A retired chief deputy has chronicled the long and rich history of the Sheriff’s Department with the help of more than 200 photographs in his newest book, “Images of America: San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.”
Gary Hoving’s latest addition to the “Images of America” series spans the161-year history of the Sheriff’s Department and will be released Monday through Arcadia Publishing.
Images used in the book were taken mostly from the longtime Nipomo resident’s private collection, which includes everything from sepia-toned photos of the county’s first jail — Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa — to fliers for wanted criminals in the early 1900s. Other images show the county’s most recent sheriffs and those who aimed to hold the position.
The book is separated into five chapters that include “The Birth of a County,” “The Century Turns,” War and Postwar Law Enforcement,” Progressing into the Modern Era,” and “A Promising Future.”
Many of the images found in Hoving’s latest book have never before been published and were acquired by the retired sheriff’s deputy during the last 25 years, he said.
Hoving uses the plethora of photos and historical documents to chronicle the evolution of the Sheriff’s Department through its early days during the Wild West era to the technological breakthroughs of the early 1900s.
Readers continue on the journey with stories and photos that date back to the Prohibition era and are then taken into a time of tremendous population growth during World War II.
The saga continues with images from the psychedelic 1960s and the anti-nuclear age of the 1970s and early ’80s, when Hoving was assigned to an arrest team outside Diablo Canyon Power Plant in Avila Beach.
Changes in law-enforcement techniques and the growth of department personnel were seen through the 1980s and up to the modern-day organization of the Sheriff’s Department, which also are documented in the book.
The book’s final chapter, “A Promising Future,” and by far the shortest at only four-pages, features photos of Sheriff Ian Parkinson, who was elected to office in 2010, and campaign signs from the election. The last page is a reproduction of an advertisement that sheriff’s candidate Jerry Lenthall produced during his bid for the job.
“It is my hope that the readers will come away with an appreciation for the efforts of our professional forefathers who have contributed to the current system of criminal justice,” Hoving said.
Hoving discovered the extent of his passion for history in 1986 when he chaired a committee to produce a yearbook-style publication for the members of the Sheriff's Department. The interest has persisted and driven him to collect artifacts, images and research local history, which has culminated in the publication of several books.
He has authored other books including, “Crime Scene Investigations” in 1988, “Journey of Justice” for the county’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2000, “Images of America: Arroyo Grande” in 2010 and this year’s most current release.
Hoving retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2008. He is currently researching for a new nonfiction book he’s planning to pen.
Meet the author
The public is invited to several meet-the-author events where “Images of America: San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department” will be available for purchase and signing by Gary Hoving.
2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 9, Farm Supply, 1108 Paso Robles St., Paso Robles
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 10, Village Antique Mart, 126 E. Branch St., Arroyo Grande
6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, History Center of San Luis Obispo County, 696 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo
Copies of the book also can be purchased at local retailers and online at www.arcadiapublishing.com. Cost is $21.99, plus tax.