Capt. Tim Peters, Sgt. Randy Sulstrom and Sgt. Joe Raya will all be retiring in March from the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. Together they have served almost 100 years in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“It was just the right time. I will be reaching the magic age of 60 in the month of March,” Peters said.
Peters has been at the Crescenta Valley station for four years.
“Capt. Peters has done a lot of good things here,” Raya said. “I have had a great time working with him. He cares about [those working at the station].”
Raya transferred from the Special Weapons and Tactic unit to Crescenta Valley. He admitted that the pace was considerably slower at his new assignment.
“When I came here it was a blessing in disguise; things worked out perfectly,” Raya said.
Raya and Sulstrom were classmates at the Sheriff’s Academy in the same platoon and worked the patrol unit together. They both work with the Sheriff’s Explorers, a program that allows high school students to work with sheriff’s deputies to learn law enforcement from the inside.
Sulstrom has been at the Crescenta Valley station for close to 12 years and works closely with the sheriff volunteers and the reserves. “That was my main job at the station. It required me to do a lot of things regarding community relations,” Sulstrom said.
He worked closely with the city of La Cañada Flintridge and coordinated the school resource officers.
All three said they would miss the people at the station and in the area.
“I am leaving a fine group of people and will miss the community,” Peters said.
Throughout the years all three said they had seen some significant and subtle changes in the department as a whole and within Crescenta Valley.
“In our area I think there is a better awareness of the effects of drug use in our community,” Peters said. “And a greater awareness of property crimes.”
“I think the biggest change at the CV station is a tremendous amount of new people here,” Sulstrom said.
The station has hired several deputies over the years, he added. “And we have a better relationship with the local chambers [of commerce].”
Raya agreed with Peters and Sulstrom regarding the changes in the area and added that there had also been changes throughout the department over the years he has served.
“Rodney King changed everything,” Raya said.
He explained that after the Rodney King arrest and ensuing riots in April 1992, policies were changed and operations were more scrutinized. “Supervisors are held more accountable now. I think the policies have changed the department for the better.”
Peters said that there has been another change in the department since he started over 36 years ago: the amount of responsibility the department now shoulders.
“We have expanded into many more areas. We do security services and the Metro Link. We are also involved in the security within the community colleges and have deputies on [public] school campuses,” Peters said.
After so many years in the department it may be difficult for the three to retire but they all have made plans, with help frpm their wives.
Peters plans on fly fishing and spending more time volunteering at his church. Raya is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.
“[My wife] has been waiting for this,” Sulstrom said. He and his wife have made several plans, including trips, but have yet to decide what exactly they’ll do.
Retiring, however, is not always easy for those who work in law enforcement.
“You may take off the uniform but it is always in your blood,” Raya said.