July 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Anthony Vega Sworn In as Colton’s 32nd Chief of Police, Committed to Elevating Standards and Safety

4 min read
A chief of police getting pinned

Photos by Manny Sandoval: Colton Police Department Chief of Police Anthony Vega getting pinned by his grandmother on June 25, 2024.

On a momentous Tuesday morning, Anthony Vega was sworn in as the City of Colton’s 32nd Chief of Police at the city’s chambers in its government center. The ceremony was attended by over 300 people, including Vega’s family, colleagues from his previous department (Rialto Police), and representatives from neighboring agencies.

Vega, who was pinned by his grandmother during the ceremony, was greeted with enthusiasm and support from the crowd, indicating his strong community ties. Notable attendees included Rialto City Councilman Joe Baca, members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and the Colton City Council, including Mayor Frank Navarro, Councilman John Echevarria, and Dr. G.

City Manager Bill Smith highlighted Vega’s fit for the role, stating, “My philosophy over the years is that we hire for fit here at Colton Police Department, not necessarily just for the skill set. And certainly, Anthony Vega has both.”

In his speech, Chief Vega expressed his gratitude and commitment to the community. “With all of you here today, you are showing not only myself but the Colton Police Department the support that we have as an agency. That’s important because we cannot do this job by ourselves; it takes partnership,” said Vega. He credited his success to divine guidance, family support, and the intercession of prayer warriors.

A chief of police standing alongside councilmembers
Chief Vega standing alongside City of Colton and Rialto councilmembers, including Colton Mayor Frank Navarro and Councilmember John Echevarria and Rialto City Councilman Joe Baca, Sr.

Vega emotionally thanked his wife Anabelle and his children for their unwavering support and withstanding the sacrifices he has had to make over the years while serving the community. “You’ve been part of this journey since the beginning. 31 years ago, you married a dock worker pursuing a dream and a calling into the field of law enforcement. You’ve always seen the potential in me, even when I didn’t see it in myself,” he said.

Vega’s commitment to the community was a recurring theme in his address. He expressed a strong desire to elevate the standards within the police department and make Colton a safer city. “The call to serve in law enforcement is a noble call. Not only is it tough to get into, it’s hard to sustain over the years. Thanks go to all of you in this room who chose to serve. I am standing here today proud that I am one of the few who has been able to sustain this over the years.”

Reflecting on the challenges faced by law enforcement, Vega acknowledged the scrutiny the profession often encounters but reassured that there are more supporters than detractors. “Colton’s community is composed of good, hard-working residents and business owners who want what we all want — to thrive in our professional endeavors and to have a safe place to live and work. Already I am overwhelmingly impressed with the Colton pride our staff brings to work every day.”

Vega also paid homage to Colton’s rich law enforcement history, mentioning Virgil Earp, the city’s first Marshal, and his legacy. “As the city manager mentioned, law enforcement leadership has deep roots here in the city of Colton where Virgil Earp was the city’s first Marshal. I’m honored to follow in his legacy,” said Vega.

In front of 300+ people and some trailing out the doors of an overpacked city hall, Chief Anthony Vega taking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution and community.

Vega’s career spans several decades and includes extensive experience in various aspects of law enforcement. He began his career in 1993 as a volunteer with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and was later hired as a full-time deputy sheriff in 1997. He has also served in the United States Navy Reserves and held positions at the California State University, San Bernardino Police Department. Vega holds a master’s degree in public administration from National University, a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, and an associate of arts degree. He is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy, Session 285.

Throughout his career, Vega has specialized in managing large-scale criminal investigations, public protests, and demonstrations. His previous assignments include public affairs, media relations, SWAT, narcotics, highway interdiction, clandestine laboratory investigations, internal affairs, jail operations, and oversight of a regional communication center.

As Vega embarks on his new role, he remains focused on building a diverse law enforcement workforce and engaging with the community to ensure the safety and well-being of Colton’s residents. His leadership marks a new chapter for the Colton Police Department, one grounded in tradition and committed to progress.


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