Sheriff Stan Sniff recently announced that Captain Leonard (Lennie) Hollingsworth will take over duties as commander of the station on April 17, replacing recently promoted Chief Deputy Shelley Kennedy-Smith.
"Captain Hollingsworth will begin transitioning to his new duties before that date, and will also serve as Police Chief for the cities of Wildomar and Lake Elsinore," Sheriff's Lt. Lisa McConnell said in a news release. "A veteran Sheriff’s Captain, he formerly oversaw the Countywide Gang Task Force (GTF) and served as commander of the Southwest Detention Center (SWDC)."
The captain brings with him more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, having worked with the Hemet Sheriff's Station and the Riverside Community College District prior to the Riverside Sheriff's Department.
“Captain Hollingsworth has worked in varied assignments within the Department including corrections, patrol, investigations, training, search and rescue, administration, and gangs," Sheriff Sniff said. "He has been successful at each and every one of them. The broad experience he has gained will serve him well in his new assignment.”
Here's more on Hollingsworth's background, as provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department:
In 1994, he began his full-time career with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and was assigned to the Robert Presley Detention Center and Riverside General Hospital. In 1996, he was transferred to the Banning Sheriff’s Station where he worked patrol, investigations, and became one of the Department’s search and rescue coordinators.
In 2001, he was promoted to Sergeant and served in several assignments at both the Southwest Detention Center and Lake Elsinore Station. During his tenure as a Sergeant, he volunteered for a collateral assignment to the Department’s Disaster Response Team, an early version of the current Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT), where he served until 2010.
In 2006, he was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to the Southwest Station where he managed patrol, investigations and special teams. In 2009, he was assigned to the Ben Clark Training Center as the Administrative Lieutenant, where he acted as a liaison between the Department and the many agencies and entities involved with the training center, oversaw multiple construction projects and building upgrades, and managed the Department’s firing range and armory.
In July, 2010, he was promoted to Captain by Sheriff Stan Sniff and became the commander of the Southwest Detention Center where he served until late 2011. During December, 2011, he was selected to lead the Riverside County Regional Gang Task Force (GTF), a multi-agency regionalized task force comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers focused on the suppression, prevention and intervention of criminal street gangs.
Captain Hollingsworth has lived in Riverside County his entire life, and currently resides in Murrieta with his wife Heidi. Together they have five children and four grandchildren. His oldest son is also a deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson said, “We are excited to welcome our new Chief. The City is committed to moving forward in a positive direction and Chief Hollingsworth’s talents and expertise will be a valuable addition to our team.”
Wildomar Mayor Marsha Swanson concurred, and indicated “Captain Hollingsworth is the right person for the job and a great fit for Wildomar.”