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Sheriff Ryan has been a California peace officer for 41 years (1975-2016) having served at both the local and state levels.
He began his career in 1975 as the Chief Investigator for the Amador County District Attorney’s Office. In this capacity he conducted criminal investigations and served as the county wide law enforcement training coordinator. He was also the Deputy Public Administrator/Conservator and Welfare Fraud Investigator for the Office.
In 1981 Sheriff Ryan was hired as a Special Agent for the California Department of Justice and was assigned to the Los Angeles Office of the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI). While in this assignment, he conducted criminal and civil investigations on behalf of California’s Attorney General and state and local agencies. He investigated such matters as public/police corruption, major fraud, consumer fraud, deaths in custody, Commission on Judicial Performance investigations, criminal investigations, and served as a Departmental Firearms Instructor.
In 1984, Sheriff Ryan transferred to the Sacramento Office of CBI. In 1985 he was the CBI case agent for the Leonard Lake/Charles Ng serial murder investigation in Calaveras County where he coordinated CBI’s statewide role in this multi-jurisdictional investigation. He later became the Ng Task Force Commander. In this role he supervised a multi-agency/international team of investigators to prepare the serial murder case for prosecution by the Attorney General’s Office. Ng was eventually convicted of 11 counts of first degree murder and is currently awaiting execution.
After the Ng case, Sheriff Ryan became one of CBI’s first members of a new Criminal Investigations Response Team (CIRT) and was specially trained to respond to and investigate homicides, serial murders (Lake/Ng, Roger Kibbe/ the I-5 Strangler, Morris Solomon Jr.), and officer involved shootings throughout Northern California in partnership with the Bureau of Forensic Services. He continued to investigate corruption cases and investigations of statewide importance involving elected officials, fraud, and a variety of other cases in support of local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office.
In 1987 Sheriff Ryan was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor and directed a team of CBI agents assigned to the 26 counties that comprised the Sacramento Regional Office of CBI. He was responsible for quality control as well as case direction and oversight. He was later assigned to CBI Headquarters where he coordinated CBI’s statewide CIRT Program, insuring proper homicide training and equipment acquisition while personally continuing to respond to homicides and other violent crimes throughout the region. He authored CBI policy in such areas as report writing, inspections, firearms, etc. and was also responsible for responding to citizen complaints regarding other law enforcement agencies.
In 1990, Sheriff Ryan was promoted to Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the CBI Sacramento Regional Office where he was responsible for budgets, quality control, case acceptance/management and investigative direction for the teams of agents assigned to that office. In this position he also supervised CBI’s state wide Polygraph and Criminal Profiling Units. He was later assigned as the SAC of the CBI Intelligence Operations Bureau, which provided intelligence analysis and database assistance to California law enforcement agencies and tracked the activities of California’s criminal gangs, criminal extremists, organized crime, and domestic terrorists.
In 1997, Sheriff Ryan was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief of CBI, responsible for the statewide daily operations of CBI’s six regional offices. He was the direct supervisor for the SAC’s assigned to each of those offices. In this capacity he dealt with budgets, policy development and implementation, case acceptance, quality control, and coordination with the Attorney General’s legal divisions.
In 1999 Sheriff Ryan was appointed by the Attorney General as the Chief of CBI and served in that capacity until December of 2005. As Chief, he was in daily contact with the Attorney General’s Executive staff in developing priorities, developing and implementing programs such as statewide Sexual Predator Response Teams, budget development, and high profile statewide cases. As Chief he represented the Attorney General at several law enforcement executive level conferences/meetings throughout the state.
From 2003-2004 Sheriff Ryan served as the National Chairman of the 41 member Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies which is a professional organization consisting of the senior executives of the state wide criminal investigative agencies in the United States.
In June 2006 Sheriff Ryan was elected as the 25th Sheriff of Amador County and took office in January of 2007. In this capacity he is responsible for the 100 employees and $14 million budget of this office, including the Corrections/Court Security Division, Operations Division (Patrol, Investigations and Dispatch Bureaus), and the Administrative Division. He also serves as The Director of Emergency Services for Amador County.
During his law enforcement career, Sheriff Ryan graduated from both the POST Basic Police Academy (1975) and the California Department of Justice Special Agent Academy (1981) where he served as class President.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of California, Davis (1973), and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (186th), the POST Command College (25th), the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, and the U.C. Davis Executive Development Course.
Sheriff Ryan holds a Lifetime Junior College Teaching Credential in Police Science and has been a POST Certified Instructor in Criminal Intelligence and Firearms Training. He also holds California POST Basic, Supervisory, Management, and Executive Certificates.
Sheriff Ryan is very active in the California State Sheriffs' Association (CSSA) which represents the interests of California's 58 elected Sheriffs. He serves as Chair of the Tribal Issues Committee and Vice-Chair of the Political Action Committee.
In April of 2015, Sheriff Ryan became the first Sheriff of Amador County to hold the office of President of the CSSA. His term as President expired in April of 2016.