Capt. Leonard Purvis has been tapped by Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff to replace Capt. Joe Borja as commander of the Hemet Sheriff’s Station who has announced his retirement next month. The announcement was made Thursday, Jan. 5, through a press release issued by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Media Information Bureau.
Purvis will officially take command of the station Feb. 16, but he will begin working with Borja this month to phase into his new assignment. Purvis currently oversees the Sheriff’s Professional Standards Bureau or internal affairs.
Purvis has over 27 years of full-time law enforcement experience, serving over the years with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Banning Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Purvis and his family are longtime residents of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley.
According to the press release, Purvis started his law enforcement career with the Monterey Park Police Department in 1986, initially as a police explorer and later as a reserve police officer in the community in which he grew up. He was hired as a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and graduated from their academy in 1989. The following year Purvis moved to Riverside County and transferred to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was initially assigned in 1990 to the Sheriff’s Court Services Division at the Banning Superior Court where he provided court security.
In 1994, he was transferred to patrol at the old Banning Sheriff’s Station. In January 1998, he was promoted to investigator and assigned to the Special Investigations Bureau. He worked primarily in the Intelligence/Vice/Gang and the Major Narcotics units.
In 1999, he was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station where over the next five years he supervised patrol, the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving Team and the station’s Detective Bureau. In June 2004, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department contracted with the city of San Jacinto to provide police services, and he was assigned to the initial transition team as the administrative sergeant where he oversaw patrol functions, the Detective Bureau, front office staff, logistics, crime prevention personnel and city police volunteers for the San Jacinto Police Department.
Purvis was appointed as deputy chief of police for the Banning Police Department in 2005, leaving the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was later appointed as chief of police in 2007, and oversaw 61 staff with an annual operating budget of $7.5 million. He remained in that position over the next six years for the 30,000 population, 23 square mile, San Gorgonio Pass community. With Spanish as his first language growing up in Monterey Park, Purvis focused on the importance of diversity and established police department relationships throughout the Pass area, including Youth Accountability Team, Project Safe Neighborhoods, outreach to at-risk youth programs, and Boys & Girls Club efforts.
Purvis returned to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in December 2013. He was initially assigned as a sergeant at the Sheriff’s Southwest Station and later within sheriff’s administration. In March 2015, he was promoted to sheriff’s lieutenant and assigned to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station where he oversaw administration and later patrol operations.
Sniff promoted Purvis to the rank of captain in 2015, and he was initially assigned as the commander of the Sheriff’s Professional Standards Bureau.
Purvis has a Bachelor of Science degree in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University. He is a 2006 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Executive Development Course. He holds the POST Executive Certificate. Purvis has served as an instructor on criminal justice topics in the local community colleges over the years.
The Hemet Sheriff’s Station provides service and protection to approximately 120,000 residents and covers over 700 square miles of Riverside County. The Hemet Sheriff’s Station provides police services to both the city of San Jacinto and Mt. San Jacinto College. Additionally, the Hemet Sheriff’s Station provides law enforcement service to 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, Soboba Hot Springs and Valle Vista.
The Hemet station commander oversees an annual budget of $22 million with an authorized staff of 132, including an authorized 107 sworn peace officers of all ranks, although the actual number of filled positions this fiscal year has been reduced by sharp county budget cuts caused by the current fiscal challenges faced by Riverside County.