Now-former lieutenant looks forward to hitting the road.
One of Santa Clarita’s finest is hanging up his badge today; Lt. Larry Gump will leave the sheriff’s department after 31 years of service.
Now that he no longer has to listen to radio calls or write reports, he’s looking forward to doing a lot of hiking, traveling and maybe even going back to school.
“I really have a strong identity with the area,” Gump said while trying to finish paperwork in a borrowed office. “The deputies are familiar with the streets, but not all of them are hikers. We have 680 square miles of patrol area, so growing up here and being familiar with the terrain gave me a sense of propriety.”
A member of Hart High School’s Class of 1972, Gump always had a desire to do something that would make a difference and followed that path, taking criminal justice and political science courses at College of the Canyons.
His involvement with the Explorer program at the station inspired him to apply for the sheriff’s academy.
After graduation, he found himself in a very different neighborhood from sleepy Santa Clarita when he was assigned to patrol at Lynwood Station. He quickly promoted to sergeant, moving to the West Hollywood Station, and joining the SWAT team before promoting to lieutenant. In his new position of authority, he helped open the North County Correctional Facility at Pitchess Detention Facility in Castaic, then worked with the transit division on the Blue Line. In 1994, he transferred to the Santa Clarita station, where he settled in for the long haul.
His easygoing style and cooperative nature has earned him several fans, many of whom stopped in to the office Wednesday afternoon to touch base for the last time. He and three other watch commanders earned a “Most Cooperative With the Press” Newsmaker award in 2001, an honor he shares with Steve Dolan, Dan Castillo and Carl Deeley.
Gump admits he’s met his share of “stupid crooks,” the thought of them making him laugh.
“The best thing about this job is the excitement,” he said. “You never know what the day is going to bring. Sometimes it’s funny, or sad or tragic or really weird.”
He likened his police job to that of a journalist, drawing a parallel between the highs and lows of the daily grind, adding that both make a contribution to society at the end of each day.
Gump is looking forward to hitting the road now that he’s not tied down to a desk. A pre-Olympic trip to China is in the works, and he’s ready to hit the road and spend five to six months criss-crossing America on a daily adventure trek.
“I don’t plan ahead,” he said. “When the road forks, I’ll have to make a decision. It’s my odyssey, to let the road lead me where it will.”