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To Protect and Serve (Dinner)

Shrimp and fund-raising for some special athletes are on the menu April 22 at Bubba Gump restaurant, 321 W. Katella Ave., Suite 100.

From 5-9 p.m., Anaheim police officers will serve hundreds of meals, and will donate their tips to the Special Olympics of Southern California.

The event will include donated silent auction items. Please join us for dinner and raise money for a great cause.

To donate a silent auction item or for more information, please contact officer Jonathan Nooitgedagt at (714) 765-1597 or jnooitgedagt@anaheim.net.

Gun to the Head, Burned Clothing, Violence Survivors Gather to Heal and Build New Skills

They may be different ages, enjoy different foods and have different hobbies.

But the 26 women gathered at the Anaheim Family Justice Center for Thursday’s 2nd Survivor Academy kick-off have one thing in common: Domestic violence.

Wearing a black sweatshirt and black pants, “Estella” introduced herself as an Anaheim resident who enjoys carne asada.

What she didn’t share was the reason she was there.

“She had a gun pulled on her. Her husband pulled the trigger but because there was no bullet in the chamber it did not kill her,” said Elia Renteria, a center advocate.

Estella remained in hiding for two days until her family brought her to AFJC.

“We helped her with relocation funds,” Renteria said, adding APD Det. Laura Lomeli later arrested her husband. He’s awaiting trial.

During the innovative 10-week academy – funded in part by a $2,500 donation from the Anaheim Rotary Club – the women work with counselors and other experts to build self-worth. They also learn other skills that empower them with tools to leave abusive relationships.

Many have multiple children. Some rocked infants during their introductions. A few still wore wedding rings. “A lot of them are still scared,” she said. “Many of them have never worked outside the home before, so they don’t realize what they are capable of, and they stay in the relationships.”

Wearing sunglasses to hide facial bruises, “Maria,” 21, arrived at AFJC about three weeks ago with her children, 3 and 1. All she had – literally – was the clothing on her back.

After beating her, her husband burned all her clothing.

“Unfortunately, the tragedy of violence in our community is a very real experience for too many women,” said Kerith Dilley, Executive Director of the AFJC Foundation. “However, with financial help from our community we can provide them opportunities to discover and recognize their innate talents and skills, so they can begin transforming their lives and the lives of their children.”

Twenty-Five Years Later, Temporary Assignment Becomes Permanent Honor

Sgt. Rick Martinez started serving as an adviser to the Anaheim Police Explorers program more than 25 years ago because the then-chief told him it would be temporary.

Click on the image to view OC Register photographer Armando Brown's entire slideshow

“I joked that it’s the longest temporary job I could have had,” said Martinez, the department’s legendary public information officer. “But also so rewarding.”

Now, the post will bear his badge number forever.

On Wednesday night, dozens of current and former explorers – some now Anaheim Police officers – gave him a standing ovation as the Post 249 banner was unveiled for the first time.

Among the 125 people in the crowd: Orange County Register reporter Eric Carpenter.

“In his more than 25 years as adviser of the Anaheim Police Department’s Explorer program, Sgt. Rick Martinez guided hundreds of young men and women through the program, teaching them leadership, discipline and self-respect,” Carpenter wrote in a story published tonight.

“On Wednesday night, some of those explorers – now adults and some of them professional police officers – returned to honor the man they say was like a second father.

“With the blessing of Anaheim Chief John Welter, the Anaheim Explorers Post – known since the 1970s as Post 174 – was changed in honor of Martinez’s badge number to Post 249.

“It was an unprecedented honor. And a major surprise for Martinez, who now serves as the department’s public information officer.”

To read the rest of Carpenter’s outstanding report, click here.

The Voice of APD to be Voice of Olympic Figure Skating

Mike Villani, aka “The Voice of APD,” is headed back to the Olympics. He will serve as a guest correspondent for the Daily Pilot newspaper in Newport Beach. Look for links here. Below is his first dispatch.

By Mike Villani

I don’t know a Biellmann spin from a Bracket turn, none-the-less, I’m heading to Vancouver, Canada  as the English venue announcer for figure skating during the Winter Olympics starting on the 12th of this month.

Mike Villani, The Voice of Anaheim PD

Following on the heels of my two previous career-highlight Olympic experiences in Greece in 2004 and China in 2008, this assignment may prove to be the most challenging, as I don’t know the first thing about figure skating other than I love watching it on TV.

It all started upon my return from China. I had heard that American producer Christy Nicolay was the Vice President of Sport Production and Victory Ceremonies for VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Christy had hired me as the announcer for Indoor Volleyball in Athens, so I gave her a call.

She said she would love to have me on her staff but had been instructed to hire only Canadians. Well, that changed about a year ago when the Canadians realized there weren’t enough qualified countrymen to fill all the announcing positions.

Figure skating will take place at the Pacific Coliseum, former home of the Vancouver Canucks, in downtown Vancouver. I’ll be working with legendary figure skating coach and announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, PJ Kwong who was with me in Athens and Beijing.  She’s a dear friend who will do the French announcing and a majority of the English during the actual competition.

As most of my announcements are scripted and with PJ’s help guiding me through the intricacies of the sport I’m not too worried the fans will know I’m a rookie at this very popular Olympic venue.

So this Friday morning, very early to make a 7 am flight from LAX, Freestyle Skiing announcer Chris Ernst (or Uncle E as he’s known when broadcasting for ESPN) a resident of Mission Viejo, will swing by and pick me up as I make my way to an all new Olympic experience…and as I’ve done in the past will keep you updated as I again report from The Games.

APD Detectives Solve All 2009 Killings – And Then Some

It wasn’t your typical murder investigation.

The alleged killer was already in custody by the time police discovered the body of the bludgeoned 84-year-old woman.

Ask Anaheim Homicide Sgt. Jim Reed, and he’ll tell you solving murders is tricky business.

Every clue requires immediate and thoughtful attention. Even when detectives move quickly, some killers still elude arrest for years. Some are never caught.

“Sometimes witnesses grow a conscience, a new technological advance provides damning evidence or laws change to favor investigators,” Reed says.

“And,” he adds, “every once in a while we get lucky.”

So far this year – and all of last year – APD’s detectives solved all 10 killings – and even four older ones.

“Anaheim’s homicide unit takes a multi-dimensional approach which fully exploits a blending of modern technology with good old-fashioned gum-shoe detective work,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy, who files Anaheim homicide cases. “To describe them in a word – tireless.”

To read a Q&A with Sgt. Reed, click here.

MEMBERS OF THE HOMICIDE DETAIL: Det. James Rodriguez, Det. Jeff Mundy, Det. Kerry Condon, Det. Elizabeth Faria, Det. John Duran, Lt. Dave Vangsness, Det. Richard LaRochelle, Sgt. James Reed, Det. Karen Schroepfer and Cynthia Espinoza.