Three-time officer of the year honored among his peers

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson announced that three-time Madera County Officer of the Year recipient Deputy Sheriff Richard Gonzales was honored among his peers during Madera County’s annual Law Enforcement Appreciation banquet held at the Elk’s Lodge in Madera.

“It’s unprecedented,” Anderson said during the awards ceremony. “Deputy Gonzales joined our department in 2007 and in that time he has twice been voted our department’s stand-out.”

Anderson told the audience that, prior to joining the sheriff’s office, Gonzales served five and-a-half years as a corrections officer for the Madera County Department of Corrections. When Madera County created a Gang Enforcement Team (MADGET), Gonzales was assigned to the unit.

“It was during that juncture in his career that the Madera County Department of Corrections tapped him Officer of the Year,” Anderson said.

With a family history in law enforcement — both his father and grandfather were peace officers — Gonzales said he knew he would one day work for the sheriff’s office. He said the day he was sworn-in, he had fulfilled his life-long dream. “I always wanted to be a cop,” he said.

No sooner had Gonzales made that transition from corrections officer to peace officer than he was singled out as top cop and voted Deputy of the Year.

He won that title just three years into his career as a deputy sheriff.

Three years later he won the title again; and to explain why he is so deserving of the title, Anderson read to the audience comments submitted by his own peers:

“He’s level headed,” said one, “even keeled,” said another.

Other comments pointed out his “great work ethic.”

The last comment said it best, “Deputy Gonzales is an example to our new deputies, and the kind of deputy they should want to emulate.”

“Deputy Sheriff Richard Gonzales is the kind of individual we should all want to emulate,” Anderson said.