Meet Carl T

Personal  Life:

Carl Tennenbaum has been a lifelong public servant and advocate in his community, starting in San Francisco where he grew up, and now as a resident of Sonoma County. Carl believes that the Sheriff's office needs to be in constant dialogue with the community, and ensure that law enforcement is being proactive and responsive to the needs and expectations of the people they serve and protect. Carl seeks to give back to Sonoma County from the decades he has spent in law enforcement and is determined to make our county a better place to live as a Sheriff for us all.

Carl is married to Angela Yarbrough, a native of Santa Rosa with deep roots in the community. Carl and Angela live in rural Sebastopol with their three rescue dogs and their three rescue cats.

Carl was recently a volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Sonoma working as an advocate for a young boy who was under the supervision of the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice system.

In his spare time, Carl likes to  work on his classic 1970 Dodge Charger. He is an avid New York Times crossword puzzle addict and he enjoys cooking, his signature dish being a famous Caesar Salad. Carl and Angela are lifelong, diehard Giants fans.

Carl’s other passion is performing weddings, which he has done since 2001. Carl has performed countless weddings, from casual outdoor events to elaborate ceremonies in front of hundreds of guests. Carl was recently the venue officiant at Annadel Estate Winery in Santa Rosa. 


Carl has two children. His daughter Lisa is an attorney currently living in New Orleans and his son Douglas followed in his footsteps and is a San Francisco Police Officer.


Professional Life:

Carl “Carl T” Tennenbaum was born and raised in San Francisco, where he resided until his retirement from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) in 2013. 


Carl attended public high school and San Francisco City College. In 1979 Carl went to work for the San Francisco Department of Public Health as a paramedic on the city ambulances. 


In 1981 Carl fulfilled a lifelong dream when he joined the San Francisco Police Department. Throughout his 32 years in the SFPD Carl held numerous positions working as a:

SF Cop.jpeg
  • Walking a foot beat in diverse areas such as the Tenderloin, the Bayview - Hunters Point, and the Haight Ashbury, where he embodied the concept of the community police officer in his daily interactions with the public 

  • Undercover narcotics officer, which gave him a unique perspective on the failings of the drug war, especially following the tragic death of his partner during a drug enforcement operation in 1989 

  • Administrative assistant to the Chief of Police

  • Press Information Officer

  • White collar crime Investigator assigned to the District
    Attorney’s Office 


  • Commanding officer of the Public Housing Community Outreach
    Team as a liaison with the San Francisco Housing Authority 


  • Sergeant in charge of the Central District street-crimes unit, applying the Innovative Computer Statistics (COMPSTAT) program to gather data used to reduce crime 

  • Dignitary protection Sergeant, acting as a liaison to the FBI and Secret Service during high level dignitary visits to San Francisco 

  • Hostage negotiator, dealing with sensitive and life-threatening situations in a non-violent manner 

  • Field training officer


Throughout his career Carl relished his role as a mentor and training officer to recruit officers, and as an instructor in community policing concepts at the San Francisco Police Academy. 


Carl served for ten years on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, working to improve relations between the officers and the civilian oversight body responsible for investigating allegations of police misconduct.

Civic Engagement:

Upon his retirement in September 2013 Carl moved to Sebastopol.

In 2015 Carl joined the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), an organization of judicial and law enforcement personnel advocating for criminal justice reforms. Carl has championed smart reform of law enforcement, appearing as a guest speaker addressing issues relevant to modern policing such as the negative consequences of the war on drugs, the need for transparency, and the concept of community engagement. 

With LEAP, Carl has worked to create Community Responder programs for communities throughout the country. Community Responders are primarily mental health professionals who respond to non-violent 9-1-1 calls for people experiencing mental health crises or substance abuse issues. 


Measure P:

Carl was an early supporter of Measure P, the Sonoma County ballot initiative in 2020 aimed at strengthening the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO).  Measure P was passed by Sonoma County Voters in November 2020 by 64%, showing a community eager to have increased oversight on law enforcement.