Deputy sheriffs from Kern County have a unique perspective when it comes to being a first responder. The county is 8,139 square miles, which means a deputy in Rosamond, Frazier Park, Tehachapi, etc., will be first on scene knowing their backup may be some distance away.

An example: Last year a deputy responded to a petty theft in an outlying area. Information was the suspect was gone. While the deputy was taking the report, the suspect returned. As the deputy tried to affect the arrest, he was met with resistance. This altercation continued for more than20 minutes until his back-up arrived. This situation is not unique. So deputies from Kern have learned de-escalation techniques long before it was fashionable.

Throughout the year, deputies have thousands of contacts with the public and do some really good things that never meet the media threshold. But the few negatives will. This can be demoralizing for employees. When you thank a first responder for what they do, it goes a long way.

Community policing is what makes us successful. We know without the public support we are ineffective. Recently we formed a Community Advisory committee comprised of citizens from across our county. We hope to integrate them into helping us with policies and procedures. We also want their input on what our communities want and need. We are really excited about this new venture.

We also have a 12-week citizen academy that gives citizens insights on what we do. Across this county we have 15 substations to help us serve outlying communities. With more than 1,200 employees, patrol isn’t our only function. We have the coroner function that includes the public administrator aspect. We have a division that serves civil processes. We are bailiffs, detectives, Search and Rescue, air unit, internal affairs, staff several jails, a Sheriff’s Activity League and much, much more. I encourage our citizens to get to know your deputy sheriffs. I also encourage deputies to live in and integrate themselves in the community they serve. The more we are a part of the community, the more effective we become.

Having been in this office for many years, I have seen many changes. Some good, some not so good, but we adapt. We don’t do it alone. We have so many partners across this county who are also first responders.

Having a day for first responders is exciting and helps them understand that even though a lot of their job is negative, we are still supported overwhelming by the community we serve. For that we are grateful. From all the employees of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, thank you!!!

Donny Youngblood is the sheriff-coroner-public administrator of Kern County.

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