MADERA COUNTY – Deputy Sheriff Richard Gonzales was honored by his peers for the third time as Officer of the Year during Madera County’s annual Law Enforcement Appreciation banquet held at the Elk’s Lodge in Madera on Thursday, July 25.
Sheriff John Anderson proudly introduced Deputy Gonzales as Madera County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year.
“It’s unprecedented,” noted Sheriff Anderson during the awards ceremony. “Deputy Gonzales joined our department in 2007 and in that time he has twice before been voted our department’s stand-out.”
Sheriff Anderson told the audience that prior to joining the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Gonzales served five-and-a-half years as a corrections officer for the Madera County Department of Corrections, and when Madera County created a Gang Enforcement Team (MADGET), Deputy Gonzales was assigned to the Unit.
“It was during that juncture in his career that the Madera County Department of Corrections tapped him Officer of the Year, said Anderson.
With a family history in law enforcement – both his father and grandfather were both peace officers – Deputy Gonzales said he knew he would one day work for the Sheriff’s Office. He said the day he was sworn in, he had fulfilled his life-long dream. Just like his father and grandfather, “I always wanted to be a cop,” he said.
And no sooner had Deputy Gonzales made that transition from corrections officer to peace officer than he was singled out as top cop — voted Deputy of the Year.
He won that title just three years into his career as a Deputy Sheriff.
Three years later he won the title again, and to explain why he is so deserving of the title, Sheriff Anderson read to the audience comments submitted by Gonzales’ peers:
“He’s level headed,” said one, “even keeled,” said another. Other comments pointed out his great work ethic, and the last comment said it best.
“Deputy Gonzales is an example to our new deputies as to the kind of deputy they should want to emulate.”