Purvis to replace Borja as Hemet Station commander

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Two captains, Joe Borja, current commander of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Hemet Station (left) and Leonard Purvis, incoming commander, are seen here at the Gastrognome after a visit with Town Crier staff. Purvis takes over from Borja on Thursday, Feb. 16. Borja is retiring to the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Photo by Marshall Smith

Capt. Leonard Purvis will replace Capt. Joe Borja on Thursday, Feb. 16, as the new commander of the Riverside County Sheriff Department’s Hemet Station. Borja is retiring and for the last month has been working with Purvis on the transition. Purvis and Borja visited the Town Crier on Monday, Feb. 6.

Purvis, with more than 27 years in full-time law enforcement, has served since 2015 as commander of the sheriff’s Professional Standards Bureau (Internal Affairs). In that capacity, he said he was charged with conducting investigations into misconduct of higher-level personnel or staff.

Purvis’ professional background is broadly diverse. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University. He is a 2006 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and also of the California Peace Officer Standards and Training Development Course.

Purvis grew up in Monterey Park with Spanish as his first language. He began his police career in Monterey Park with the Monterey Park Police Department, first as a police explorer then as a reserve police officer in the town in which he grew up.

His law enforcement career has included service with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the RCSD, and as chief of the Banning Police Department.

As chief in Banning, Purvis focused on the importance of broadening diversity within the force and established relationships throughout his jurisdiction with multiple groups, including the Youth Accountability Team, Project Safe Neighborhoods, outreach to at-risk youth and the area Boys and Girls clubs.

With RCSD, he worked as investigator with the Special Investigations Bureau, in Intelligence/Vice/Gang and the major narcotics units. While with the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station, he supervised patrol, Community Oriented Policing, the Problem Solving Team and the station’s detective bureau.

Speaking of his new assignment, Purvis said, “I’m excited to be serving the communities and area in which I’ve lived, including Hemet and San Jacinto.” Purvis and wife Liz live in San Jacinto. They have a 21-year-old daughter attending Redlands University. Purvis noted that serving his hometown, as he will be doing, is very much as he began his career — serving his hometown.

Borja has served as Hemet Station commander since Feb. 4, 2016, and is retiring to Arizona, where both his grown sons live. Borja joined RCSD 29 years ago. He grew up in Indiana and joined the Marine Corps directly after high school. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s in management from Redlands University.

Hemet Station provides service and protection to 120,000 residents in an over 700-square-mile area of Riverside County, including Hill communities, Soboba, Soboba Hot Springs, East Hemet, Gilman Hot Springs, Green Acres and Valle Vista. It also provides police services to both the city of San Jacinto and to Mt. San Jacinto College.

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