Capt. Ray Wood, new head of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet Station. Photo courtesy Capt. Ray Wood
Capt. Ray Wood, new head of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet Station.
Photo courtesy Capt. Ray Wood

Capt. Lyndon “Ray” Wood returned in December 2013 as the new head of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet Station, the station where he started his law enforcement career in 1990.

“In the short term, I want to assess our resources,” Wood said. “I want to better utilize the resources I have and continue to do everything I can to improve staffing.”

The Hemet Station jurisdiction has been modified, according to Wood. Its western boundary has shifted east, thus reducing its overall size. “Still, it’s a geographic challenge because of its size,” he said.

“I’d also like to identify certain areas that have issues and address those issues,” Wood added. “I prefer a long-term solution rather than a Band-Aid.”

Wood’s approach to policing is to emphasize neighborhoods. That means he encourages the community’s help with information about possible crimes. He is very supportive of Neighborhood Watch efforts and cooperation between sheriff’s deputies and the community.

“The community is a key piece of the puzzle … I know one thing, if I blow you off, we’ll lose community support,” Wood acknowledged. “We’re a service organization and have got to be to gain your backing.”

While a criminal arrest is a goal, Wood explained that simply focusing attention on possible suspects, so that they are aware of being watched, may resolve some problems.

The recent hiring of more sheriff’s deputies will benefit the Hemet Station, Wood said. For example, he now has three rather than two lieutenants, in preparation “of getting the staffing level where [it] should be.”

Wood has worked in varied assignments within the department, including corrections, patrol, the Special Investigations Bureau’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, Special Enforcement Bureau, SWAT team and the Sheriff’s Tribal Liaison Unit.

He has had assignments from the west county to Blythe.

In January 2007, Wood was promoted to lieutenant at the Jurupa Valley Sheriff’s Station. In October 2008, Wood was selected to establish and lead the new Sheriff’s Tribal Liaison Unit. In that assignment, Wood was responsible for Departmental relationships with the 12 Native American Nations within Riverside County.

Sixteen months ago, in September 2012, he was promoted to captain and his first assignment was the Court Services East Division. Most recently, Wood commanded the Sheriff’s Colorado River Station in Blythe.

Wood replaces Capt. Scot Collins, who has been appointed commander of the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Wood has a bachelor’s degree from California Baptist University and is a recent graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy. He and his wife, Raemie, reside in Hemet.