Assistant Sheriff Robert Gunzel
Assistant Sheriff Gunzel started his law enforcement career in 1986 with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Like many Sheriff’s Department’s, his first assignment following his academy graduation was working in the County Jail. After his assignment in the Jail, A/S Gunzel transferred to patrol where he was assigned to North Operations. As a Deputy in Patrol, Gunzel worked as a Field Training Officer, worked in the North Special Enforcement Team, on Bike Patrol, the Sheriff’s contract city of Villa Park and the Transit Police Team.
In his 12-plus years as a patrol Deputy, A/S Gunzel was certified as a Drug Recognition Expert, advanced traffic investigation and was awarded the Mothers Against Drunk Driving award and the Tustin Deputy of the Year award.
Gunzel promoted to the rank of Sergeant and again was assigned to the jail. This short stint assignment concluded and again he was transferred to North Patrol as a supervisor. At the time of his transfer, Gunzel was offered the opportunity to supervise the Sheriff’s Canine Team – which was an ancillary assignment to patrol. As the K9 supervisor, Gunzel learned many aspects of K9 service contracts and became proficient in police liability cases and in thorough documentation in K9 use of force incidents.
Gunzel was a patrol / K9 Sergeant for approximately 4-years then took on a new assignment. Although he remained the K9 Sergeant, his new assignment became the North Patrol Administrative Sergeant. In addition to various administrative duties, this assignment also handled all the Special Events that occur in North Orange County; he now had all the administrative duties, canine and special events - including the annual Orange County Fair.
After several years as a sergeant, Gunzel was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. His first assignment was back to corrections as a Watch Commander, then as the Transportation Lieutenant. After 8-months, he ended up back in North Patrol and now as a Bureau Commander; his duties included patrol, special events, investigations and canines – all of which he had experience in as a deputy or sergeant. As the North Lieutenant, Gunzel was the Chief of Police Services for the contract city of Villa Park and the “unofficial” Chief for the Community Service Districts (CSD) of Rossmoor and Emerald Bay. He was also selected as the homeless liaison lieutenant for the department. As a Bureau Commander, Gunzel had the opportunity to act as an incident commander on numerous occasions, including several fires and subsequent debris flow events and the contentious Donald Trump Political Rally at the OC Fairgrounds, which became newsworthy throughout the Country. Arguably, North Operations is the busiest position for any lieutenant in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Following a successful 30-year career with Orange County, A/S Gunzel accepted a position as the Chief of Police for the Riverside Community College District where he served for over 2-years prior to accepting his current position with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
On January 7, 2019, Sheriff Chad Bianco appointed him to the position of Assistant Sheriff.