Sheriff Jim Cooper’s Open Letter Regarding Retail Theft and the CRANov 28, 2023 05:29PM ● By Jim Cooper, Sacramento County Sheriff
Jim Cooper, Sacramento County Sheriff
The California Retailers Association (CRA) has made several misleading and inconsistent statements regarding a pending ballot initiative to address California’s retail theft crisis.
CLAIM: On August 22, 2023, the CRA president, joined prosecutors in filing a ballot measure to address retail theft. Details of the proposed ballot measure can be found at
The CRA president was an officer of the committee supporting the ballot measure and has repeatedly stated her support for this initiative. As recently as November 10, 2023, she told local media that she has been working “so hard” to fix Proposition 47 and put this initiative on the ballot.
FACT: In direct contradiction of this claim, in a November 15th Sacramento Bee article, the CRA president stated, “passing a ballot initiative isn’t the solution,” suggesting that the crisis can be cured by simply making retail theft misdemeanors subject to a mandatory appearance in court.
Anyone with experience in this realm should know that a misdemeanor approach will solve nothing. Existing law already requires individuals to appear in court when cited or arrested for misdemeanor crimes. In fact, thousands of individuals in jurisdictions across California fail to appear on misdemeanor crimes following the issuance of a citation, arrest, or even court order. In Sacramento County alone, we have over 33,000 outstanding misdemeanor warrants. The volume of misdemeanor warrants issued for those who fail to appear is enormous and already unmanageable for law enforcement.
As a result of Proposition 47 (“Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”), individuals who repeatedly commit theft and drug crimes suffer no consequences. People with drug and mental health issues, therefore, have no incentive to get treatment. Proposition 47 clearly states that any effort to increase penalties related to theft or drug crimes requires voter approval.
Per Proposition 47, the legislature has no power to make any meaningful change to address the retail theft crisis California faces. Given the extraordinary losses suffered by the retail industry and the significant impact it has on the consumer, I express my deepest concerns about California Retail Association President Rachel Michelin’s willingness to misrepresent to the public the facts on these critical matters.
While I still have my reservations because of their past history, I am hopeful we can find some common ground with the big box retailers and work together to resolve the crisis of retail theft.
Sacramento County Sheriff