Ruben Mendoza formally filed his candidacy for Sheriff/Coroner of Madera County
CHOWCHILLA – Ruben Mendoza formally filed his candidacy paper work for Sheriff/Coroner of Madera County with the support of his wife, Lynette Mendoza, retired Fire Captain, California Department of Corrections, and their two daughters, Kamryn and Korina Mendoza.
Statement from Ruben Mendoza
I was born in El Paso, Texas, attended grade school in El Paso but my parents, Salvador and Juana Mendoza decided to move the entire family, five brothers and four sisters to Los Angeles County where I competed my formal education. I hold 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 master’s in science degree in Human Resources Management from Chapman University. My father was a WWII veteran, and my five brothers served in all five branches of the military, with at least two brothers who fought in Vietnam, and all survived to live successful lives, like my four sisters.
In the 1980s, I graduated from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and worked for Glendora Police Department for two years plus, worked for the California Department of Corrections for two years plus, making my way towards parole agent, however in the interim I accepted a police officer position with Chowchilla Police Department and had remained there for twenty years to the day. Today, I am currently with Merced County Public Defender’s Office and serve as a legal assistant in the realm of investigations, supervising and teaching new investigative assistants, and working with attorneys.
Briefly, I have worked my way from patrol officer to detective sergeant to command staff and done much of everything in-between as a leader, management, supervisor, and trained other police officers. I have 1,700 plus hours of training in leadership, management, supervision, etcetera, taught by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), 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, I was a supervisor, a training officer, a background investigator, internal affairs investigator, a range master, advanced in firearms, shotguns, and rifles. I was the department armor, defensive tactics instructor, asp/baton instructor, among other areas of responsibility. I was appointed as the hotline staff employee risk management authority (ERMA) by the City Administrator and served for nine years as the Liaison Officer for Madera County District Attorney. I also served in multiple county-wide committees through the nineties and up through the present.
I have received “Officer of the Year” three times, “Employee of the Year” once, “Quarterly Employee” once, and have received many commendations in lifesavings or service recognitions since the 1980s, Los Angeles County Probation Department, Glendora Police Department, California Department of Corrections, and Chowchilla Police Department. I’ve routinely represented the City of Chowchilla and the Chief of Police in committee meetings and or city functions throughout my employment at Chowchilla Police Department.
For the City of Madera, I served six and a half years as the Chairperson, Civil Service Commission, appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council. In 2016, I ran for Madera Unified School Board (MUSD), now currently in my second term, and I continue to voice that education is a badge of status to all students. As the Board President, specifically these past two years, I had been challenged in my Leadership role as the head of the Board of Education in its entirety. Critical decisions had to be made when the pandemic struck the district, especially when the life of our K – 12 school district was at stake. It impacted twenty thousand students, their parents, and with less than three-thousand employees, there were serious concerns to keep students engaged and employees, employed. It took the hiring of substantial substitutes to offset the absentee the district was facing, especially in a time when teacher shortage was prevalent, and with only an operating budget of $350 million dollars. As the Board President, the challenges were great and unique, but it was necessary to make decisions to survive the pandemic.
MUSD never having to experience this virus in its entire history, transparency was crucial to all of its stakeholders, especially the parents, who had real-life concerns for their children’s successes, especially graduating seniors who couldn’t participate in many of their extracurricular activities during their last year of high school, however the impossible was accomplished and the seniors would eventually graduate. I currently serve 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 I am the President for Madera County School Board Association.
As a candidate for Sheriff/Coroner, in part, I want 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. I want to provide up to date equipment and implement updated technology as it becomes available on the market to facilitate services to the public. I want 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. This change would provide opportunity to have dual 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. I felt the separation, patrol and corrections, did a disservice to the sheriff’s department, especially when it came to the budget. When I 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. I want to apply competitive wages, hours, and working conditions throughout the department. It has always been said that personnel are 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, I would like for 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, I 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 in office, as I have since 1990.