Young was born in Emeryville, which is located in our neighboring county, Alameda. A graduate of Berkeley High School, he was 34 when he joined the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department. His initial assignment was to the Patrol Division as a Deputy Sheriff in the western part of the County.
Ten years later, in 1953, Young passed the promotional examination for sergeant and was named a Senior Sergeant in the Martinez Office. In 1955, he was put in charge of the new Sheriff's Substation in Walnut Creek. While a member of the Department, Young attended numerous FBI training classes and area police training schools.
He was the first sheriff to incorporate the role of coroner into his duties. During a failed Moraga burglary, two armed men took a deputy sheriff hostage. Sheriff Young was called at home and promptly arrived at the scene. He went inside the market and knocked on the door to the men's room, where the desperate burglars were holding the deputy.
Young announced that the building was surrounded and that their only recourse was immediate surrender. The burglars handed their guns to the deputy after his reassurance that they would be treated fairly, and walked out into the custody of the waiting officers.