Described in one publication as a man the criminals definitely don’t want working on their case, Mendocino County District Attorney Chief Investigator and DA advisor, Kevin Bailey, is officially retiring. His last day in the office is tomorrow, Thursday, May 26th. He’s leaving the public workforce after many years of service to fade into a private lifestyle with his family and family dog, Kona.
Chief Bailey is retiring after a long and honorable law enforcement career promoting public safety, leading investigations that solved serious and violent crimes that brought hardened criminals to justice, absolving the innocent of wrongdoing, and empathizing with and protecting victims of crime.
Criminal investigators play an integral 24/7 role in all aspects of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Investigators work hard to solve open cases, a task that often takes days, weeks, months, or even years to complete. These law enforcement professionals collect evidence, interview witnesses, and arrest suspects. Succeeding as the DA’s chief investigator requires smarts, leadership skills, strong communication skills, sound judgment, patience, physical fitness, empathy, and high ethical standards -- traits and qualities in which Chief Bailey has always excelled.
An Air Force veteran, Chief Bailey completed the NCO Leadership School at March Air Force Base in Riverside County. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving our country around the world, while also supervising and training others as a Squad Leader and Law Enforcement Flight Chief from 1985 to 1995.
Receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force in February 1995, Chief Bailey was hired in March 1996 by Sheriff Jim Tuso to serve as a Mendocino County Corrections Deputy working in the Low Gap Jail Facility.
Having demonstrated good judgment and a strong work ethic in the jail environment, Chief Bailey left his corrections assignment in 1998 to become a Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy performing patrol duties on the Mendocino Coast and other areas of the county.
In 2001 Chief Bailey was hand-picked by Sheriff Tony Craver to join the Sheriff’s Detective Unit, where Chief Bailey often took the lead on complex investigations that included sex crimes and murders. He continued to hone his innate skills as an effective interrogator during this time.
Chief Bailey was hired by District Attorney Norm Vroman in April 2005 to join the DA’s Bureau of Investigations. His duties in this new assignment allowed Chief Bailey to continue to take the lead on complex investigations, strengthen trial evidence, work with victims and witnesses of crime, as well as strategize with prosecutors on how best to present a case to local juries. When the DA was still responsible for investigating officer-involved shootings, Chief Bailey almost always lead those investigations and briefed the DA on his team's findings.
After District Attorney Eyster was elected, Chief Bailey was promoted in June 2014 as the DA’s Chief Investigator, responsible for supervising an elite in-house investigations unit of six other peace officers and one evidence technician. As the head of the DA’s Bureau of Investigations, Chief Bailey was often the office intermediary with law enforcement agencies locally and across the state. He led by example and expected a high quality investigation and outcome on cases he and his officers handled. He has served DA Eyster well as the DA’s “sounding board” and as a reliable legal advisor.
When asked to comment on Chief Bailey’s retirement, former Sheriff Tom Allman said: “As painful as it was at the time for the Sheriff’s Office to lose Kevin Bailey and his investigatory skillset to the DA’s Office, he continued to help us immensely as an allied investigator while working under three different District Attorneys. The Sheriff’s Office and the public owe you a debt of gratitude for your hard work and assistance, Kevin. You will not be forgotten.”
District Attorney David Eyster also reflected that Chief Bailey is leaving behind big shoes that will need to be filled by the incoming “new” Chief Investigator, Andy Alvarado. “While it may be hard to believe, Kevin has always done more than was expected of him and a lot has always been expected of him. His highly-professional contributions to public safety in Mendocino County are unparalleled in the modern day annals of local law enforcement. Let there be no doubt that Mendocino County is a safer and better place to live because of Kevin’s many years of dedicated service of helping victims and making sure those he caused to be arrested and prosecuted were the right crook. I’m losing a trusted advisor; he’s getting a new, easy-going life. Congratulations!”
For additional background, see: the Anderson Valley Advertiser’s 2004 article about Chief Bailey solving a “cold case” murder: “`The Victim Didn’t Smoke’ - How attention to detail solved a 30-year old murder in Navarro,” by Mark Scaramella, found at https://theava.com/archives/105169.
See, also, the Anderson Valley Advertiser’s 2018 article about Chief Bailey and Tai Abreu: “One Murder, Four Deaths,” by Bruce Anderson; found at https://theava.com/archives/80600.
Kevin Bailey’s Finest Hour
In July of 2010 when the Board of Supervisors discussed CEO Angelo’s proposed pay cut for Deputies and other County line workers, DA Investigator Kevin Bailey got right to the heart of the matter:
“I will not waste my time appealing to a group of individuals who have proven themselves unworthy of performing the jobs they were elected to do. When you ask those who have given so much of themselves to this community to give more than you yourselves are willing to give, you should be ashamed. Any member of this board who votes to impose a 13% reduction should look at their shoes when they pass a law enforcement officer. You're not worthy to look them in the eye. We're not saying we should not be part of the solution; we're only saying we should not have to give any more than any other group. Supervisors Colfax and Smith have sat idly by and given NOTHING of their own salary while they raise their hands in support of a 13% pay reduction. You [first] gave marching orders to your negotiator to present the DSA [Deputy Sheriff’s Association] with a 24% pay cut. And then you declared an impasse when it was voted down by the membership. You did this and you called it “negotiations”? Your conduct throughout this entire negotiation has made it clear that you do not support or appreciate the sacrifices and dedication made by those who put it all on the line for this county. I spent 14 years doing this job for this County. I started in the jail, moved to patrol, moved to detectives, and now I'm a DA investigator. I've been in the emergency room twice; I've been in the back of an ambulance once seeking emergency medical treatment. I've bled for this county. I suffered for this county. But I did not ask my family to go hungry for this county. Remember, you were elected to represent us, not rule us. Enjoy your full paychecks while you can and we'll meet on election day. When I pass you on the street, I'll be the one with the stiff back with my head held high and you'll be the one looking at your shoes. You should all be ashamed.”
Bailey got a loud round of applause from the large crowd of deputies and other county employees in the room.