The faces of our local Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department regularly shift over the years due to scheduled shift changes within the department’s five contract cities—Patterson, Ceres, Hughson, Riverbank and Waterford—but changes the department is currently undergoing are some of the most drastic that Patterson Police Chief Tori Hughes has seen in her 15 years in Patterson.
While this will ultimately result in many new employees within the department here in Patterson, Chief Hughes assures that the changes have not affected the number of sheriff’s deputies, detectives, sergeants or staff members that have been assigned to Patterson.
“The only thing that’s changing are the faces,” Hughes said by phone last week.
According to Hughes, these changes of face may seem to have occurred a lot more frequently over the past four years, but that is due largely in part to the current rebuilding of the Sheriff’s Department as a result of 27 positions that were cut in November of 2010.
On Tuesday March 10, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved the restoration of 31 positions to the Sheriff’s Department, and although Patterson’s staffing was never affected by the cuts made five years ago, the local substation is taking some brunt from the current growth spurt.
“I’ve been here over 15 years and have not seen this kind of movement,” Hughes said. “We’re starting to see the transition from hiring, hiring, hiring.”
The Patterson substation has seen five new faces recently, and some are not only new to Patterson, but new to the department itself.
“They’re getting out to know who is who in the community,” Hughes said. “We rely on the guys who have been here to catch the new guys up to speed.”
Promotions from within the department can also be attributed to the local change of face, along with the shift changes and the efforts to rebuild the department.
Local Administrative Sergeant Paul Yotsuya is one of those faces who will be leaving Patterson to take on a new detail working with the Civil Division in downtown Modesto.
Yotsuya, who had originally planned to finish out his work in Patterson, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with friend and colleague Bobby Hunt, supervising four deputies that do evictions similar to the one that took the life of sheriff’s deputy Robert “Bob” Paris and locksmith Glendon Engert April 12, 2012, in Modesto.
Yotsuya, a friend of Paris’, said he “owed to his family not to make the same mistakes” when he was presented the opportunity to work with the Civil Division.
“I have the opportunity to oversee changes from the Civil Division,” Yotsuya said. “To improve the safety for deputies,” Yotsuya explained, while working more often than not in the field, rather than in the office.
Still, Yotsuya will remember his time working here in Patterson.
“Working with city staff is awesome,” Yotsuya said. “I’ve never dealt with a finer group of people. From public works to the city manager.”
“I made a lot of contacts out here, and I feel I’m a part of the community,” Yotsuya added. “It’s been a fun assignment.”
The department is currently unsure of who will fill Yotsuya’s role in Patterson, but it may be filled by a recruitment from within the department via appointment, or a full interview process dependent on direction from Chief Hughes.
“Hopefully a lot of this will iron itself out by the fourth of April,” said Hughes.
Elias Funez can be reached at 892-6187 ext. 307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.