TULE RIVER RESERVATION — Joe Campos admitted he didn’t want to try on the Tule River Tribal Police Chief uniform at first.
“I was very reluctant to put it on,” Campos said. But that all changed when Campos put the uniform on. “It doesn’t look that bad,” Campos said.
Campos, who has been on the job for three months, was officially sworn in as the Tule River Tribal Police Chief by Judge Joseph Wiseman during a ceremony on Friday at the Tule River Justice Center.
Campos, a 1978 Strathmore High graduate, brings 32 years of experience from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department where he rose to the rank of lieutenant to his new position as police chief.
Campos’ swearing in was the first ever held for a police chief at the reservation, which has had a police department since 2006.
“I’m very glad to be wearing it,” said Campos about his police chief’s uniform. “I feel honored and ver pround to be starting as your chief of police.”
Campos said Tule River has come a long way since the days he came there as a deputy and then as a detective with the sheriff’s office.
“What a difference,” said Campos about the reservation now as compared to when came there with the sheriff’s office. “What a real improvement.”
“You should all be proud of this,” added Campos about the improvements made at the reservation. ‘I’m proud of it.”
But Campos acknowledged there’s still work to be done including ending the cycle of such problems as child abuse, drug dealing and substance abuse on the reservation.
“I promise you with all of my strength and help from the Creator, I will do my best to put an end to these issues.”
He asked two things from the Tule River community. First to hold “evildoers and wrongdoers” accountable.
Campos said those who help law enforcement are not a snitch. “I know the difference between a snitch and a kind human being who tries to make a better place for all of us.”
The second thing Campos asked of the Tule River community concerning his officers is to “continue to love them as family” and to respect them.
“They will be kind,” Campos added about his officers. “They will be diligent in their effort to promote the community.”
He also talked about the understanding he has of his job by mentioning the song by George Strait, “Weight of the Badge,” and how the song talks about how the badge doesn’t weigh much “until you put it on.”
After graduating from Strathmore High, Campos attended College of the Sequoias and earned a bachelor’s in criminology with a minor in psychology at Fresno State. He went onto drive hay trucks before entering law enforcement.