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Sheriff's substation welcomes a new commander

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

There's a new lieutenant at the Fallbrook Substation of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Meet Lt. Claudia Delgado, who is the first female in charge of local law enforcement in decades.

There have been at least 11 lieutenants as commanders over the last 12 years and none a woman.

A 17-year veteran of the department, Delgado's first day in command was March 24. She was promoted to lieutenant over a year ago. Traditionally, the local commander is reassigned to Fallbrook and usually stays for a year or two.

As a visitor to Fallbrook/Bonsall only a couple of times, she admitted she has a lot to learn. She feels being fluent in Spanish is an advantage.

"The crime rate in the area is not too high compared to the rest of the county," she said. "There is a strong group of deputies and professional staff at the station. The deputies understand the value of being present in the community."

"I'm excited about being here," Delgado added. "I've heard nothing but good things about this close-knit community."

During her 17 years in the department, some of her assignments include juvenile detective, internal affairs, the courthouse, patrol in Imperial Beach, and the women's jail in Santee.

One of her favorite assignments was being a patrol sergeant in Lakeside. That community had some of the same feel as Fallbrook and was a great opportunity to mentor.

Every new position has been an opportunity to grow.

Delgado's path to law enforcement was unusual.

In high school, she was a straight-A student and aspired to become a doctor. Later, becoming a teacher was considered, and she earned a liberal arts degree before taking a job at the Polinsky Children's Center, an emergency residential care facility operated by the county.

"It was a job I loved," Delgado said. "Some of the juveniles were victims, but there were others who were in trouble."

As an educational experience, she decided to go on a ride-along in a San Diego Police vehicle.

"I loved it," she recalled during the interview in her Fallbrook office. "I knew right then it's what I wanted to do."

She went to the Sheriff's Academy and was hired as a deputy when she was 26. She's worked for the county for 22 years with the two departments.

None in her family has any background in law enforcement. She is the oldest of five sisters and her parents are still local.

It's a career she loves, but deputies can have bad days, too. "It can be difficult, going from a fatal vehicle accident to being in the middle of a domestic dispute," she said.

She believes in wellness for the entire department and in finding the proper home/work balance.

"I have a strong family support system which has allowed me opportunities for career advancement," she said. "I also rely on my faith as part of overall wellness."

The previous commander, Capt. Aldo Hernandez, was promoted from lieutenant and was reassigned to human resources headquarters in San Diego.

Delgado has a family and finding the proper home/work balance is essential.


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