Retired Tulare County Sheriff Bob Wiley passes away at 87 | Photos

By | August 21, 2023



death – Obituary News : Tulare County Sheriff, Mike Boudreaux, announced the sad news on Monday that retired Tulare County Sheriff, Bob Wiley, had passed away on Saturday at the age of 87. Wiley had served as the county’s sheriff from 1967 to 1991 and was highly respected within the community. In recognition of his dedicated service, the Bob Wiley Detention Facility, located north of Visalia, was named in his honor.

Sheriff Boudreaux expressed his condolences to Wiley’s wife, Sonja, and assured her that the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) would provide support during this difficult time. TCSO Honor Guards were assigned to stand by the sheriff’s side at the funeral home, paying tribute to Wiley’s remarkable career and contributions to law enforcement.

Before his illustrious career in law enforcement, Bob Wiley excelled in academics and sports. He attended Kingsburg High School, where he distinguished himself in football and track. Notably, he competed alongside Rafer Johnson, who went on to win the decathlon gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Wiley’s athletic prowess extended to his college years at Porterville College, where he played football and earned a place on the prestigious Little All-America team after a remarkable game against Reedley College, where he achieved a staggering 279 rushing yards.

However, Wiley’s talents were not limited to the sports field. During his time at Porterville College, he discovered his passion for rodeo, specifically calf roping, now known as tie-down roping. To support his family, Wiley worked as an extra help deputy while also participating in rodeo events. His dedication and skills led him to compete in renowned rodeos such as Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming and the Calgary Stampede in Canada. Wiley’s exceptional performance earned him five qualifications for the National Finals Rodeo, and he proudly became the reserve world champion in 1963.

In 1967, Bob Wiley was elected as Tulare County Sheriff, defeating long-time incumbent Sandy Robinson. Wiley served as the sheriff for an impressive 24 years, becoming a respected figure in law enforcement. After retiring in 1991, the newest jail facility, established in 1987, was named in his honor as a testament to his invaluable contributions to the community.

Wiley’s dedication to public service extended beyond Tulare County. He held the position of president in the California State Sheriffs’ Association, a role now occupied by Sheriff Boudreaux. Wiley’s achievements even caught the attention of Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist Red Smith, who penned a column about the sheriff’s dual roles in rodeo and law enforcement during the Woodlake Rodeo.


Under Wiley’s leadership, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office saw significant advancements. The department established an inmate farm, producing crops such as corn and onions, alongside raising swine and maintaining a livestock farm. Moreover, Wiley’s tenure witnessed the introduction of K-9 units, boasting up to 10 dogs, making TCSO one of the first departments to adopt this valuable asset.

Throughout his life, Wiley expressed immense pride in two units of the department: the narcotics units and the search and rescue operation. The search and rescue mission involved the dedicated efforts of trained local volunteers, including the Tulare County Sheriff’s Posse, which has been in operation since 1940.

Bob Wiley is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Sonja, and their three children, Andrea Hudson (Brad) of Riverside, Acia Bolen of Visalia, and Robert Wiley of Tulare. In this challenging time, the Wiley family has requested privacy, and Sheriff Boudreaux has assured them of the utmost respect and support.

The passing of Bob Wiley marks the end of an era for Tulare County. Sheriff Wiley’s legacy will forever be remembered and cherished, not only for his exceptional leadership and dedication to law enforcement, but also for his remarkable achievements in sports and rodeo. His impact on the community and his commitment to serving and protecting others will continue to inspire future generations of law enforcement officers..

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