Deputy Jeff Gempler recently reached his 1,000th arrest after nine years of working for the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.
Gempler, 44, reached the milestone after he arrested three people during a traffic stop in the county on charges of possession of prescription drugs and methamphetamine.
“Just another day on patrol,” he called it.
Gempler didn’t realize he had hit the milestone until he looked at statistics in the Sheriff’s Office computer system, where reports and arrests are filed.
A couple other deputies are catching up to his number, but have not worked for the department quite as long, he said.
The Sheriff’s Office switched from a paper to digital filing system around the time he started, so many people who have worked at the department longer can’t track their arrests as easily.
“It’s just being proactive,” Gempler said of the accomplishment.
During any given shift, the Sheriff’s Office has about three deputies on patrol for the county of 55,000 people.
“It’s a lot of area to cover,” he said.
Gempler said when he and the other deputies are not handling calls, they are patrolling neighborhoods and businesses throughout the county.
“I think maybe the public perception of cops is obviously the doughnut-eating,” he said. “We’ve got a good band of guys on patrol. We have a lot of guys that are proactive.”
The Santa Cruz native joined the force in 2003, after putting himself through the academy the year before.
He plans to stay in Tuolumne County for the remainder of his career.
Gempler did not always know he wanted to work in law enforcement, but after having his car stolen, he knew how he would approach the job.
“Being a victim is no fun,” he said. “It was in Stockton, so they’re pretty overwhelmed and a stolen car for them is really not much but … the feeling I got was they didn’t really care. I always wanted, if I did this job, to make sure I didn’t leave people with that impression.”
Gempler said helping citizens get their stolen property back is one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
He said Tuolumne County residents can increase their chances of getting their stolen property back if they make note of serial numbers before they become victims.
The Sheriff’s Office runs serial numbers on items that appear to be stolen and can match them with those in burglary reports.
“The 1,000 thing is cool and all, but it’s also getting that kind of stuff out there,” he said.
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