Joseph H. Stephen Jr. may be the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station's new captain, but he is hardly new to the world of law enforcement.
Stephen comes from a family of officers, most notably his father, Joseph Stephen Sr., who retired in 1990 and served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for 30 years.
With 25 years of service under his own belt, Stephen has been a lieutenant with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station since 2005 and assumed command in January, succeeding Capt. Tom Martin.
Patch talked with Stephen about his new role:
Q: What was your initial reaction to being appointed captain?
A: I was ecstatic. I did a back flip. I feel very fortunate that I was chosen to lead this station.
Q: What prepared you for your new position?
A: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has some of the best training in the world. I also believe that college and getting my bachelor's degree right out of high school and eventually getting my master's degree in 2004 helped me understand the global dynamics of law enforcement.
Q: When did you first become interested in law enforcement?
A: Well, my dad was in law enforcement and growing up as a child, I always admired him. He was my hero. I studied criminal justice in college. I was thinking about different forms of law--maybe even an attorney at one point. When I got out of college and decided to get a job, I knew that being in law enforcement was the job for me.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Actually getting out into the community and meeting all the different people. Serving the public--I don't think there is a greater honor than serving your community.
Q: How do you intend to keep Calabasas safe?
A: Just continue to do what we're doing--proactive police work, continue the great traffic programs we already have established at the station. We'll continue to look at crime mapping and at stopping crime before it occurs.
Q: What do you see as challenges for this station?
A: Well, our hiring has gone to a slow crawl unfortunately due to the economy.
Q: Is there a message you would like to send to the residents of Calabasas?
A: A lot of the crime is property crime and a lot of it can be avoided by just doing simple things such as locking your doors and closing the garage at night. Just continue to be our eyes and ears in the community.
Q: What's next for Capt. Stephen?
A: I'm at the back end of my career. It will be 26 years this month, and it has been a wonderful experience.