Greg Rylaarsdam accepted the post of captain at the Vista Sheriff’s Station on June 6. Having been employed with San Diego County for the past 29 years, Rylaarsdam moved up to its rural law enforcement division taking on supervisory duties.
Rylaarsdam has a longstanding county career history, beginning with marshal’s office in 1989 for 12 years.
“In 2000, we merged with the sheriff’s department, and I became a deputy sheriff,” he said.
From there, Rylaarsdam worked his way up. His position as a sheriff’s captain in a contract city essentially means he is a de facto police chief, he explained.
“My job here is to run the law enforcement services bureau portion of the Vista command,” he said, adding that it is contracted with the city of Vista as well as Vista unincorporated. “And then the Fallbrook Substation is also under my purview,” he said.
According to Rylaarsdam, inventory staff includes 115 at the Vista Station and 37 at the Fallbrook Substation.
Rylaarsdam called his recent promotion an honor.
“Getting that call from Sheriff Bill Gore saying, ‘Hey, I’d love to make you my next captain,’ was such an exciting moment for me,” Rylaarsdam said.
He went on to say that while he has never lived in Vista, as his career has progressed to different cities, he naturally takes ownership of that community.
“The reality is when you spend 12 hours a day working in a community, you’re invested in that community,” he said. “And that’s important because it directly impacts your job and your life even outside of work.”
Before becoming captain, Rylaarsdam worked at the Vista station as administrative lieutenant from November 2017 through March 2018.
“I supervised our detective unit, Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving team, Gang Enforcement Team, as well as the administrative staff before transferring to supervise our Rural Law Enforcement Division out east,” he said. “I was glad to come back to someplace that I had been. I have a relationship with the city, and that relationship is important.”
Rylaarsdam said he wants to work with the city and make sure there is a collaborative effort. While the sheriff’s department is its own entity, Rylaarsdam said his overriding goal is to make sure that it functions as one with the city.
“It’s very important to me that there are no visible seams there,” he said. “It’s also important to my staff and me to make sure that the citizens of Vista are getting what the citizens of Vista need.”
Rylaarsdam said the work that law enforcement does with the community, and how the community works with law enforcement, is a two-way street. He noted that when the deputies contact people in the field, they may not always be seeing people on their best day.
Rylaarsdam wants to foster an environment where deputies are reminded of this.
“As a captain in this position, I want to make sure that the deputies and the staff at the station have everything that they need for themselves to help them when they’re in those interactions within the community. When we take care of our own, it certainly makes it easier for them to go out and do their job and help the community members as well,” he said.