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Humble Named Officer Of Year
Detective Josh Humble has been named Officer of the Year for Riverbank Police Services.

"Though the choice was made by my peers, I feel it's a team effort," Humble commented. "Strong law enforcement and good investigation in the field make a detective's life easier."

Born and raised in Oakdale, Humble graduated from high school in 1995, worked for Oakdale Tire & Brake while serving as a reserve for the Marine Corps for six years and entered law enforcement work when he was 25.

He started with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department serving on patrol in South Modesto, was assigned to the Riverbank station from 2002 to 2005, spent 2005 to 2007 on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and came to Riverbank again in 2007.

The SWAT assignment was exciting, he said, but eventually came to seem too much like what he'd done in the Marine Corps.

"I'd had enough, I wanted to try another arena of law enforcement," he said. "But I learned a lot on the SWAT team. It made me more cautious and wiser in decision-making. It's like putting the military in an urban environment. Instead of hiding in foxholes, you do building searches, hostage rescues and officer down scenarios. A lot of it involves serving warrants where there's a strong chance of encountering violence."

Among the contract cities, Riverbank is one of the favorite assignments for a deputy. He felt very lucky to come here a second time.

"Becoming a detective became my goal," he said. "And because I was assigned here a second time I felt ownership and a responsibility to do my very best. As a detective, I felt I could fight crime at a whole new level."

While serving as a detective, he added, a deputy is very much behind the scenes. In plain clothes and unmarked cars, they're not so much in the public eye.

Humble is one of three detectives and works closely with Det. Richard Gonzales especially in dealing with gangs and narcotics while Det. Mark Copeland is their senior and "mentor" and handles homicides and the more serious crimes.

In handling gangs, "we must maintain a level of contact and a visible presence," said Humble. "It makes them fearful. They don't know if they're being watched."

As for drugs, "the more you become involved in fighting them, the more you become aware they are everywhere. We can only fight them through open communication with the public and other law enforcement agencies. Drugs are among the poor and the rich. There's no social class to them. They are everywhere."

Lack of funds halted police visits to elementary schools in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program years ago but Red Ribbon Week activities still continue.

In the battle against drugs and gang involvement in the schools, local deputies are very grateful to have the cooperation of a probation officer based at the high school because he has so much inside information on at-risk students and their history, Humble said.