Working undercover has been one of the highlights of Richard LaRochelle Jr.’s 15-year career at Anaheim PD.
“It gave me the opportunity to play a role that was out of the norm for a police officer,” said LaRochelle, 37, who was recently promoted to sergeant.“I was able to get close to criminals and really learn why they commit crimes, how they commit crimes and how they think.”
In his new position, LaRochelle will be taking on a much more visible role as a patrol supervisor.
“The biggest challenge will probably be getting used to the idea that I’m now responsible for the development of others, and not just myself,” LaRochelle said. “As a supervisor, I play a huge role in developing the officers I supervise so they may get the opportunities to work varied assignments, move up in rank and grow professionally, like I have.
“As a leader in this organization, I have a huge responsibility to the organization and the community I serve to develop, coach and mentor the officers to keep our profession moving forward in a positive direction.”
Before he was promoted, LaRochelle spent almost two years on the homicide unit, which, since the start of 2009, has solved all 10 killings in the city. During this period, Anaheim PD detectives also have solved four older killings.
“Teamwork and talented people working for Anaheim PD is what made the Homicide Detail successful,” said LaRochelle, who plans to continue that winning record in his new assignment.
Like all seasoned police officers, LaRochelle has seen the worst — and the best — of people.
“Fighting crime is sometimes very ugly, and I have seen and dealt with many people when they were at their very worst, and I have seen a lot of horrific scenes of violence and destruction,” said LaRochelle Jr., who is vice president of the Anaheim Police Association.
The good days, however, make it all worth it.
“The best part of the job is it’s always changing, and there usually aren’t any two days that are alike,” LaRochelle Jr. says. “Police work is very exciting and rewarding; there’s always something new to learn and experience.
“I also like the fact I have an opportunity every day to positively impact people’s lives, whether it’s being a positive role model for young children or comforting a victim during his or her time of need.”