Highland’s police department is under new leadership with the promotions of Capt. Casey Jiles and Lt. Matt Yost to the station’s top two positions following the transfer of Capt. John Billings to Hesperia in the last week of March.

When Billings, who served in Highland since the fall of 2018, was transferred Jiles was promoted from lieutenant to captain and Yost was transferred from corrections to fill Jiles’ previous position.

As captain of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Highland station, Jiles now serves as chief of police for the Highland Police Department, in the city he and his family have made their home since 2003.

For Jiles and Yost, it was the latest reunion of the two law enforcement officers who began their law enforcement careers together as middle school Police Explorers in Rancho Cucamonga and served together or were stationed together numerous times in the past 20-plus years.

Jiles and Yost are similar in their early desire to enter law enforcement, which their experience in the Explorer program helped cement.

“I always, since I was probably 8 or 9 years old, knew I wanted to be a cop,” Jiles said. “I always looked up to that, and when I was in junior high I saw a flyer for the Explorer program; I joined at a pretty young age and fell in love with it.”

Yost said the Explorer experience of “spending time with deputies in the patrol car, getting out in the public, helping people and making a difference” similarly confirmed his passion for the job.

“Everybody calls law enforcement in a time of need,” Yost added. “I feel blessed to be a part of the response.”

After being hired as deputies in 1996 and 1995 Jiles and Yost each served in a variety of capacities from patrol to their current positions. During that time they served together at the department’s training center, corrections and at headquarters ⎯ Jiles in the civil liabilities department and Yost in the employee resource division.

They have both also spent previous time serving in Highland.

In addition to their shared background, Jiles also spent time as a detective in the specialized investigations homicide detail and Yost in the criminal intelligence and SWAT bureau.

Jiles expects their combined experience to help them lead the Highland station to continually build on the service it offers the public.

“What’s unique about this station is that it’s extremely busy for the field deputies, and they really adapt to being busy while trying not to let the quality of service drop,” Jiles said. “That’s what my focus is on: giving them the resources they need to continue to do the job.”

Jiles feels fortunate to be leading the station with a lieutenant he knows well and who shares his philosophy for the job.

“Our philosophies are the same,” Jiles said. “It’s really about taking care of the troops out there so they can get the job done and be productive when they come in to work because that’s what we need and the citizens deserve.”

“It’s difficult to go out and focus on quality of life issues and proactive enforcement with a lot of calls for service pending so we’ve scuffled a little bit of our deployment to accommodate that,” Jiles added. “We’ve eased the burden of our detective bureau by adding a detective.”

Jiles also said the station is working to address the concerns of citizens about hot spots around the city, such as violent crime on the west side, street racing on the east side and traffic around recently reopened schools.

“We’ve managed to bring some deputies in on their days off and deputies from other stations to help go out and just contact the community with proactive enforcement,” Jiles said of some of the early efforts. “We want to get out there, show the star and be a proactive presence in the areas in town that seem to have a lot of repeat calls for service. We’re not necessarily targeting anyone just being present and seen.”

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