Friends of the Calaveras Sheriffs Office (FOCSO)

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.  

Thank You to all who attended and donated to the 7th annual crab feed for FOCSO On January 19, 2019. Also to the people below that make it happen. The evening brought in a net profit of $18,902.22 for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office to use for needs not funded or fully funded by the county. Thank you for supporting your local LE.

July 2018

Donation by John & Barbara George

FOCSO received a phone call some months ago from John George. John offered to buy a vest for the newest addition to the CCSO’s K9 program.

This tactical vest helps protect Canine Deputy Nox from gun shots, stabbings, and blunt force trauma and is designed so that the canines’ range of motion, tactical purpose and speed will not be reduced.

The custom vest cost just under $1700.00. The money was donated to Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office by John & Barbara George. Thank you so much to the George family for your generosity and your support of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

Pictured Left to Right. Corporal Jim Moser, Evelyn (John’s daughter), John and Barbara George. John and Barbara own Motherlode Towing from Mountain Ranch, CA.

A new addition to the departments K9 program

May 2018


New Sheriff’s K9 Team Begins TrainingCongratulations to Corporal Moser and the newest addition to the program. Cpl Moser and Deputy Canine Nox” together successfully became certified for patrol duties this month. Corporal Moser and Deputy Canine Nox are now prepared to respond in situations for the use of apprehension among other duties


The dedication Corporal Moser has displayed is a great indication of his commitment to the program to make it a success. Thank you all so much for your donations enabling us to make the purchase, training and supplies for Nox possible. FOCSO will continue to raise funds to maintain this program.


Deputy Canine Nox is an addition to the current CCSO K9 program commanded by Sgt. Chad Poortinga who himself partners with Deputy Canine Buster.

Thank You Supporters!

FOCSO’s annual crab feed Jan 21, 2018 was a great way of showing appreciation for the CalCo Sheriffs Office and it’s an honor and our goal for FOCSO to create these positive platforms for our local LE.

The evening took in a net profit of $18,818.00.

The Crew – Diana Giglioti, Jeannene White, Johanna Vermeltfoort, Melessa Walraven-Green & daughters, Jackie Weitrick, Melinda Evett, Buddy Keesey, Rusty’s Gunsmith, Seafood Express, Teds Food Service, CalCo Sheriffs Youth Explorer Post #333 for clean up, Candace’s Cleaning employees for set up, Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and the CalCo Deputy Sheriffs Assn (Thanks Sgt Greg and Jana Stark!) Thank you all and those that attended for making this possible.

The night consisted of card games, raffle prizes, gun raffle/auction, silent/live/dessert auctions from merchants near and far. The crowd enjoyed a medley of pasta, Dungeness crab, snow crab and shrimp with plenty left over to sell afterwards…

Sheriff DiBasilio provided photos of the Bearcat armored vehicle the department is currently seeking funding for and announced the newest handler for the addition he made to the K9 program. Corporal J. Mozier (Congratulations Jim!). FOCSO will assist with funding these projects.

Please support each person and business who donated for the event (See "Sponsor" and "Membership" pages) and a special Thank You to Jackson Rancheria, Mark Twain Medical Center/Dignity Health and Smart & Final for sponsoring the event! ALL proceeds go to the Calaveras County Sheriffs Office for projects, programs and/or equipment not fully funded by the county. 

Pictures from event below.

Calaveras Co. Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard Unit - June 2018 

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard was formed in 2015, with the uniforms/equipment/supplies being purchased by FOCSO from 2014 to present. This year, FOCSO completed purchases for the honor guard unit with gun holsters, rifle slings, and honor badges among various other items. These funds were raised from the generosity of you, Calaveras County residents and business owners. Thank you. 

The Honor Guard is a 5 officer unit commanded by Sgt. Chris Dorsey. Other members are Sgt. Chad Poortinga, Corporal Ron Cleland, Deputy Lance Williams and Deputy Shawn Cechini (not photographed). Each member was screened for their physical ability and dexterity. Only those persons who are highly motivated and maintain exceptionally high standards of appearance and conduct and show aptitude for ceremonial duty are likely to be considered. 

