Sheriff Bill Wittman will be holding a public ceremony to promote Sergeants Gary Hunt and Mark Gist to the rank of Lieutenant on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM. The ceremony will be held at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Headquarters’ Lobby. Friends and family will also be present to show their support.
Lieutenant Gary Hunt, age 47 of Visalia, is a graduate of the College of Sequoias with an Associate of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice and also a graduate of Fresno State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology. He began his career with the Sheriff’s Office as a trainee in December of 1989 stationed at Sequoia Field now referred to as the Bob Wiley Detention Facility. In 1990 he was sponsored through the Tulare-Kings County Police Academy. Upon completion, he promoted to the rank of Deputy and was re-assigned to the Bob Wiley Detention Facility.
From 1993 to 1996, Gary Hunt worked as a Police Officer for the Dinuba Police Department. Gary returned to the Sheriff’s Office in January of 1996 and worked at the Porterville Patrol Substation. In November of 1997 he became a Detective for the STEP Team. Gary also worked for the South County Property Crimes Investigations Unit in 1999 and in 2002 he transferred to the Violent Crimes Unit.
Gary Hunt was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in February of 2002 and was stationed at the Pixley Substation. The following year he returned to the Violent Crimes Unit as their supervisor. Gary remained the Sergeant of the Violent Crimes Unit for the past three years and now is being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
Gary Hunt has had specialty training in Special Weapons and Tactics as well as homicide and death investigations. He has worked a number of cases and continues to share his knowledge and training with staff to help mold our future investigators and sergeants. He was also an instructor for numerous courses for our department in subjects like baton, weaponless defense and report writing as well as being an instructor for the College of Sequoias and Porterville City College.
Lieutenant Gary Hunt is supported in his new career by his wife of 22 years, Linna, his three daughters Cassandra, Samantha and Dayna, his grandson James, father John Hunt, mother Dolores Wright and step-father George Wright.
Lieutenant Mark Gist, age 44 of Visalia started his law enforcement career in 1991 as a Reserve Officer with the Visalia Police Department for five years. In addition to patrol, he worked undercover for a short period of time to shut down a multi-pound marijuana distributor. He then came to the Sheriff’s Office in December of 1996 as a Deputy stationed at Headquarters’ Patrol. In October of 1998 he transferred to the Investigations Division and was assigned to the Sheriff’s Tactical Enforcement Personnel (STEP) with the collateral duties of being a SWAT team member. In 2001, Mark transferred to the Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Unit under the department’s narcotic division, with the collateral duties of Asset Forfeiture and SWAT.
Mark Gist was then promoted to the rank of Sergeant in February of 2005. Upon his promotion he was assigned to the Bob Wiley Detention Facility, and late in 2006 he transferred to the Adult Pre-Trial Facility as the Administrative Sergeant. In July of 2007, he transferred to Headquarters’ Patrol and later that year he transferred back into the Narcotics Unit to supervise the daily activities of CLEU, NTF and INET. In September of 2010, he transferred to the North County - Gang Violence Suppression Unit then in July, 2012 he was transferred from Gangs to the North County Investigations & Domestic Violence Unit.
Lieutenant Mark Gist has a variety of specialized training. He was one of the department’s snipers and the first dedicated department Sniper Supervisor. Besides SWAT, he attended relevant courses such as SWAT Commander and Team Leader as well as Advanced SWAT. He also helped develop & instruct POST certified curriculum for dynamic high-risk SWAT entries - which was taught to allied agencies within Tulare County. His narcotic training was also extensive with regard to identifying and dismantling methamphetamine labs, conducting surveillance, undercover operations, large scale marijuana operations and asset forfeiture at State and Federal levels, as well as courtroom testimony. He also was a team leader and assisted in the operational plans for large scale details like the nationally acknowledged Operation LOCCUST, and a Drug Enforcement Administration six month undercover methamphetamine detail for the narcotics division, dubbed Operation “Lazyboy”. His training in asset forfeiture is still called upon to this date and he assisted the department in meeting compliance by teaching the NIMS/SEMS Emergency Management Systems required by the State of California. He also participated in the final success of the department’s permanent civil gang injunction upon Northern & Southern gang members within the communities of Cutler and Orosi. Lastly, he was a previous instructor for the Correctional Academy and a Recruit Training Officer for the Tulare-Kings Basic Police Academy.
Lieutenant Mark Gist is supported in his career by his spouse of 22 years, Shelly, his two daughters Kaycie and Melanie, his son Logan, his three grand children, his parents Sandra and Terry Gist-Langiano, and his father-in-law, James Waymire and mother-in-law, Karon Waymire.
Sheriff Bill Wittman offers his sincere congratulations to Lieutenants Gary Hunt and Mark Gist, and wishes them well in their new assignments. The public is welcome to join the department, friends and family in the Sheriff’s Headquarters’ Lobby Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM to celebrate the promotions.
Photos of both Lieutenants are posted on the Sheriff's Flickr page at: