Sheriff announces passing of former sheriff, Donald Bengtson

By The Leader Staff
Donald  Bengtson
Donald Bengtson

The Kings County Sheriff’s Office announced the passing of former Kings County Sheriff Donald Bengtson who passed away on June 13, 2022, at the age of 90. Sheriff Bengtson served as the Kings County Sheriff from 1979-1983.

Prior to his election as sheriff, Bengtson served in the United States Navy as a Seabee and spent time working in the Kingsburg and Berkeley Police Departments. Additionally, he worked as a Naval Intelligence Agent which today is known as NCIS.

He was stationed in 1965 at the newly opened Lemoore Naval Air Station.

Despite only serving four years as sheriff, he had several notable accomplishments. Sheriff Bengtson initiated the Field and Jail Training Officers Program. The FTO program still operates today and is one of the department’s most important programs.

He saw the community of Avenal become an incorporated city as a result of a special election held on September 11, 1979.  Sheriff Bengtson was the first sheriff to enter into an agreement for contract law enforcement with the Avenal officials.  The first contract was for the fiscal year 1980-81.  The contract cost was $210,810.00 for one sheriff’s sergeant and seven deputy sheriffs.

Kings County continued to provide law enforcement services to the City of Avenal until the Avenal Police Department was created in 2010.

Sheriff Bengtson also opened the new Kettleman City sheriff’s substation in 1981. The substation was manned by one sergeant and two deputies. This substation is staffed to this very day.

Sheriff Bengtson initiated the Ride-Along-Program on September 29, 1980.  He also transitioned the Records Division from being opened during business hours, to a 24-hour operation. Both of these accomplishments are still here today.

Thank you, Sheriff Bengtson, for your service to America and to Kings County. Please join KCSO as we lift his family and friends up in prayer.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, June 27, at South Valley Community Church, 1050 W Bush St, Lemoore, CA 93245.


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