Captain Ray Gregory just became the police chief of Coachella, La Quinta and several other east Coachella Valley cities who contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The 20 year veteran is the first openly gay man to ever serve the sheriff’s department in this capacity.
“Being gay doesn’t have anything to do with the job but it does say a lot about the sheriff’s department and that the community that it’s not a barrier as it used to be,” said Gregory.
Gregory recently served as captain of the Indio and Blythe jails.
The Sheriff’s Department markets itself as a diverse workplace. But some people may not believe it. Gregory said his career should prove them wrong.
“The Sheriff and the sheriff’s administration and the community have done that, have given people like me the hammer to be able to break through those barriers regardless of other factors that really don’t have a lot to do with the job,” said Gregory.
Gregory says there is likely other gays and lesbians serving in the sheriff’s department, just not openly. He hopes to inspire them to come out of the closet. Members of the community reached out to Gregory to congratulate him on his promotion. And recently his alma mater, Cal State San Bernardino, invited him to campus to share his experiences. He said he’s found people are a lot more understanding than he thought.
“I didn’t give people enough credit because the vast majority of people it’s a non-issue. They actually seem like they respect you more when your honest and just really be who you are,” said Gregory.