The Anaheim Police Department is looking for a few good men and women.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved the police department’s $126 million budget, which includes funding for 10 new police officers and two dispatchers.
The challenge: finding people who meet the department’s high standards.
Capt. Mark Cyprien said the department recently filled an auditorium with 1,600 candidates. Only three qualified for a job offer.
“We never want to lower our standards,” Police Chief Raul Quezada said Friday during his monthly Police Chief’s Advisory Board meeting.
One place the department wants to find more police officers: the community.
“We want to hire more people who grew up here,” said Deputy Chief Julian Harvey. “That’s part of what’s behind our effort with Jr. Cadets and Explorers. We want to guide them regarding what those life decisions are that will prevent them from being hired.”
Quezada said his agency is partnering with the fire department to create a “Public Safety Career Pipeline” that will partner with Anaheim schools to provide technical instruction in policing, firefighting, forensics and more.
“In some neighborhoods, students do not have access to after school help with homework or computers,” Quezada said. “We intend to partner with the Anaheim City School District to provide personal homework assistance and computers through a Mobile Homework Workshop program.”
Investment in youth and overall community engagement are among the department’s priorities, he said.
Its Gang Reduction Intervention Program has grown to serve more than 2,600 from about 900 five years ago; its Jr. Cadet program graduated a record 414 students last month – up from 60 students a decade ago. Quezada announced the formation of a Jr. Explorer program that will target junior high school students.
“Investment in our youth, that’s where it begins,” he said. “Once the kid crosses the line, it’s a lot harder to get them back. But if we catch them before… we’ll have a much brighter future.”
The police department will add two officers to its Community Policing Team, an officer to the traffic team and plans to expand the number of officers in schools and neighborhoods to deter gang membership.
Last year the police department responded to more than 185,000 calls for service. Despite the number of calls and reduced staff, overall crime is down. So are complaints from the community, which dropped to 28 from 49 five years ago. The number of cases solved, or “cleared,” are up.
“The police department looks forward to continuing our efforts to form a stronger relationship with the community we serve; and to focus our efforts on the citywide strategic goals for engaged neighborhoods; a safe and secure city; a thriving economic climate; and responsive, efficient and well-managed city government,” Quezada said.
One is an Anaheim High School junior, and the other is a sophomore in college.
They’ve donated hundreds of hours to the community, earned awards inside and outside the classroom and have distinguished themselves among the Anaheim Police Department’s 100 Explorers.
On Thursday, Explorer Sgt. Matthew Bevins and Explorer Cpl. Pillar Hernandez added “Gold Award winners” to their lists of accomplishments. Law enforcement leaders from around Orange County honored the pair – and top Explorers from other police agencies – at a dinner at the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy in Tustin.
The Explorer program allows young men and women, ages 14 to 21, to learn skills and character traits required to be a police officer. Many become police officers.
This year’s group includes 15 graduating high school seniors; each plans to attend college next year.
“Explorer Sgt. Bevins and Explorer Cpl. Hernandez are invaluable assets to Anaheim Police Explorer Post 249 and deserve this recognition. They are outstanding representatives of the dozens of young men and women who volunteer and support the Anaheim Police Department,” said Officer Jacob Gallacher, who oversees the program with Officer Leslie Vargas. As teen-agers, both were Explorers.
In nominating Hernandez for the award, Vargas wrote, “She is a positive role in her community and she is determined to reach her goal to become a police officer.”
A sophomore at Westwood College who carries a 3.5 GPA, Hernandez volunteered nearly 300 hours during her two years in the program.
In one competition, Hernandez led a team that cooked homeless people meals and gave them clothing.
“She is a hard worker and is well respected in the post,” Vargas wrote.
At Katella High School, she was a JROTC squad leader, participated in student government and was captain of the soccer team.
She also mentors children of domestic violence and junior high girls .
“Explorer Hernandez not only volunteers her time in the Explorer Post, but finds time to continue to help her community while taking six college courses,” Vargas wrote. She also carries a part-time job as a hostess at Bubba Gumps’ restaurant.
Bevins is also a strong student, carrying a 3.5 GPA, and earning membership into the National Honor Society.
In 2013 he volunteered 235 community service hours, and led APD’s competition team to three awards at the Los Angeles Sheriff Competition in April.
He mentors elementary school-age children who participate in the police department’s Jr. Cadet program and recently received two presidential volunteer service awards from President Obama.
“Explorer Bevins excels as an Anaheim Police Explorer,” Vargas wrote. “He is dependable and a hard worker.”
More than 1,900 proud parents, siblings, family members and friends crowded into the Anaheim Convention Center Friday night to pay tribute to the largest graduating class of Junior Cadets in the history of this unique Anaheim Police Department program.
For the past 10 years, the Anaheim Police Department has sponsored a Junior Cadet instruction series in conjunction with its Cops 4 Kids program. There were only 60 students in that program first program 10 years ago. On Friday, the program saw its biggest class ever with 414 kids graduating.
