Kern County officers remembered one of their own–former Sheriff Louis Alvin Loustalot, or more affectionately known as Al.
At age 92, he passed away from a brief illness while surrounded by family. Dozens of community members attended his memorial at Valley Baptist Church.
“We had been very fortunate to have leadership from outstanding people, and none greater than Sheriff Al Loustalot,” said current Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Loustalot started as a deputy before becoming the first person who worked his way through the ranks to be elected sheriff. He served two four-year terms until he retired in 1983.
“He was the first sheriff to be born and raised in the department,” said former Sheriff Carl Sparks. “He understood the department, he knew what made it tick. He knew what the people wanted and what they needed.”
The several sheriffs in attendance said Loustalot led by example, inspiring them to become sheriffs themselves.
Sparks recalled, “he said, ‘I think this young man’s got a shot at being sheriff,’ and he put me in a position that got me to be sheriff.”
“Carl Sparks and I both watched him be a professional and learned such a great deal on how to act as sheriff,” Youngblood said. “Sometimes you can use humor and accomplish the same thing, and he did that extremely well.”
The nephew of former Sheriff John E. Loustalot, serving the community ran in Al’s blood. Born and bred in Bakersfield, he raised his family here. He instilled in his children the lessons he learned in office, later helping his oldest daughter Vicki Meagher run for school board.
“The biggest lesson (I learned) is to be honest and honorable,” Meagher said. “Just be who you are, and be friendly with people.”
Loustalot lived a long life and left an unforgettable legacy.