Robert B. Presley, the longtime Riverside politician and law enforcement official whose name is on one of the county’s jails and a criminal justice department at UC Riverside, has died at the age of 93, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The newspaper says Presley died Saturday after a brief illness.

An Oklahoma native, Presley won a Bronze Star in World Way II before settling in Riverside County, where he served as a homicide investigator, undersheriff and later as a state Senator.

In 1974, he defeated incumbent Craig Biddle to win a seat in Sacramento representing the 34th Senate District, which included parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Because of redistricting, he would later represent the 36th District.

Retired Sheriff Byrd told the newspaper that Presley ran and won as a Democrat in a very Republican area.

“He was a moderate Democrat; fairly conservative, actually,” Byrd said. “But in that era, Democrats and Republicans were still talking to each other on big issues.”

His legacy includes work on California’s vehicle smog-check program, organization of the California Air Quality Management system, and a statewide push to build new prisons.

After leaving the state Legislature, Presley was chairman of the California Youthful Offender Parole Board from 1995 to 1999, and served as secretary of the California Youth and Adult Correctional Agency from 1999 to 2003.

The Robert B. Presley Detention Center, one of five Riverside County jails, is named after Presley, as is The Robert Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies at UC Riverside, which was established in 1994.

A service in Riverside is being planned.

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