“It starts with you today,” Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada told the young graduates, then addressed the audience. “These kids are our future.”
The Anaheim Police Department Cops 4 Kids Junior Cadet Program is the only program of its kind in the state. This program is the result of a partnership with schools in the Anaheim City, Magnolia, and Centralia Schools Districts. This year, the Anaheim Fire and Rescue also partnered for the first time.
Children from age 9-12 can join the Junior Cadets voluntarily or be referred to the program by teachers and administrators, who believe the youth would benefit from the “Respect Given, Respect Earned” program motto.
“After I joined, I started fixing my behavior,” he said. “It taught me integrity. I’ve been a more determined person in life.”
Brian likes the physical activities of the junior cadets, especially the Drill Off.
“I got first place,” he said.
In addition to the Junior Cadets, Brian is active in the Boy Scouts and is an altar server at St. Boniface Catholic Church. Brian just graduated from Sycamore Middle School and will attend Anaheim High School and be part of the Anaheim Police Department Explorer program.
This year the program expanded from 14 weeks to 24 and it takes place at seven campuses in Anaheim, where each Junior Cadet gives up 90 minutes of their after-school time once a week.
A key component to the success of the program is the parent and teacher communication, said Officer Jake Gallacher, who administers the program along with Officer Leslie Vargas.
Within three to four weeks, we see a positive change in the students, Gallacher said
“It’s probably one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had,” Officer Gallacher said. “You’re a mentor to them. They look up to you.”
This year the cadets participated in community service projects for the first time, taking on 13 different projects. In total, they contributed 3,001 volunteer hours by cleaning riverbeds and beaches, picking up 100 pounds of trash at Huntington State Beach.
In a program called, “A Flag for Every Hero,” the cadets also spent a day at Riverside National Cemetery, placing flags on the headstones of those who served in the military.
Attending the program were several dignitaries including Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and council members Lucille Kring and Gail Eastman.
Officer Amador Ununez, a founder of the Junior Cadet program, told the cadets that as someone who grew up in and still lives in Anaheim, he was especially proud of what they have accomplished.
“When I retire, I can honestly say that I’m leaving something great for my community.”
K9 Bruno isn’t the only star at the Anaheim Police Department.
The recently retired K9 officer – who made international news after being shot while searching for an armed gang member – was just one of several police officers and volunteers honored for their service Thursday night at the APD’s 2014 Awards Ceremony and Retirement Dinner.
More than 500 people cheered and gave Bruno, who was wearing the medal around his neck, and his handler, R.J. Young, a standing ovation when they took the stage at The Grove.
“I appreciate (you) from the bottom of my heart,” a choked-up Young told his police colleagues.
Bruno was among six officers to receive the prestigious Distinguished Service awards, which also went to:
• Officer Eric Anderson, Officer Ted Petropulos and Detective Matthew Bradley, for saving the life of a female victim during a domestic disturbance call. The victim was found bound and gagged in an apartment filled with firearms; the male suspect was arrested.
• Officer Dave Herman, for his role in the arrest of suspects believed to be responsible for more than 20 “take-over” robberies in Orange County.
• Investigator Kelly Phillips, for his efforts in an incident involving a stolen vehicle and subsequent foot pursuit where gunfire was exchanged.
Chief Raul Quezada thanked police volunteers, community supporters, civilian employees and “our field personnel who risk their lives every day and every night to protect our community.”
The award winners include:
• Lifesaving Awards: Officer Jason Smith, for assisting a man down on a sidewalk with lifesaving efforts; and Officer Robert Benavidez, for preventing an intoxicated man wandering the streets from committing suicide.
• Retiring Officer Mike Brannigan, Sgt. Mike Bustamante, Forensic Supervisor Jim Conley and Correctional Officer Sandra Valladolid were honored for their service.
Brannigan presented Quezada with a sign to hang in the police department that reads, “Be careful out there.”
• The Joseph T. Molloy Career Achievement Award was bestowed on Officer David Heinzel
• Explorer Sgt. Arumi Hernandez, Harold A. Bastrup Police Explorer of the Year
• Meeka Gil-Casas, Community Member Recognition, East District of Anaheim.
• Pastor Nathan Zug, Community Member Recognition, West District.
• Lynda Santos, Community Member Recognition, Central District.
• Mary Lepman, Community Member Recognition, South District.
• Mari Tafoya, Community Member Recognition, Psychiatric Emergency Response Team.
• Marie Avena, Community Member Recognition, Coast to Coast Foundation
• Sensei Fred Mason, Community Member Recognition, Cops 4 Kids karate program
• Anna Ward and Shawn Funkhouser, Community Member Recognition, for assisting officers responding to a bank robbery in east Anaheim
The Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized Officer Steve Salicos as their V.F.W. Police Officer of the Year.
Officer David Watson received the Trauma Intervention Program of Orange County’s “2013 Heroes With A Heart Award.”
