Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Sheriff’s Cmdr. Tyson Pogue overlooks the office’s dispatch center, run by Beronica Garza in its new building on Falcon Drive.
When an emergency unfolds in Madera County, be it a break-in or a natural disaster, its citizens depend on the Madera County Sheriff’s Department as their main line of defense.
With 78 deputies, detectives, and other sworn personnel on their roster, the sheriff’s department, led by Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney, covers the entirety of Madera County.
“All the way to Mono,” said Madera County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Tyson Pogue. “To get to the other end of the county, you’re looking at about four hours.”
In addition to law enforcement, the sheriff’s office is involved in search-and-rescue for the county, as well as crisis management. They also act as the coroners office for Madera County.
To help in their duties, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department commands multiple assets, including a S.W.A.T. Team, a K-9 Unit, a rescue team, a dive team, a terrorism liaison, and a substation in Oakhurst.
In order to help their community, however, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department has made steps, according to Pogue, to reach out to the people of Madera County.
“We build partnerships with the community in order to reduce crime, and keep everybody safe,” said Pogue. “We’ve taken great steps to set up various community meetings, such as starting the new program, Donuts with Deputies, and making a lot more contacts at the schools, and making contacts in the community ... so basically, we set up to make ourselves much more approachable in the community.”
Donuts with Deputies, the Sheriff’s Department’s own take on the similar Coffee with a Cop, was created as a way for Madera County citizens to sit down with members of the department in a relaxed environment. Wanting to stand out, however, they opted for donuts instead of coffee, as is done with Madera Police and the California Highway Patrol.
“At the sheriff’s office, we like to put our own spin on things,” Pogue said.
Along with these forms of outreach, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department uses Citizens on Patrol and the Explorer Program, in which teenagers learn radio techniques and procedures and protocol that deputies deploy. It has also served as a recruitment tool for the department, with many of its deputies starting out in the program.
This, along with Pogue and several others in the department being students of Cathy Anderson, the wife of former Sheriff John Anderson, shows what the Madera County Sheriff’s Department is at heart — a homegrown team of responders, ready to serve from Mono to the San Joaquin River.