HEMET: New commander brings wealth of experience to Hemet Sheriff’s Station

HEMET – The Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet Station, located in the unincorporated community of Valle Vista, recently welcomed long-time Hemet-San Jacinto Valley resident Captain Leonard Purvis as their new station commander.

Captain Leonard Purvis was recently welcomed to the Hemet Sheriff’s Station as their new commander.

With more than 27 years of law enforcement service – covering numerous assignments and responsibilities – Purvis brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new assignment.

Purvis officially took command of the Hemet Station February 16, replacing Captain Joe Borja after he retired from the department.

The Hemet Sheriff’s Station provides law enforcement services to about 120,000 residents covering over 700 square miles within Riverside County. The station has an annual operating budget of $22 million and an authorized full-time staff of 132 sheriff’s employees, 107 of whom are sworn peace officers.

Areas covered by the station include the unincorporated communities of Aguanga, Anza, Cahuilla, East Hemet, Garner Valley, Gilman Hot Springs, Green Acres, Idyllwild, Lake Riverside, Mountain Center, Pine Cove, Pine Meadows, Ramona, Sage, Santa Rosa, Soboba Hot Springs, and Valle Vista. Additionally, the station provides contracted law enforcement services to the City of San Jacinto and Mount San Jacinto College.

Purvis began his lengthy law enforcement career with the Monterey Park Police Department as a young police explorer in 1986. He later served with the department as a reserve police officer.

Three years later, in 1989, Purvis was hired as a deputy sheriff by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Purvis moved to Riverside County the following year, at which time the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department hired him as a lateral transfer. His first assignment as a newly hired Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was with the Sheriff’s Court Services Division. His first assigned duty station was at the Banning Superior Court.

After working in Court Services, Purvis was transferred to his first patrol assignment within Riverside County at the Banning Sheriff’s Station, where he worked for four years.

In January 1998, Purvis was promoted to the rank of investigator and assigned to the department’s Special Investigations Bureau. While assigned to SIB, Purvis worked primarily with the Intelligence/Vice/Gang and Major Narcotics Units.

Purvis was promoted to sergeant in 1999, and he was assigned to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station. During the next five years he supervised patrol operations, the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving Team (COPPS), and the station’s investigation’s bureau.

When the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department contracted with the City of San Jacinto to provide for their city’s police services in 2004, Purvis was assigned as the Administrative Sergeant on the initial transition team. While stationed in San Jacinto, Purvis oversaw patrol operations, the investigations bureau, the station’s front office staff, logistics, crime prevention, and the city’s cadre of citizen volunteers.

The following year, in 2005, Purvis temporarily left the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to serve as Deputy Chief of Police for the Banning Police Department. Just two years later, Purvis was appointed as Banning PD’s Chief of Police.

With a staff of just 60 and an annual operating budget of $7.5 million, Purvis spent the next six years overseeing the city’s police services, which covered the 23 square mile city in the San Gorgonio Pass, with a population of over 30,000 citizens.

While serving as Banning PD’s Chief of Police, Purvis focused on the city’s diversity while building relations between the police officers under his command and the citizens they served.

During his time at Banning PD, Purvis focused much of his community building efforts by promoting and enhancing the department’s involvement with the city’s Youth Accountability Team, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and outreach programs for at-risk youth.

In December 2013, Purvis returned to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as a sergeant. He was initially assigned to the department’s Southwest Station, which provides contracted law enforcement services to the City of Temecula and the De Luz Community Services District, as well as the unincorporated communities of French Valley, Murrieta Hot Springs, and Pechanga.

He was later transferred as a sergeant to the Sheriff’s Professional Standards Bureau (Internal Affairs).

In March 2015, Purvis was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and assigned back to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station where he first oversaw administration and later patrol operations.

That same year, Purvis was promoted again, to the rank of captain. As a newly promoted captain, he was assigned as commander back to the Sheriff’s Professional Standards Bureau.

During his law enforcement career, Purvis continued to further his education, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University.

Purvis graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2006. He also attended the State of California’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Executive Development Course and holds the POST Executive Certificate.

Additionally, Purvis has taught at local community colleges as a criminal justice instructor.

Now, with his new assignment as the Hemet Sheriff’s Station commander, Purvis will undoubtedly bring a level of leadership and professionalism that any community would be proud to have from their law enforcement leaders as well as rank and file officers.


Contact the writer: [email protected]

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Trevor Montgomery spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.