Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and Capt. Ray Wood regard the rural Hill communities as important within the large territory they manage.

By large, I mean it is the fourth most populous county in the state and geographically the size of New Jersey. Sniff told me his entire force is 10 times the size of the Riverside Police Department’s.

At least twice a year, Sniff comes to Idyllwild to visit with our news staff.More than twice a year, Wood pays a visit to our news staff. They update us on issues affecting community safety on the Hill, communicating these to the public through interviews we hold with them and report back to you.

Sniff is particularly excited about new deputies coming on board since the summer of 2012.

Last Thursday, Jack and I met Wood at the Hemet station and we rode with him to and from the Basic Peace Officer Training Academy graduation.

All of Sniff’s executive staff attended, as well as new District Attorney Mark Hestrin, a first in the history of the academy, according to Sniff.

Wood told me that we were the only newspaper he invited. He and the sheriff were excited to have us there. A story of the event is on page 14.

Having a son in the Navy, Jack and I appreciated the training these new deputies underwent. Just the rigorous physical training they endured and discipline these grads displayed impressed us.

Academy Commander Capt. Robert Peebles said this academy is the hardest in the state. And even afterward, the deputies aren’t put on patrol for another four or five years.

With such bad press for  police officers across the nation, I want to throw some kudos toward these men and women who serve us.

Becky Clark,