In what can arguably be described as a sign of the times, Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff promoted four lieutenants to the rank of captain Tuesday afternoon.
The lieutenants will replace sheriff’s captains who have “retired” over the last month, adding to a growing list of department changes that has included the
Yesterday’s announcement by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stated that sheriff’s lieutenants Lyndon “Ray” Wood, Michael Judge, Dean Wright, and Jeffrey Kubel were each promoted.
Wood will command the Sheriff’s Court Services East Operations; Judge will serve as the new commander of the Coordinated Custody Unit, which implements ; Wright will serve as the new Commander of the Sheriff’s Dispatch, Fleet Services and Information Services Bureau; and Kubel will command the Sheriff’s Court Services West Operations.
Each of these men appears highly qualified and deserving of the promotion, as noted by Sheriff Sniff in yesterday’s announcement.
However, the sheriff is not advocating the changes. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Sniff said the recent restructures were not well thought out by the county, and he specifically referenced Lake Elsinore and a change in Coachella/La Quinta.
“… two recent experienced captains [were] literally forced into retirement … each one did not want to go, each [was] doing [a] great [job] … for their communities (Coachella/La Quinta, and Lake Elsinore/Wildomar) but were forced to retire immediately and take their pensions OR stay and wait as least five years to recover the loss fiscally,” the sheriff wrote.
For his part, Lake Elsinore's Fontneau never used the word “retirement” when discussing his exodus, despite a press release from the department announcing his retirement after 30 years of service. He has been replaced by Shelley Kennedy-Smith who was promoted to captain and ; Capt. Frank Taylor, who served as chief for Coachella and La Quinta, has been replaced by Andrew Shouse, who also got tapped for captain.
Sniff said the county saved nothing on the two unexpected exits and he argued that with payouts the departures actually cost the county.
He wrote that the loss of Fontneau and Taylor to the county is tremendous and includes three decades of experience per each captain, and cost “unnecessary turbulence to those communities in their police operations.”
He said the “retirements” were a “sad commentary on the times we are in and frustrating for us all.”