The accomplishments of the past year and the hopes for the future for some local law enforcement officials were summed up in a speech.
Sheriff Raymond Loera held his annual inspection of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office staff, speaking to and greeting the dozens of deputies, correctional officers and support staff who stood at attention Monday morning.
The inspection is a chance to make sure Sheriff’s Office employees have the proper equipment, as well as bringing everyone together, he said. While the local Sheriff’s Office isn’t large compared to places like Los Angeles and San Diego, it’s very spread out, covering about 4,500 square miles in Imperial County.
In general the last year has been pretty good for the Sheriff’s Office, Loera said. He gave examples during his short speech, complimenting staff members accomplishments through the last year, including the new communication supervisor, the fiscal division, two correctional officers who pulled a person out of a wrecked vehicle and the patrol division who assured the community after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“Every obstacle that has been placed in front of us has been overcome,” he said. “This shows that we will continue to be a positive and progressive agency, and not let circumstances dictate how we act.”
There have been some adjustments made with the implementation of Assembly Bill 109, known as realignment, where nearly 30,000 inmates from California prisons will be moved to other facilities throughout the state to ease overcrowding. One of the hopes is that a new state-of-the-art jail facility will be under construction next year when Loera again holds his inspection.
“We’re not falling behind,” he said. “We’re moving forward. It’s just moving one step at a time.”
On Monday, deputies and correctional officers arrived an hour before the event started and stayed half an hour afterward to get to speak with their fellow law enforcement officials.
It’s nice to be able to get everybody from the three main divisions together once a year, said Lt. Scott Sheppeard.
“Being a 24/7 operation, sometimes you go months on end without seeing our co-workers,” he said.
The annual inspection allowed everyone from the outlying areas and the El Centro main office to see each other, he added. Some of the deputies don’t see each other for months, but the inspection brings everyone together.
In past years, the Sheriff’s Office has rarely come together as a whole, said Chief Deputy George Moreno, who has 26 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Office. Now, though, there’s at least one day where they get to see nearly everyone. That makes a big difference, boosting morale.
For Moreno, some of those who he started working with have retired, but it’s still feels good recognizing the deputies. He’s seen them when they were first hired and now moving through the department.
Digital Media News Editor Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
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