Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Captain Discusses Newest Assignment
Santa Clarita resident Capt. Roosevelt Johnson, 46, has been in charge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station for almost 10 days, but he’s by no means a new face in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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Johnson, who’s originally from Port Arthur, Texas, joined the Sheriff’s Department more than 23 years ago, shortly after serving four years in the Navy.
After joining the department in November 1990, he graduated from the academy and quickly became familiar with the Santa Clarita Valley.
His first of many assignments with the Sheriff’s Department was Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, which he started in March 1991.
“I was commuting from Los Angeles for about two weeks, working the graveyard shift -- midnight until 8 in the morning,” Johnson said. “I realized it was pretty dangerous driving, making that commute after that shift. About two weeks in, I moved out here.”
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He later had another assignment to Pitchess and a position in the Sheriff’s Department’s academy training program at College of the Canyons, as well as working in the Lennox Station, the West Hollywood Station, the Century Station and the Altadena, in addition to administrative positions for the Custody Division and the Headquarters Bureau.
He noted the quality schools and low crime rate as part of what he enjoyed about the community.
Johnson lives out here with his wife, who's a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Department for the Palmdale Station. They have a son who's attending college in Texas.
In his most recent post before coming back to the Santa Clarita Valley, he was a division aide to Chief Neal Tyler, then former Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Anthony LaBerge, who was promoted from commander to chief, after leaving his SCV post.
Prior to Johnson’s arrival at the Altadena Station, that community endured an increase in gang activity, including several shootings and a rise in property crimes, he said.
He noted the community effort necessary to address the concern of residents in the area, working with them often, he said.
“We engaged the community,” Johnson said. “The captain (Steve McLean) was out and about, meeting with the community in the form of townhalls, going to neighborhood watch meetings -- he expanded the neighborhood watch meetings and he engaged the community to the point where we solicited their help.”
The Sheriff’s Department offers a wide range of services for policing a community, he said.
“In the unincorporated area, the goal is to reach out to those services that are in the department that are provided for the area, such as the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) teams that are available countywide,” Johnson said, referring to the multi-unit team approach to reducing crime that he helped oversee in Altadena at the station level.
Johnson also praised former Capt. Paul Becker’s creation of the Crime Prevention Unit for its effectiveness, and said he planned to continue the crime zone philosophy.
Becker, who’s been with the station since early 2010, came to Santa Clarita from the Sheriff’s Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit based in downtown Los Angeles. Becker was a member of the department for more than 30 years. He retired in February.
Lt. Robert Lewis, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's operations lieutenant, was the acting captain from October to March.
“You know, it’s never a good philosophy to come into a place and try to completely change anything,”Johnson said, “and I’m not one that’s going to do that.”
His goal for his first 90 days was meeting not only with his more than 240 staff members, but also with to get input from community stakeholders, everyone from resident to superintendents, and other officials.
“We all have to work together to solve crime in this community,” he said.
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