here it would not be possible to purchase much-needed equipment and supplies for our sheriff’s office,” said Candace Keesey, FOCSO executive director.
“Thanks to Sheriff Kuntz, Sgt. Chris Hewitt and Lt. Dave Seawell for keeping an open line of communication with the non-profit so we may continue to assist the department by continuing our membership drive,” she added.
Paid membership is open to individuals and businesses. Membership fees range from $35 to $1,000 for individuals and $150 to $5,000 for businesses. There is also a $25,000 Lifetime membership level. The organization receives between 1 and 5 percent on grocery sales through an e-script program. There is no cost to sign up for e-script.
E-script and membership forms are available at the FOCSO website:
For more information or to become a member, call Keesey at 598-1467.
She said 100 percent of all raised funds after expenses are spent solely on the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. “The Board of Directors are diligent in keeping expenses low so all proceeds benefit the SO, therefore benefiting all of us,” she said.
The Nikkon D800 camera can take pictures of tire tracks on a moonless night and develop as if taken in the middle of the day, Keesey said.
“Kylie’s training and motivation is inspiring,” she added.
“Next in line for purchase - besides the K-9 unit that we are raising funds to re-instate - is ear protection, including Peltor Ear Muffs, Tactical Monitors, and Hear Defender-DF Filters,” Keesey said, “and an iPad that goes with long-time-needed crime scene diagramming software.”
These donations help the department spend taxpayer money in “their budget on what counts most: more deputies and more man-hours,” Keesey said.

                           Crab feed set by group helping the Sheriff's Office

The Valley Springs News, Wednesday, January 2, 2013

   Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office, formed last year to provide financial assistance to the sheriff’s department, will have its first event with a crab feed and spaghetti dinner Saturday, Feb. 16, at the San Andreas Town Hall.

   The event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 each. There will be a no-host bar, raffles, auction and all the fresh Dungeness crab participants can eat. Included in the menu is homemade spaghetti sauce, bread, salad and garlic bread. For tickets, call Vip Hale at 772-2234, Candace Keesey at 598-1467, or use the FOCSO website to pay for tickets by credit card. The website is You can also use the website contact page to send any questions or comments to the non-profit organization.

   The FOCSO board of directors and volunteers hope to draw in a good crowd so they can get membership info out into the public. FOCSO will depend on memberships to carry out the non-profit’s mission. There are individual and business memberships with each having five levels of benefits. Visit the “Membership” page for more information.

   Funding could be used to help the sheriff’s office with items such as a narcotics dog, in-car and personal cameras for the deputies.

New Nonprofit for Sheriff's Office

    Because of the $800 donation made to FOCSO by the 2012 Valley Springs Area Business Assn's (ABA) Board of Directors, the nonprofit became possible. Money was used for filing fees and startup cost. ABA recognized a need for an organization dedicated to helping our Sheriff's Office and stepped up to the plate. Thank you ABA.


Newly formed Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff's Office (FOCSO) from left to right are Lt. Dennis Huberty, Vip Hale, Candace Keesey, Sheriff Gary Kuntz and Kathy Gerhke. FOCSO welcomes county residents to contact us if interested in becoming involved with the nonprofit.

 The first donation to FOCSO in 2012 was made because of The Annual Halverson - Clarke Golf and BBQ Invitaional. Richard Clark and Eric Halverson were instrumental in getting this non profit off the ground so a very heartfelt Thank You from the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriffs Office and the Calaveras County Sheriffs Office.  
Visit the Calaveas County Sheriffs Office page to learn how to sign up for NIXLE, services that are intended to facilitate your ability to receive time-sensitive, geographically relevant messages (“Communications”) via one or more media. You can enter areas in the county to recieve important alerts from the Sheriffs Office.

Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff's Office (FOCSO)             

 A huge Thank You to Susie owner of Valley Springs Signs and Tees in Valley Springs for creating the FOCSO logo. The logo was created to resemble Sheriff Gary Kuntz's badge and will be used as the nonprofits Corporate Seal going forward. Thanks Susie!