After about two months since Cmdr. Robert Lewis’ final days as head of the station, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station welcomed one of its own, Justin Diez, as its newest captain.
Diez, a local resident who served at the SCV station for several years as an operations lieutenant before transferring to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, was recently promoted and will be returning to the local station under his new title.
While the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has the final say on who is appointed captain, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes the SCV, and the city of Santa Clarita have provided recommendations in the past via interview panels that include the city manager and mayor.
On Sunday, Barger said, “The Santa Clarita Valley continues to be a very safe community because of the proactive policing policies and the hard work of deputies. We know that Capt. Diez will bring the leadership and the support for our hardworking deputies to continue this successful trend.”
City Manager Ken Striplin, who has participated in about seven transitions since working with the city, said during a Feb. 11 City Council meeting that, as the manager, he has the ability to “pass on a recommendation to the (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) as to who we would like to be that captain.”
“Capt. Diez is going to come in and continue to use the same policing procedures to keep Santa Clarita one of the safest cities in the area,” Striplin said Sunday. “I am excited to work with him to continue to keep Santa Clarita safe.”
Mayor Cameron Smyth, who was part of the interview panel, said Sunday, “We had a number of qualified candidates that we interviewed but I think that Justin’s connection to the Santa Clarita Valley station and being a local resident certainly helped set him above some of the other candidates. I think he’s going to be a great fit for the position; he understands the expectations that the residents of Santa Clarita have for our sheriff’s captain.”
Diez starts under his new title following Lewis’ nearly three-year career as captain for the local station. Lewis was recently promoted to commander, much like his predecessor Roosevelt Johnson, and concluded his time as captain at the SCV station in late December.
The SCV Sheriff’s Station has an estimated 170 deputies operating for a community of about 300,000 residents.