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Former Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s captain dies at 75

Memorial services planned Dec. 6 at Real Life Church

Posted: November 20, 2013 7:24 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2013 7:24 p.m.

Jeremy “Jerry” Ide Conklin, a longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident who led the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station from 1992 to 1994, has died due to complications from open heart surgery. He was 75.

Conklin, who was admired for his leadership skills and personal touch during his nearly 30 years of service at the Sheriff’s Department, died Nov. 14 at USC Keck Hospital in Los Angeles, family and friends said.

Born in Beverly Hills on July 15, 1938, Conklin joined the Navy in 1957 and served two years as a sonar operator aboard the submarine USS Diodon. In 1964 he received a bachelor’s degree in political science from San Fernando Valley State College, now California State University Northridge, and joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1965.

Conklin worked in many divisions of the Sheriff’s Department as he moved up from deputy to sergeant to lieutenant and then captain. As a lieutenant he became watch commander at the West Hollywood Station where he mentored, in his words, “four of the best sergeants a guy could have — Jeff Springs, Jim Pierson, Steve Switzer and Dave Collin.”
Springs, who lives about a block away from the Conklin home in Valencia, says the relationship between the four men and their mentor survived to Conklin’s last days.

“We were still meeting regularly for lunches as retirees because we had this friendship that was based on mentorship — we became friends just because of the qualities he had,” Springs said in an interview Wednesday.

“In years of dealing with people inside and outside of the department, not everyone shines, but Jerry was just known for his affability and interest in the human condition.”

“I always thought of Jerry as a warrior poet,” former Assistant Sheriff Dick Foreman said in a message to the family, “a very bright and innovative man with a grand sense of humor.

“His influence will be felt on the department for years to come, and it would be better off today if the powers that be would emulate his sense of ethics and fair play,” Foreman wrote.

“When I think back on all of the people I remember from the department, Jerry stands out at the very top.” wrote Bill Dame, also a Sheriff’s Department colleague. “I wish I could put into words what a great leader and man he is.”
Conklin married twice: In 1965 to Patricia Harris, and in 1979 to Carol Jane Holm. He remained friends with his first wife throughout his 34-year marriage with his second “and reaped the benefits of an extended and loving family,” family members wrote.

He left the Sheriff’s Department in 1969 to pursue his dream of becoming “a steely-eyed G-man,” in his own words, joining the FBI. He was stationed in Oklahoma City but returned to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1970.

In 1994 Conklin retired as captain — the de facto police chief — of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department and he and wife, Jane, moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington, for more than five years.

But the couple returned to the Santa Clarita Valley in 2000 to be with friends and family, purchasing a home in Valencia and maintaining an active retirement.

Conklin is survived by his wife, Jane Conklin, daughter Tracey Conklin Baratta, son-in-law Anthony Baratta, son Ryan Conklin, stepdaughter Tracy Diaz, son-in-law Gary Diaz, stepson Douglas Holm, grandsons Hayden Baratta, Nathan Holm, Danny Diaz and Derek Diaz, and his first wife, Patty Heath, and her husband, John Heath.

A memorial service is scheduled at 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Real Life Church in Valencia. Family members ask that memorial donations be made to the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation.




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