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The mission of the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League is to unite the Sheriff’s Office personnel, citizens and youth of Alameda County in the pursuit and implementation of initiatives that will reduce crime, better the lives of area residents and enhance the community through action and collaboration with its partners.

DSAL was founded in 2004 by Alameda County Sheriff’s Sergeant (now Captain) Marty Neideffer. DSAL was founded to offer pro-social activities for kids and youth in Ashland and Cherryland. At that time, there were very few positive options for recreation or activities for kids after school. As we connected with youth and families, we realized the need to address deeper issues, like unemployment, lack of investment in the unincorporated areas, and social and political disconnection. We now see DSAL’s mission in a larger framework of social equity, community-led economic empowerment, creative placemaking: creating a profound change in how law enforcement serves the community. 

We are constantly working to help make the neighborhoods we serve into places where people can thrive. We helped advocate for and now provide programs at the REACH Ashland Youth Center. We’ve built our DSAL Soccer league into a powerhouse with over 1,500 participants. We launched Dig Deep Farms in 2011, which provides internships for 50+ youth and adults each year, and we’re developing a Food Hub to create even more new jobs. Dig Deep and the Food Hub also increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the neighborhood. 

In summer 2016, DSAL and the Sheriff’s Office launched Eden Night Live in partnership with the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce, Alameda County Public Works and Housing & Community Development, Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office, and the community. These and other accomplishments define our work as a bridge among residents, local businesses, the Sheriff’s Office, and other public and nonprofit agencies. 

Our work is backed up both by feedback from the kids and families we work with, and by research. A number of studies have shown that kids who participate in  quality afterschool programming, whether at school sites or in the community, are less likely to become involved in crime or to drop out of school.  Neighborhoods with higher mutual trust have been linked with lower homicide rates, while neighborhoods that lack social cohesion have been related to higher rates of social disorder, anxiety and depression (report).  Urban farming brings benefits to neighborhoods, including access to healthy food, creating safe spaces, and reducing blight (report). 



The Community Capitals Framework guides DSAL’s work, as well as that of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO).  As explained, in 2015, by the Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Economics, the Community Capitals Framework is a way of evaluating as well as strengthening communities, by presenting seven kinds of capital vital to maintaining a healthy, vibrant community with a robust economy:

  • Natural Capital: This includes a community’s environment, rivers, lakes, forests, wildlife, soil, weather, and natural beauty. 

  • Cultural Capital: This includes ethnic festivals, multi-lingual population, traditions, heritage, or a strong work ethic. Cultural capital influences what voices are heard and listened to, which voices have influence in what areas, and how creativity, innovation, and influence emerge and are nurtured.

  • Human Capital: This includes the skills and abilities of residents as well as the capacity to access outside resources and knowledge in order to increase understanding and to identify promising practices (education, health, skills, and youth). Human capital also addresses leadership’s ability to “lead across differences,” to focus on assets, to be inclusive and participatory, and to be proactive in shaping the future of the community or group.

  • Social Capital: This reflects the connections among people and organizations or the social glue that makes things happen. Bonding social capital refers to those close ties that build community cohesion. Bridging social capital involves weak ties that create and maintain bridges among organizations and communities.

  • Political Capital: This is the ability to influence standards, rules, regulations and their enforcement. It reflects access to power and power brokers, including government officials and leverage with a regional company. 

  • Financial Capital: This includes the financial resources available to invest in community capacity building, underwrite businesses development, support civic and social entrepreneurship, and accumulate wealth for future community development. 

  • Built Capital: This is the infrastructure that supports the community, including telecommunications, industrial parks, main streets, water and sewer systems, roads, etc. Built capital is often a focus of community development efforts. 

​With the Community Capitals Framework as a guide, the ACSO is implementing what they call Community Capitals Policing, an approach that, with DSAL’s programs, recognizes that public safety intersects with public health and placemaking.

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“In some places in this country where crime has been persistently high there's distress on a lot of different fronts, and we need to have much more complex solutions to address those complex problems. This story is one about embracing that complexity, bringing together a really strong multifaceted team, getting people on the same page for a vision, no matter how messy that is -- and of course we know it's messy -- and driving forward to create change.” 

- Julia Ryan, Vice President, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

​“The fact that deputy sheriffs and other residents are working together, side by side, is a huge victory.  I think that they are one of the most enlightened, broadest-thinking offices that I've run across anywhere in the country.”  

- Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America​

​“We're on the ground with people having conversations, seeing the issues that they're going through, they trust us enough because we are so accessible that they give us access to their lives and with that level of access we're able to come up with solutions—not a helicopter approach, us landing on the community, but us being atomized in the community and being able to work together with our partners and the people who trust us and actually love us, to help make things better in the area.”

- Deputy Joe, Alameda County Sheriff Office


15001 Foothill Blvd., San Leandro, CA 94578


(510) 820-5222

Contact DSAL
Volunteer to Coach, Referee, or help out at DSAL events and programs!