“Their volunteerism in the community—they’re always doing something for others,” Tharp said. “I think it’s a good organization.”
Tharp estimated there are nearly 20 Latino deputies and corrections officers within the ranks of the sheriff’s office. He believes their visible presence only can help the fragile trust factor between Latinos and law enforcement going forward.
“I think it’s so very important for the Latino community that they see the officers coming into law enforcement when there are conversations going on about the undocumented, as well as other conversations,” he said. “I think it’s very important that the Latino community see their own family members have become law enforcement officers.”
Tharp is seeking to increase that bond with the Latino community.
After 28 years with the county, Sheriff James Telb retired at year’s end to spend more time with his family, including his six grandchildren.
“He certainly put a lot of things in motion (over that time). I’m not looking to make major changes, just tighten up a few things, maybe add a few things,” Tharp said. “We’ll continue on with a few things that he had either talked about or started, make them better and move on like that.”
Correspondent Kevin Milliken contributed to this report.