Tulare County Sheriff's Office makes history with new captain

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Harold Liles is the first African American to be promoted to captain in the 170-year history of Tulare County.

His colleagues at the Tulare County Sheriff's Office say to know him is to befriend him.

"He is one of those people that truly has a kindness about him," said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.

In his 24 years at the department, he's worked in the gang unit, public relations, investigations, and patrol.

"It is a lot of pressure," said Liles. "I'm very humbled. I look at it as building bridges."

With all that he's accomplished, he's most proud of earning his community's trust. Hand-picked by the sheriff, he led the youth development unit which gives kids in underserved communities access to sports and opportunities they may not have gotten to experience.

"We take them on beach trips, we take them out to the Clippers game, we talk about different sporting events. Seeing their face is rewarding," said Liles.

After creating the youth sports program, the department has seen a significant decline in juvenile crime and higher school attendance.

"If we can reach the children, we'll reach the parents. And if we reach the parents, we've changed the community. And so with that, he grabbed ahold of that and he really lived it...he connects with children. He connects with families, he has this personality that attracts people. He is very approachable, and he makes people feel welcome," said Boudreaux.

Liles' father was the first Black sergeant in North Carolina's Anson County Sheriff's Department and inspired him to follow a path to protect and serve. But the job taught him struggle at a young age.

"My father was killed when I was seven-and-a-half years old. And growing up without a father and having that male figure there, it's a lot."

His mother and siblings also played a big role in teaching him the importance of giving back. Today, he serves as a father-figure to kids who may not have one, something he says is dear to his heart.

"Even if it's just to help teach you how to tie a tie...I want them to know 'if he can make it through it anyone can make it through it.'"
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