Division Employees of the Year:
Operations: Officer of the Year Jonathan McClintock; Employee of the Year Rachel Lozano; Investigator of the Year Officer John Roman
Special Operations: Traffic Control Supervisor Maria Vega Velez was named Employee of the Year, Investigator Ed Arevalo was named Investigator of the Year
Investigations: Victim Advocate Elia Renteria, Employee of the Year
Operations Support: Robert Conklin, Jr., Officer of the Year; Correctional Supervisor Ed Bennett, Employee of the Year
Support Services: Employees of the Year: Communications Supervisor Steven Querry and Records Specialist Max Silavong
Chief’s Division: Chaplain’s Corps, Professional Staff of the Year (Lead Chaplain Nigel Morris, Chaplains Bryan Crow, Kerry Duerr, Tim Fryer, Jimmy Gaston and David Lazo)
Reserve Officer of the Year: Steve Sheflin
Meritorious Service Awards: Sgt. Jerry Blair, Sgt, Craig Friesen, Det. Bruce Linn, Senior Property & Evidence Technician Nicole Rapp, Officers Jesse Romero and Cesar Vasquez.
Unit of the Year: the Criminal Intelligence Unit, led by Sgt. Jimmy Rodriguez, Investigators Omar Adham, Ted Lopez, Jason Santy, Robert Warren, PJ Wann, Chuck Schroth, and prior to his promotion Sgt. James Griswold.
Volunteers honored were:
* (up to 500 hours of service): Kathleen Barr, Carolyn Bessire, William Farid, Jan Kentopian, Julie Kline, Alan Marcus, Maxine Marcus, MaryAnn Mecke, Laurie Meredith, Al Morgan, Jr., David Simkin, Donald Smith, Robin Smith, Tina Sorenson, Robert Witter
* (between 500 and 1,000 hours): Perfecto Alferos, Gerry Bordelon, Georgian Browne, Marge Herman, Pam Holsinger, Lou Jordan, Janice Mazza, Gene Nelson
* (between 1,000 and 1,500 hours): Gary Aagesen, June Aagesen, Sylvia Abbott, Pat Bartolone, Sandy DiSario, Ericka Flores, Tommy Ruiz, Sr., Jerry Silverman, Wanda Smith-Brace, Don Williams
* (between 1,500 and 2,000 hours): Lois Arnold, Steve Bartolone, Gene Benedict, Mary Collier
* (between 2,000 and 2,500 hours): Bert Crawford, Raul Valdivia
* (between 2,500 to 3,000 hours): Charlie Jeung, Earle Moriarty, Elaine Proko
* (between 3,000 and 4,000 hours): Don Baldwin
Two other volunteers, Helen Scott (4,267) and Judy Benvenuto (4,519), received lifetime achievement award status, joining other lifetime achievement recipients Melva Snyder (4,279), Don Schilling (5,434), Dee Moriarty (6,217) and Loretta Ogden (6,576). Claire Neises was singled out for volunteering an eye-popping 11,124 hours.
Sandy DiSario, Don Williams and Perfecto Alferos were honored at the recent “Seniors Making a Difference” volunteer recognition program.
By Mayrav Saar
Behind every “carefree” childhood experience, there is a parent who has anticipated, prepared for and arranged everything.
Summer safety is no exception. Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, with 20% of those involving children. For every childhood drowning, there are four visits to emergency rooms for near-drownings, which can result in lifelong injury, including permanent brain damage.
That doesn’t mean you have to strap Junior to a life preserver, but it does mean educating yourself and planning ahead. Swim lessons are helpful but not enough.
“As we move into the summer months, families will be prepping their pools to offer an oasis from the California heat. Take the time to prep your family about the dangers of drowning and what to do in the case of an emergency. Remember, children drown without a sound,” said Lt. Bob Dunn.
Follow these five steps, and your little cannonball will (safely) have a blast as he makes a huge splash.
1. Know what drowning looks like. In most cases, people who are drowning don’t flail about like they do in the movies. They are generally unable to call out, though their mouths might bob above the surface. On first blush, they might appear to be safely treading water. But if they can’t speak or if their eyes seem glassy, they actually might be drowning.
2. Know where drowning can happen. A child can drown in just 1 inch of water. So inflatable baby pools, bathtubs and even deep buckets that a child could fall into need to be treated with the same caution as the deep end of an Olympic-size pool. If in doubt, stay within an arm’s reach of young children and children who can’t swim.
3. Take a CPR course or refresher course now.
4. Never leave your kids alone in or by the pool. When they are in the pool, an adult who knows child CPR should supervise them and stay at arms’ length the whole time. When they’re not in the pool, put alarms on your doors so you are alerted when they open, and put a net on or gate around your pool – safety trumps aesthetics. Fencing a pool on all sides reduces risk of drowning from unsupervised swimming by more than 80%.
5. Clear the area of pool toys when not in use. Once swim time is over, remove the temptation for children to return to the pool unsupervised. Most drowning deaths among young children occur when parents are nearby, but a child visits the pool alone.