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Pogue makes history

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Madera’s 15th sheriff Tyson Pogue has been with the Madera County Sheriff’s office for almost 20 years and has worked his way up from deputy to a sheriff.


Madera County’s 15th sheriff in 126 years

In July 1996, two Yosemite High School students, while riding their dirt bikes in the hills around Coarsegold, came across the body of a man who had been dead for several days. This accidental discovery drew one of them, Tyson Pogue, into the quest for solving mysteries.

He took a photograph of the body, gave it to the newspaper, and notified the authorities. Little did he know at the time that his love for tackling the unknown would lead him into a career in law enforcement and, in 2020, to his appointment as Sheriff of Madera County.

Actually, Pogue had already been primed for a career in law enforcement by his 8th grade teacher Kathy Anderson, whose husband was a high ranking officer with the California Highway Patrol and would one day be elected Sheriff of Madera County, himself. Pogue remembers being fascinated by some of Mrs. Anderson’s accounts of her husband’s work, and thoughts began to develop that he might want to be a policeman someday.

Pogue was born in Modesto in 1979, but grew up in Coarsegold. He attended Yosemite High School where he worked on the yearbook, learning digital pagination, which proved to be a skill that would also connect him with Madera County law enforcement.

At the age of 17, he landed a job with Heidi’s Photo where, as part of his duties, he developed Sheriff’s Office photos for the mountain division. Pogue established friendships with a couple of detectives, which sparked his interest in law enforcement even further.

After graduating from Yosemite High School in 1997, Pogue did digital pagination for the Sierra Star and The Madera Tribune. Then, in February 2000, he took the step that was almost pre-ordained. He enrolled in the Fresno Police Academy. Pogue withstood the rigors of formal police training and continued to work for The Madera Tribune. It was only his indomitable endurance and determination that got him through.

Pogue would wake up each day and go to the Tribune to work on digital pagination, copy editing and photo assignments. He would then go to the police academy for his training. When that was complete, he would return to the Madera Tribune to finish putting the paper together, often working until two o’clock in the morning. Then it was home and to bed for a few hours sleep before starting all over again at daylight.

He reached the first plateau in his quest for a career in law enforcement by graduating from the Police Academy in November 2000 with an award of distinction for finishing third overall in skills.

On March 1, 2001, Pogue was hired by the Madera Sheriff’s Office, and he continued his work at West Hills Community College studying computer information systems and earning straight A’s. For his first three years, he was a patrol deputy, and then in 2004, he was promoted to Detective/Task Force Agent. He earned his Sergeant’s stripes in 2007 and became a Lieutenant on Jan. 1, 2013.

The knowledge and skills that Pogue acquired with the Sheriff’s office was exceptional by any measurement. His hundreds of hours in specialized training included 500 hours in incident command systems and SWAT training, nearly 900 hours of technology training, 500 hours of Narcotics Training, over 100 hours of UAV training, plus over 400 hours of a variety of other trainings.

Three years after his promotion to Lieutenant, Pogue was made Commander, and on Jan. 1, 2019, he was named Undersheriff by then Sheriff Jay Varney. At that point, Tyson Pogue’s law enforcement training reached its apex. He was among the select group of law enforcement executives who were chosen to attend the prestigious Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The 10-week program is offered just four times each year.

Pogue went through two and a half months of advanced, executive-level leadership training at the FBI’s National Academy, which is known throughout the world for its academic excellence. He and his cohorts represented only one pecent of law enforcement’s executives, so selective is the program. Their areas of study included intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science.

Upon his graduation from the FBI Academy in June 2019, Pogue came home, and in a few months, something happened that went beyond anything he ever imagined when he first became one of the county’s top lawmen. In June 2020, Pogue rose to a level of law enforcement that only 14 men in the 126-year history of Madera County have reached. They pinned the Sheriff’s badge on him. He was appointed Sheriff by the Madera County Board of Supervisors to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Sheriff Jay Varney, who became the Chief Administrative Officer of Madera County.

Pogue is married with three children. His wife, Melissa, works for the California State Military Department. His step-son, Joshua, was recently honorably discharged from the Navy where he did advance technology work. His 17-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, attends Minarets High School where she is on the varsity Cheer Squad and volunteers for school leadership and the Key Club. His 12-year-old daughter, Savannah, attends Rivergold Elementary School where she is involved in outdoor activities.

Sheriff Pogue has always been involved with his community since his early years, volunteering for assignments at church, then in high school with the Interact Club, leadership, yearbook and the school newspaper.

Pogue says that everything about his job as Sheriff is important, including the “little things that we all in law enforcement do routinely to improve life for those we serve.”

The Sheriff maintains, “There are hundreds of tiny things that are done by our public servants that go unseen and unrecognized. It’s my honor and privilege to be able to help, enable, and support those efforts. The opportunity to serve in the highest rank (in the Sheriff’s Office) and foster those community relationships is indescribable.”


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