Candidate statements: Mendoza files to run for sheriff


For The Madera Tribune

Madera County Sheriff/Coroner candidate Ruben Mendoza.

 

Ruben Mendoza formally filed his candidacy as Sheriff/Coroner for the June primary with the support of his wife, Lynette Mendoza and their two daughters, Kamryn and Korina Mendoza.


He was born in El Paso, Texas, attended grade school in El Paso, but his parents, Salvador and Juana Mendoza, moved the entire family, five brothers and four sisters, to Los Angeles County where Ruben competed his formal education.


Mendoza holds an Associate in Science degree in Police Science from Rio Hondo College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Fullerton, and a Masters in Science degree in Human Resources Management from Chapman University. His father was a World War II veteran, and his five brothers served in all five branches of the military, with two brothers who fought in Vietnam, and all survived to live successful lives, like his four sisters.


In the 1980s, Mendoza graduated from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and worked for Glendora Police Department for two years, worked for the California Department of Corrections for two years, and made his way towards parole agent.


In the interim, he accepted a police officer position with Chowchilla Police Department and remained there for 20 years. Today, Mendoza is currently with Merced County Public Defender’s Office and serves as a legal assistant in the realm of investigations, supervising and teaching new investigative assistants, and working with attorneys.


Mendoza worked my way from patrol officer to detective sergeant to command staff and has done much of everything in-between as a leader, management, supervisor, and trained other police officers. He has 1,700 plus hours of training in leadership, management, supervision, etcetera, taught by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Peace Officers Standards and Training, and several universities or programs that have facilitated a well-rounded and variety of versatile experiences throughout my career, inclusive to leadership, management, supervision, and investigations.


As part of the command staff at Chowchilla Police Department, Mendoza was a supervisor, a training officer, a background investigator, internal affairs investigator, a range master, advanced in firearms, shotguns, and rifles. He was the department armor, defensive tactics instructor, asp/baton instructor, among other areas of responsibility. He was also appointed as the hotline staff employee risk management authority by the City Administrator, and served for nine years as the Liaison Officer for Madera County District Attorney.


Mendoza has received “Officer of the Year” three times, “Employee of the Year” once, “Quarterly Employee” once, and many commendations in lifesavings or service recognitions since the 1980s from the Los Angeles County Probation Department, Glendora Police Department, California Department of Corrections, and Chowchilla Police Department.


For the City of Madera, Mendoza served six and a half years as the Chairperson, Civil Service Commission, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council.


In 2016, Mendoza ran for Madera Unified School Board and is now in his second term. He continues to voice that education is a badge of status to all students.


As the Board President, specifically these past two years, he had been challenged in his Leadership role as the head of the Board of Education in its entirety. As the Board President, the challenges were great and unique, but it was necessary to make decisions to survive the pandemic.


Mendoza currently serves on MUSD committees, Budget and Finance Committee, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, District Career Technical Education Committee, Facilities Committee, Site Selection Committee, Safety Advisory Committee, and is the President for Madera County School Board Association.


As a candidate for Sheriff/Coroner, in part, Mendoza says he wants to improve public safety, improve its services, and response times to the communities in the county, and, that it’d be reciprocal, that the community have a voice in the sheriff’s department. He wants to provide up-to-date equipment, and implement updated technology as it becomes available on the market to facilitate services to the public. He wants to appoint applicants locally with equity and equality principles, and promote qualified, experienced, educated personnel.


“I want to provide training to all personnel for cross-training purposes, but particularly training to change correctional officer’s status to full deputy peace officer status, though left as an option to each individual employee should they choose to remain in their specific job assignment throughout their career,” he said. “This change would provide opportunity to have duel trainings for both patrol deputies and correctional officers, correctional officers who would subsequently become regular deputies. This changeover would help to improve the budget and utilize personnel efficiently in one capacity or another, but it would be done without jeopardizing public safety or personnel shortages.”


Prior to April 2021, Madera County Sheriff’s Department and Corrections/jails were separate just like two other counties in the State of California, Santa Clara and Napa Counties.


However, Madera Sheriff’s Department have since consolidated the two departments and they are under the Sheriff’s direction, a subject that I shared with many of my colleagues since 1990.


Mendoza felt the separation, patrol and corrections, did a disservice to the sheriff’s department, especially when it came to the budget. When he graduated from LASD, the county sheriff (with approximately 8,000 sworn deputies) operated both departments, and is a full service agency. The county also provided its services and facilities to local agencies, establishing a positive and excellent working relationship with other agencies.


“As a former Association President and Vice President for the Chowchilla Police Department, I want to maintain a working and positive relationship with the labor partners, and to achieve successes together with retention in mine,” he said. “I want to apply competitive wages, hours, and working conditions throughout the department. It has always been said that personnel is our greatest asset, skilled and experienced, and that it is personnel who make successes possible. Administration to dispatchers to deputies, and up through corrections who receive the arrestees, trigger the three components of the criminal justice system; police-courts-corrections, and without the drive and passion of personnel, one or all of the components could fail.”


As a long-term goal, Mendoza wants the Madera Sheriff’s Department to eventually have its own training facility, and have it open to other agencies, like Chowchilla and Madera Police Departments, or even state agencies that could utilize the facilities. It could be a central training ground for weapons, practical training, and academics.


Prior to the 2008 economic recession, Mendoza was working on land and the donation of temporary structures to construct an intermediary shooting range for Chowchilla Police Department, however, and unfortunately it did not materialize because of the recession.


In closing, I will remain engaged in committees, commissions, if not office, as I have since 1990.