Lt. Dustin Ferguson has assumed command of the Williams Office of the California Highway Patrol.
Ferguson, 49, has been with the state agency for 27 years. He replaces Lt. Brian Goldhammer, who was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol last October.
Ferguson, a Tehama County native, is the second in his family to work for the California Highway Patrol, although such service skipped a generation.
“My grandfather started the tradition after World War II,” Ferguson. “I just felt the CHP was a good fit so I picked up the tradition in 1992.”
Ferguson graduated from Red Bluff Union High School, where his father was teacher, in 1988. He graduated from the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, and has worked at several CHP locations, including the Willows and Redding field Offices, and served for a time protecting the State Capitol. He has served as commander at two other offices, including West Los Angeles.
Ferguson and his wife, who is also from Tehama County, have three adult children. He, like most CHP officers that are frequently transferred up and down the state, said he was happy to be back in Northern California closer to home, and hopes to stay at the Williams post for the duration of his service.
The lieutenant has had a busy first few weeks.
His first day was Feb.14, the day an atmospheric river dumped more than five inches of rain in the valley and forced a portion of Intestate 5 to close between Williams and Maxwell for nearly six hours.
The following evening, Philip Martinsen, an officer under his command, was stabbed while trying to conduct a field sobriety test on a woman the officer had stopped on Interstate 5 for driving 100 mph, allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Ferguson said. “It was a great welcome to Colusa County.”
While the two events underline the dangers and hazards of working for the CHP, which often dissuade qualified people from choosing law enforcement as a career, they are not the norm, he said.
The California Highway Patrol is the largest state police agency in the United States, with more than 10,700 employees, 7,500 of whom are sworn officers responsible for investigating and enforcing traffic Laws on public roadways, and whose primary role of overseeing the movement of people and goods have not changed since the CHP was established in 1929.
“The fundamentals haven’t changed,” Ferguson said. “It’s to get people safely from place to place.”
Ferguson said he is getting to know his staff at the Williams office as a great group of dedicated individuals, which include both sworn officers and civilian workers. ■