David W. Huerta, chief of the Fresno State Police Department since August 2004, passed away on Aug. 16 surrounded by his family and close friends, after 13 months of hospitalization at UCSF Medical Center. He was 68.
“Chief David Huerta was an exemplary leader of our campus police department,” said President Joseph I. Castro. “He had unwavering integrity, even under the most challenging circumstances. Most importantly, he was devoted to his wife, Cynthia, and his children. David will be deeply missed by all of us at the University.”
President Castro ordered the University’s flags to be posted at half-staff on the date of his service in memory of Chief Huerta and his service to Fresno State. Chief Huerta, a lifelong resident of Fresno County, devoted his life to community service through law enforcement.
Before joining the Fresno State Police Department, Chief Huerta retired at the rank of lieutenant after 30 years with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. He received many honors for his work with the Sheriff’s Department, including a distinguished service medal for his 22-plus years of SWAT work and Officer of the Year from the American Legion.
“Chief Huerta was a kind and noble leader whose integrity, strong values and law-enforcement experience transformed the Fresno State Police Department during his 15-year tenure,” said Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Debbie Adishian-Astone. “He made many important contributions to ensure the safety of our campus community, for which we will be forever grateful. David was a true gentleman who always cared about others before himself, and his legacy of law-enforcement leadership will never be forgotten. Our campus community has lost a dear friend and colleague.”
Chief Huerta was an alumnus of Fresno State, having earned his master’s degree in criminology in 1992. He later taught criminology courses at Fresno State and National University. He also taught careers in criminal-justice courses for Clovis Unified School District’s Regional Occupation Program.
Chief Huerta is survived by his wife, Cynthia Huerta, and four children — Breanne and son-in-law Steve, Austin and daughter-in-law Liz, Brandt, Carragan, and three grandchildren. He is also survived by his father, Pete Huerta, brother Michael, and sister Teresa.
Services will be held in the coming weeks.