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Sergeant Reaching Gangs In The Community

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Riverside

Sheriff Profile
Sergeant Keith Yoshimura


After fifteen years in law enforcement, Sergeant Keith Yoshimura, remains passionate about reaching gangs in the community.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Keith had been in the restaurant business for 17 years before becoming a sheriff. After taking an aptitude test at Mount San Jacinto Jr. College, he applied for the Riverside and Orange County Sheriff Department.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department hired him. He enjoyed the academy and finished 5th in his class, although he was next to the oldest student. In December 2000, Keith was promoted to detective.

One of Keith’s most memorable experiences was a double gang homicide. He and his partner had just gotten off duty when they heard a call regarding the homicide. Upon investigation, they learned that a father and son had been killed and the girlfriends’ throat had been cut. Although the lead investigator had already interviewed the girlfriend, Keith and his partner interviewed her again. This time she mentioned a key name. Upon following a hunch and further investigation from relationships developed in the field, Keith and his partner helped solve the case.

One of Yoshimura’s most unusual experiences was when a fellow officer who was a rather large older man, was wired as an undercover “john” in a sting operation with two prostitutes. The women were dancing for the undercover officer when Keith and the rest of the team busted in for the arrest. According to Sergeant Yoshimura, it was a hilarious moment for everyone to see the undercover officer in his underwear.

Sergeant Yoshimura says that although he has never experienced racism within the department, he has experienced rejection from the community.

Officer Yoshimura looks forward to being promoted to lieutenant. In the meantime, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with deputies and youth in the community. One of Sergeant Yoshimura’s most fulfilling goals is to help a gang member “jump out”. He says that the only other way a gang member can get out is to ‘get beat up’.

Keith has discovered that youth become gang members because they can be attached to others to receive the love they’re lacking. Being a gang member also glamorizes getting money through illegal means. Another reason youth become gang members is because of their culture.

Sergeant Yoshimura attempts to get youth out of gangs before they go to prison and become hard-core. He also tries to help them with getting employment.

According to Sergeant Yoshimura, there is no increase in gang activity, just different names. The most frequent crime is identity fraud, credit card fraud, and check fraud. Although technology makes these crimes possible, non-severe punishment is not discouraging to criminals.

Yoshimura contributes a lot of his success to his partner who not only taught him everything, but also became like family to him. He is also grateful for the support of his wife and children.

Sergeant Yoshimura, affectionately called “Yosh,” believes that if parents were able to show their children more love, it may help cause a decrease in new gang members. In the meantime, he continues to reach the gangs and make a difference in their lives.

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