By Luke Phillips
There is a new Sheriff in town. At least in Holtville.
The Imperial Valley Sheriff’s Department took over law enforcement duties in the city of Holtville Jan. 4, and Imperial County Sheriff Raymond Loera officially became Holtville’s new Police Chief.
Four deputies, transferred from county duty and now based exclusively in Holtville, have been patrolling the streets and getting to know the community.
Loera says that while the Sheriff’s Department will continue to enforce the law in much the same way as the Holtville Police Department, some changes will be evident.
“People need to understand that the law is the law and we are going to enforce the same laws that the police enforced,” Loera said. “But one thing people will notice is that we’re going to be a little more visible. I expect my deputies to go out there and make contact with the public, in a law enforcement capacity as needed, but also just to make a strong connection with the public in general. We’re going to try to work closely with the community.”
Loera says that he was fortunate when putting together a team of deputies to serve Holtville. Nearly all of the deputies have had experience in a municipal setting and understand the dynamics of working in a small community.
“We were very fortunate in putting this team together,” Loera said. “There’s a different expectation for law enforcement in Holtville. There’s a demand for something more personal than you’d find in a bigger city.”
Loera says he plans on being active in the community and attending city council meetings, but the day-to day operations in Holtville will be run by Sergeant Clint Erro, who has served as Holtville’s interim Police Chief for the past year. “I assure you that Sergeant Erro is very capable,” he said.
Loera said the Sheriff’s department will also be implementing youth programs, such as the Sheriff’s Activity League or an Explorers organization, in the community at some time in the future.
“There is a lot of interest in working with youth,” Loera said. “We will certainly be involved. There are just some logistical issues that we need to look at. We will also be asking assistance from the public. That’s really what makes these programs work.”
Holtville City Manager Laura Fischer says that the transition is going well. “It’s going really well,” Fischer said. “I think we’ve put together a really good team of deputies. The Sheriff did a good job in his selection.”
Fischers says that the community will have a chance to meet and mingle with Holtville’s new deputies at the city council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 11th. Fischer says the deputies will be introduced and give a brief summary of their backgrounds before taking a break to chat with the public. Fischer strongly encourages community members to attend and get to know the deputies.
By Luke Phillips