Sheriff Phil Wowak's Biographical Summary
Sheriff Phil Wowak
Sheriff Phil Wowak’s law enforcement career began in 1983 when he joined the Capitola Police Department. During his 12 year tenure with the Capitola Police Department, Sheriff Wowak held positions as Patrol Officer, Detective, Undercover Narcotics Officer, Motorcycle Officer, and Training Officer.
In 1995, Sheriff Wowak transferred to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Wowak held numerous positions as Deputy including Patrol Deputy, Training Officer and Detective assigned to the sex crimes unit.
In 1999, Sheriff Wowak was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. As a Sergeant he worked as a patrol supervisor, project manager of a Mobile Data Computer grant, Special Team Sergeant in Community Policing and Detective Sergeant in charge of homicide investigations.
In 2004, Sheriff Wowak was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and work in the patrol division. Sheriff Wowak became the commander of the Investigation Division in 2005. As the investigations commander, he has directed the work of six sections; CSI, coroner, sex crimes, homicide, property crimes and narcotics. In investigations, Sheriff Wowak managed nearly two dozen homicide investigations and participated in the formation and management of the Joint Agency Gang task force (JAG).
Sheriff Wowak has twice received the Medal of Valor; once for rescuing a woman from a burning home and a second for saving a drowning woman off of Capitola Beach. Sheriff Wowak holds Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory, Management and Executive Management certificates from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards in Training. Sheriff Wowak is also a graduate of the Sherman Block Leadership Institute.
In May 2009 Sheriff Wowak was appointed as the Sheriff-Coroner of Santa Cruz to complete the term of retiring Sheriff Steve Robbins. On June 8, 2010, Sheriff Wowak was elected to office as the 25th Sheriff of the County of Santa Cruz.