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UPDATE: New captain named for Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station

Posted: March 3, 2014 11:11 a.m.
Updated: March 3, 2014 7:03 p.m.

A veteran Sheriff’s Department official with experience in community-based policing has been named the new captain of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, it was announced Monday.

Capt. Roosevelt Johnson takes over for Capt. Paul Becker, who was appointed to head up the SCV Sheriff’s Station in March 2010 and who retired last week.

Becker took the reins from former station Cmdr. Anthony LaBerge, who is now a chief in the department and was instrumental in sending Johnson to head up the SCV station.

“I’ve known Roosevelt since Altadena (Sheriff’s Station) was in our division,” LaBerge said in a phone interview with The Signal Monday. “You guys are really going to like him. Roosevelt is going to be right in line with what you want.”

Santa Clarita contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to police the Santa Clarita Valley. When a new captain is appointed to head up a contract city’s station, the Sheriff’s Department identifies a list of candidates for consideration by both the county and the contract city, said Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

“After receiving feedback from each entity, the sheriff makes the final decision,” Bell said.

Antonovich recommended Johnson for the top cop spot in the Santa Clarita Valley, Bell said. He was also one of LaBerge’s picks for the job.

“I let the Sheriff (Lee Baca, now retired) know Capt. Becker was retiring. At which point he asks, ‘Who do you have in mind as a candidate?’” LaBerge said. “I submitted a few names which were then whittled down to four candidates.”

The station captain serves as the de facto chief of police for Santa Clarita.

Johnson was operations lieutenant at the Altadena Sheriff’s Department for more than two years. In May 2012 he left that post to serve as aide to Chief Neal Tyler at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters in Monterey Park.

After Tyler retired, Johnson became aide to LaBerge, who heads up the county’s North Patrol Division, a spokeswoman in office confirmed Monday. The division includes Santa Clarita, Lancaster, Palmdale, Malibu/Lost Hills, Westlake Village and West Hollywood. Until last year it included Altadena.

“(Johnson) is a really nice guy,” said Carolyn Seitz, a volunteer at the Altadena Sheriff’s Station who worked with Johnson.

“One of the things he (Johnson) did very well at Altadena is promote the importance of community-based policing,” Seitz said. “He knows the value of that partnership with the community and also demands the best from deputies.”

Becker was also a champion of community-based policing. He initiated a program whereby the Santa Clarita Valley was divided into zones with a deputy heading up each zone, communicating with residents and monitoring for patterns in crime that could be quickly acted upon.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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