Holtville’s new sheriff’s deputies took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community at the last meeting of the Holtville City Council, Jan. 11, and chatted with the many residents in attendance.
Imperial County Sheriff, and Holtville’s new police chief, Ray Loera took a moment to address the council and introduce the new deputies.
“This is certainly a great and exciting time for the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office,” Loera said. “Over the last three years that I’ve been sheriff, we’ve been involved in Holtville on a limited basis. We’ve come to understand the community much better than when we began. And I think, on the other side, the community has come to know what kind of service the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office can provide. What I thought was the thing that showed what we can really do was when we actually put two of our deputies into the field. They were certainly very good representatives of the Sheriff’s office and what outstanding law enforcement it can provide and does provide.”
“We are really looking forward to working with you,” Loera continued. “This has been at the very least an interesting process, which I’m sure your city manager can attest to. But it’s done and we’re really looking forward to providing service to the city of Holtville.”
The sheriff took a few minutes to introduce new Holtville law enforcement officers Sergeant Clint Erro, Senior Deputy Justin Bostic, and Deputies Robert Benevidez, Emanuel Ramirez, Sal Quezada and Gordon Johnson.
“This is really a good combination of experience,” Loera said. “I think that we have a lot of enthusiasm. Every one of these deputies is really enthused about coming here. I didn’t force anybody to come here. I think they’re enjoying their assignment. I think we’re going to have a very good match here.”
After the sheriff finished his introductions, Holtville mayor Colleen Ludwig offered a word of thanks:
“I’d like to thank you so much sir. We’re grateful for all of the things that you’ve done to help us,” Ludwig said. “I know that between you and Laura Fischer, our city manager, you’ve negotiated a sound contract. We are excited about having our public safety here with the Sheriff’s division and all of our officers.”
Imperial County Board of Supervisors member Wally Leimgruber attended the meeting and shared his thoughts on the transition of law enforcement in Holtville:
“The most important thing is that we now have another substation here in the east portion of Imperial County,” Leimgruber said. “This county continues to grow. All of us are aware of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, with over a million visitors a year, and the local sheriff’s department is tasked with the enforcement in that area. Having the substation here in the community of Holtville we will be able to respond in a timely manner. All it does is enhance our law enforcement in that area. With the Sheriff’s Department involved now in this community I look forward to the working relationship with this council and the Sheriff’s Department for many years to come.”
Holtville City Manager Laura Fischer also took a moment to comment on the transition:
“We, as staff, are very excited to have the deputies here. I think it’s really important that we have a contract where we have full time law enforcement in Holtville. That’s been something that our community really demanded of us. And I think that the council has really put the effort in and has supported a contract that does do that. So again, thank you. The transition is complete. We now have five deputies and a sergeant working in town.”
Fischer also said that vehicles utilized by the Sheriff’s Department are going to be repainted soon to represent the city of Holtville as well as the Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re looking for a real exciting opportunity and a real good blend of the two – the city and the Sheriff’s Department,” Fischer said.
Holtville City Council member David Bradshaw congratulated Sheriff Loera on a smooth transition:
“I thought the transition went smooth,” Bradshaw said. “Smoother than we anticipated. It doesn’t seem like much, but there is a lot to transition in two days, so thanks for the effort there.”
Former Holtville Mayor and city council member Bianca Padilla also commented on the transition:
“It was a long and difficult change for us, making the decision in the last couple of years, but I look forward to a long and bright future working together,” Padilla said. “So far, everything’s been great. It sounds like, from the community, great responses. You guys look really great out there.”
Sheriff Loera wrapped up the introduction with one final comment:
“We are certainly here to be of service to the community,” he said. “They (the deputies) are assigned to this city. They’re not going anywhere unless they’re promoted or there’s some extenuating circumstance. These will be your new deputies.”