Chief Deputy Shelley Kennedy-Smith, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

Chief Deputy Shelley Kennedy-Smith, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

shelley_kennedy_smithRiverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff
appointed Captain Shelley Kennedy-
Smith to the rank of Chief Deputy
earlier this week, making her the first African-
American woman to join the department’s
executive ranks in its 121-year history. She will
start her new assignment in April as the Chief
Deputy overseeing the Central Field Operations
(Cabazon, Hemet, Southwest, and Lake Elsinore
Stations, Gang Task Force, and SERT) of the
Sheriff’s Department. Chief Deputy Kennedy-
Smith has over 28 years of law enforcement
experience, all with the Riverside County Sheriff’s
Chief Deputy Kennedy-Smith is now the
third African-American to serve in its executive
ranks in the Department’s history, following
in the footsteps of retired Chief Deputy Oliver
Thompson, appointed by then-Sheriff Cois Byrd
in 1986, and retired Chief Deputy Boris Robinson,
appointed by Sheriff Stan Sniff in 2009.
Chief Deputies in the Riverside County
Sheriff’s Department oversee various divisions
within that agency (patrol, courts, coroner,
administrative functions, and corrections). Their
primary responsibility is to oversee personnel
matters, personnel investigations and disciplines
up to and including terminations, tactical issues,
promotions and transfers, and arbitrations. Their
typical spans of control range from 300 personnel
to over a 1,000, depending on the assignment.
Chief Deputy Kennedy-Smith began her law
enforcement career in 1986 when she joined the
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Upon
completion of the Basic Academy, she was
assigned to the Riverside Jail and later the Lake
Elsinore Station, Sheriff’s Court Services and the
Southwest Detention Center. She was promoted
to the rank of Investigator in 1999 and was
assigned to the Lake Elsinore Station once again,
where she handled all types of investigations
and was designated as the station’s Elder Abuse
Detective. In 2000, Chief Deputy Kennedy- Smith
was promoted to Sergeant and returned to the
Southwest Detention Center. As a Sergeant, Chief
Deputy Kennedy-Smith was later transferred to
the Media Information Bureau and served as the
Department’s Public Information Officer (PIO)
from 2001 to 2004.
In 2004, Chief Deputy Kennedy-Smith was
promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and placed in
charge of the Sheriff’s Personnel Bureau, where
she saw oversaw recruiting and new hiring of
personnel. In 2008, Chief Deputy Kennedy-Smith
returned to the Lake Elsinore Station where
she served assignments as Patrol Lieutenant,
Administrative Lieutenant responsible for
the station’s budget, and as the contract city
Lieutenant for the cities of Lake Elsinore and
Wildomar. During this period, she was also
assigned oversight of the Detective Bureau, the
Special Teams Unit, and Lake Operations.
In 2010, Sheriff Sniff promoted Chief Deputy
Kennedy-Smith to the rank of Captain where she
was placed in charge of the Sheriff’s countywide
Court Services Division. In 2012, Chief Deputy
Kennedy-Smith was transferred to command the
Lake Elsinore Station, which provides service to
270 square miles of Riverside County, serving
and protecting more than 135,000 residents.
Chief Deputy Kennedy-Smith completed
a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern
Illinois University Carbondale in 2012. She lives
in Murrieta with her husband Melvin. They have
two adult sons and three grandchildren.

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