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By Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer 

Lt. Moreno to leave Fallbrook July 5


Last updated 6/30/2018 at 5:23pm

Julie Reeder photo

Lt. Mark Moreno is serving his final days as commandeer of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Fallbrook substation.

Lt. Mark Moreno, commander of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Fallbrook substation since July 21, 2017, will serve his final day in that capacity, July 5.

Moreno, 51, is headed to the San Diego Regional Public Safety Training Institute at Miramar College, where he'll help train law enforcement personnel from agencies throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.

"I'll be the director of the academy," Moreno, who has been with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for 27 years, said.

Moreno will be serving his second stint at the academy, a place where cadets are trained to become officers and where in-service officers receive ongoing training. He said he enjoyed his first assignment at the academy.

"As a sergeant, I had a great time just being a mentor out there," Moreno said. "I just like that training environment. It was just a good feeling all the way around."

Driving, weapons training, arrest and control and defensive tactics are among the things worked on at the academy. One of Moreno's jobs will be making sure in-service officers are aware of all new legislative do's and don'ts in regards to tactics.

"Any changes that take place in legislation, we provide all the training, so everybody is up-to-date," Moreno said.

Lt. Ricardo Lopez will replace Moreno as the commander of the Fallbrook substation beginning July 6.

"He's a very, very knowledgeable individual," Moreno said of Lopez. "We started (in the Sheriff's Department) at the same time. He's a very good guy. Very sharp and very well-versed in crime itself, in narcotics and in gangs. He's very well-versed in all the things.

"He has a different style than mine," the gregarious Moreno said, adding with a laugh, "He's probably more quiet, but he gets results."

Moreno said Lopez is familiar with Fallbrook.

"He's been here before but people couldn't tell because he worked a lot of undercover stuff," Moreno said. "He's familiar with the town and knows what goes on around here."

Moreno said he gave Lopez the latest scouting report on Fallbrook.

"It's property crimes and mostly thefts from vehicles," Moreno said of Fallbrook's main crime problem. "So it's about educating the community, telling them this is what's taking place and asking them to please secure your property, lock your doors and keep valuables out of your vehicles."

Fallbrook also has its share of assaults but few of the random variety, according to Moreno.

"Assaults, for the most part, usually take place between people that know each other," Moreno said. "Especially here. This is a small town."

Moreno added that Fallbrook is also a very safe town.

"Based on its size and demographics, it's one of the safest in San Diego County," Moreno, who resided in Fallbrook from 1999-2003, said. "I lived in Fallbrook for four years, and I loved it."

Moreno added that he has also "loved" his 11-plus months working as the commander of the Fallbrook substation.

"It was like coming back to the small town that I remember," Moreno said. "The quality of people that I've met and worked with...I think we all worked well together, and as best as we could, tried to make this place a better and safer community.

"I think things went really smooth," Moreno said of his tenure here. "There wasn't really a wrinkle that we as a community, as well as we in law enforcement, couldn't handle. Knocking on wood, during the time I've been here we haven't had hardly any – if any – gang issues or gang assaults. It's pretty good."

Lopez will be the Fallbrook substation's third new commander since Lt. David Gilmore departed Jan. 5, 2017, after a stay of more than two years. Gilmore, who moved to the Office of the Sheriff in San Diego for an assignment as a standards and compliance manager, was followed by Lt. Pat Gardner, who left Fallbrook after only six months after being promoted to captain. Moreno took over for Gardner, who was assigned to the court services bureau in downtown San Diego.

"It's just the movement within the department," Moreno said of the frequent changes.

"In the last six months, we have had more than 100 people retire. That's a lot of people. Our department is getting younger due to the number of people retiring. I know that's part of the case why there is so much movement."


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