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Howard Hornbuckle became our twenty first Sheriff when he took office on January 6,1947.
Sheriff Hornbuckle attended San Jose High School where he was a star athlete. He was a graduate of San Jose State and the college's Police School. While attending San Jose State, he stared on the Spartan football team. He was sworn in as a police officer for the San Jose Police Department on July 1,1931. During his fourteen year career on the force, he attended the FBI Academy as both student and instructor. He also served for five years as a traffic school instructor. After a distinguished career as a detective, and finally Captain, he resigned in 1945 and went into private business as an operator of a service station and garage.
In the general election of November 1946, Hornbuckle beat Under-Sheriff Thomas Graham for the county's top cop, 37,593 votes to 27,570. Sheriff Hornbuckle was the first Sheriff in Santa Clara County to have his deputies covered under the Civil Service Commission; prior Sheriff's had the right to fire, promote and demote at their pleasure. Most of the earlier Sheriff's would fire or, force out, any existing deputies and bring in their own men. Hornbuckle was re-elected in 1950, but lost to Melvin Hawley in the elections of 1954 and 1958.
Leaving office in January 1955, Howard went to work as a sales representative for a north county dairy.
Sheriff Hornbuckle died in San Jose Hospital on May 7,1962, at the age of 53.
The San Jose Mercury, May 8,1962
The San Jose Mercury Herald, November 7,1946