The Honor Guard trains together as a disciplined team.  Honor Guard personnel assembles periodically to review protocol/procedures and practices appropriate movements. They honor decorum, respect, and strives toward perfection in presentation and the display of The Colors of the State of California, and the United States of America.

The primary purpose of the Honor Guard is to show Honor and Respect to a fallen peace officer and their families in an exemplary fashion, and more importantly, to remember those whose lives were dedicated to the service of their community.

Additionally, the unit may perform at parades, cadet graduations, holiday observances, specialized events, memorial services relating to law enforcement, outside agency’s funerals for a fallen officer, public exhibitions, or ceremonial events as deemed appropriate by Sheriff Rick DiBasilio.

The Honor Guard unit renders honors, preserves tradition, instills pride, and stimulates comradeship among law enforcement, supporters and communities.

Friends of the Calaveras Sheriffs Office (FOCSO)

The Kennel Club of the California Sierra on Friday donated $1,000 to the Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office

  Calaveras Enterprise report Nov 4, 2016


Wendy Smith of the Kennel Club of the California Sierra admires K9 Buster shortly before donating a $1,000 check toward Buster’s training. Pictures left to right: Sheriff Rick DiBasilio FOCSO Director Candace Keesey, Wendy Smith, Sgt. Chad Poortinga and Deputy Canine Buster below.


Buster, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office’s only K9, was on hand. The $1,000 will be used to provide additional training for Buster and his handler, Sgt. Chad Poortinga. Buster is trained to detect narcotics and has worked two years for the Sheriff’s Office. The Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff provided the original donation to allow for his purchase.

“We just wanted to support the local K9 officers,” said Wendy Smith, who is on the board of the Kennel Club of the California Sierra. She said the club has members in Amador and Tuolumne counties. Smith said her club plans soon to also donate toward the K9 program for the Angels Camp Police Department.

Meanwhile, Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said he plans to expand his agency K9 unit in the near future. The second dog, he said, will be trained in both narcotics and tracking work.

Candace Keesey, president of the Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff, is on a first-name basis with Buster. “He’s a little rascal,” she said. “He likes to chase cows and stuff. We had to get him a shock collar.”

Halverson Clark Annual Invitational benefits FOCSO 2016

For the third time the Annual Halverson & Clark Invitational has chosen Friends of the Calaveras Sheriffs Office to be the beneficiary of their event. Saturday, October 1, 2016 Richard Clarke, Eric Halverson and Helen Maracle presented Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office Exec. Director Candace Keesey a check for $10,000 in Las Gatos CA at their event. The weekend consisted of a golf tournament, wine tour and BBQ. Thank you HCI

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

May 2017


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

Sheriff DiBasiio obtains more equipment for the SO thanks to the Sequoia Woods County Club in Arnold

Sept 2017

Calaveras Co. Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and the sheriff’s office administrative team continue to work to solve outdated equipment conditions.

A purchase last week totaling $11,937.61 included 6 bulletproof vests, 30 rapid containment batons with holsters along with various holsters for pistols and radios. The batons finish out updating the patrol and corrections divisions with batons. Last year Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office (FOCSO) purchased 30 of the same batons.

The funds for this purchase came from the Sequoia Woods Country/Men’s & Women’s Club in Arnold who held a golf tournament on August 20th, 2017 and donated $13,000 of its proceeds to FOCSO, a nonprofit that supports the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

“The sheriff taking a preventative approach in updating equipment is unique because in our low census, rural county keeping the same equipment for decades has been the status quo, so we were very pleased to receive the purchase request from the Sheriff last week for Bullet Proof Vest for the Investigations Division along with other safety equipment” stated Keesey.

“It is critically important to have up to date tactical equipment for law enforcement, now, not after something tragic happens. A huge Thank You to the Sequoia Wood County Club and its members who support FOCSO and makes it possible for the department to make updates, and the show of support from the community really lifts them up”.

Congratulations Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio!

May 2016 – Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, San Andreas, CA


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 Friend and Cofounder of FOCSO

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 golfGary’s legacy will always be known as being deeply rooted in this county and being the “Sheriff of the people”.


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.

