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Victoria County Sheriff's Office command captain retires

By Bianca Montes
July 31, 2013 at 2:31 a.m.

Capt. Herb Tucker, who has served in both the Victoria Police Department and the Victoria County Sheriff's Office for 40 years, is preparing to retire. With most of his personal items already stripped off the walls of his office, the name plate outside his office is all that remains between him and retirement. He will continue to teach at the Victoria College Police Academy.

PROFILE

• Name: Herb Tucker

• Age: 62

• Hometown: Van Nuys, Ca.

• Family: Married with one daughter and a grandson

• Education: Associate degree in political science (Los Angeles Valley College) and a Bachelor of Arts in social behavioral science (California State University Northridge)

When Herb Tucker took a job with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, he had all the deputies shaking in their cowboy boots, including the sheriff.

At the time, the sheriff was new to the job and looking to change the people's perception of his office.

"There was somewhat of a culture here that was less than desirable, and it lacked leadership," said Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor. "People like Herb were very instrumental in turning the sheriff's office around to be a full service agency.

"He's part of the foundation of making a difference here at the sheriff's office."

Tucker came to the office with a strong background as an officer with the Victoria Police Department and an even stronger military background with the Marine Corps that played a heavy hand with restructuring the sheriff's office.

"He was a stickler about the uniform and made sure the deputies shined those boots every day," the sheriff said. "Heck, even I started shining my boots because I didn't want him to say something to me."

After 44 years of service in various capacities with the city of Victoria, Capt. Herb Tucker has decided to hang his hat up and retire.

"I haven't officially accepted his resignation," O'Connor said. "I put it in my drawer. It's still there.

"He's not the type to retire. He's redirecting."

Tucker said he is tired and that the weight of the job has finally got to him.

"It not only chips away at you mentally because of all the hate and devastation you see, but it also chips away at you physically," he said. "When I was younger, it never really bothered me, but it's starting to bother me now. All of these things are starting to add up and it's time to go."

After retirement

Sleep in - it's the one thing that Tucker said he wants to do on his first day of retirement.

Although he officially retires Friday, Tucker took a few days of vacation to begin his slumbers early.

He said he slept in Tuesday, and it was glorious, "Other than that, I don't have any plans."

Tucker said he's lived a very structured life, and retirement is what he needs to do.

"It's kind of hard to say goodbye," he said. "But at the same token, I know it's best."

Missing Tucker

When Tucker walked out of the sheriff's office for the last time as the command captain, he did it "with his head held high because he'd had an excellent career," Lt. Jeff Meyer said.

Meyer has known Tucker for more than 35 years and said he will miss the knowledge that his captain brought to the job.

Tucker teaches the U.S. Constitution and penal code at the Victory College Police Academy.

"The knowledge that he brings to this office is going to be very missed," Meyer said. "I hate to see him leave."

Investigator Angela Martinez said Tucker is the go-to guy at the sheriff's office for search warrants.

"If we don't know something, the first thing we say is, 'Let's go ask Tucker about it,'" she said. "His retirement is going to be a great loss for our law enforcement community."

Tucker began his career in 1973 with the Victoria Police Department, and after 30 years of service and a life-threatening battle with cancer, he retired in 2003 and took a job with the district attorney's office as the chief criminal investigator from 2003 to 2007. He then moved to the sheriff's office.

"He's the type of person that will mentor you," said Sgt. Valarie McGuill. "If you do something wrong, he'll explain how to do it right and mold you to be a better person."

McGuill considers herself to be one of the newbies at the office despite her 14 years on the job. She took Tucker's retirement to heart.

"I cried," she said. "I was happy for him, but I was really sad."

McGuill said Tucker played a vital role in making her a good boss by always supporting her decisions.

"He doesn't make you undo your steps," she said. "Even if they weren't the ones he would have taken."

Abell Arriazola, community services captain, said Tucker is the type of man who doesn't sugarcoat anything.

"I'll miss that the most," Arriazola said. "You had no question of where he stood on issues. He made it very clear and often gave supportive background facts and evidence to support his statements. That propelled us to move forward in our daily operations here in the sheriff's office for the good of the office and its employees."

Arriazola will serve as the interim command captain until a replacement is announced, said O'Connor.

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