K9 Demonstration in San Andreas



Corporal Chad Poortinga and the new addition to the Calaveras Co. Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Buster, had a demonstration for supporters of the reinstatement of the program in San Andreas. Prior to the purchase of Buster through FOCSO, the department had to borrow or call for K9 help from outside agencies.


The morning started with Cpl. Poortinga putting postal boxes throughout he ballfield. Some boxes were empty, some contained a variety of narcotics. He would then instruct Buster to go find the drugs. At the boxes that were empty, the dog gave no indication of anything. At the boxes containing narcotics however, Buster kneeled down at a forward slant and became very still. This is the canine’s way of showing his handler that he in fact smells drugs. Cpl. Poortinga then threw a pair of car keys in the field. The dog found the keys because of the scent of a human on them, within 10 minutes.


L to R – Mike Dunlovy, Sheriff Gary Kuntz, Vip Hale, Candace Keesey, Sgt. Eberhardt and in front are Corporal Chad Poortinga along with Deputy Canine “Buster”.

Sheriff’s Office gains new ‘Friends’

November 2014


After swearing in the newest member of the force, Sheriff Gary Kuntz shakes the paw of Officer Buster, while handler Cpl. Chad Poortinga looks on.

The latest member of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office was sworn in Nov. 12, 2014 at a ceremony hosted by the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office held at La Contenta Golf Club Buster, a 3-year-old Dutch shepherd K-9 deputy narcotics detection dog, was publicly sworn in this week, but he hit the streets in the spring. Since beginning work May 27, Buster has contributed to 20 arrests. Through vehicle stops and probation searches, the K-9 has sniffed out two heroin hits, two methamphetamine hits and multiple marijuana hits. Buster is 100 percent funded by the Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff Office


‘Friends’ of Sheriff’s Office provide support

December 2016


Without the Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office nonprofit organization, the Sheriff’s Office likely would have had to find other means to obtain and continually train K9 Deputy Buster.

Funds are limited and given to the department for what’s absolutely imperative.

The office received what Sheriff Rick DiBasilio called a “smokin’ deal” for the K9 when Buster was bought by the nonprofit for $500 more than two years ago. The philanthropic organization also allocates $1,000 a year for training that occurs once a month.

“Dogs can run anywhere between $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the type of dog and what it’s capable of,” DiBasilio said.

The Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office provides support for programs not funded by the county. Its annual crab feed and pasta dinner, said by DiBasilio to be the money making event of the year for the nonprofit.

In 2016 the feed contributed almost 40 percent of the $35,000 the nonprofit generated all year. Candace Keesey, executive director of the organization, said it was the most successful year overall in the five year history of the group.

In addition to the K9 program funded largely by Keesey’s group, $23,253 was contributed to the sheriff’s office after the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved the donation during a board meeting on Sept. 13.

The donation allowed the sheriff’s office to obtain equipment for detectives, batons and holsters, training equipment, individual first aid kits for each deputy and orange traffic cones to serve as vehicular training tools.

 “Typically what we do, as time progress, we put our list of things together that we’re wanting to purchase. We take the list to the board typically once a year and make a request,” DiBasilio said. “Then the Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office makes the purchases.”

He said a new cage for Buster inside a marked vehicle is something the sheriff’s office will have to address at some point. The nonprofit provided the resources to place the cage inside the current vehicle but the car has exceeded the 220,000 mile threshold. Cages can run up to $7,000 he said.

DiBasilio said a large armored vehicle, known as the BearCat, is also on the wish list. The purchase is likely something outside the nonprofit’s price range. The vehicle can cost between $225,000 and $250,000 and can almost never be purchased used.

Halverson/Clark Annual Invitational benefits FOCSO



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. Right Picture: left to right: 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 nonprofit provides substantial aid to Sheriff's Office

- Nov. 6, 2013 By Nick Baptista of The Valley Springs News


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 wellbeing 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Donation to the new Nonprofit for the Calaveras Sheriff's Office

 A $800 donation made to FOCSO in 2012 by the Valley Springs Area Business Assn's (ABA) Board of Directors, 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.

New Nonprofit for Calaveras Sheriff's Office
In 2011, 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.

 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!