The Anaheim PD veteran recalls that moment in June 2008 as one of the most challenging of his career. He was working as the PIO following an officer-involved shooting that turned into a gun battle on the freeway, forcing it to be closed for hours and resulting in the death of the suspect.
Schmidt, wearing a necktie and crisp white shirt, handled the questions with skill and professionalism – qualities that help explain his recent promotion to lieutenant.
Schmidt couldn’t be happier serving a city he loves and working for a police department he views as one of the most innovative around.
“What we are doing, under the current budget restrictions and the reduction of 35 officer positions, is truly amazing,” Schmidt says. “Our Community Policing Problem Solving efforts, coupled with our Crime Analysis Unit, have had tremendous success with reducing calls for service, reducing gang crimes, and the overall crime rate.”
Schmidt not only grew up in Anaheim, he still lives here. He jokingly calls himself “Mr. Anaheim.”
He attended Albert Schweitzer Elementary, Dale Junior High and Magnolia High schools. After working for the Anaheim YMCA, the city’s Parks and Recreation department and the Anaheim Hilton, he decided to become a police officer – and hasn’t looked back.
Schmidt said the best part of filling in as a PIO was working with Sgt. Rick Martinez, the longtime regular police spokesman.
“His honesty, integrity and experience made the job rewarding and fun to come to work every day,” Schmidt said. “The worst part was dealing with the violence and tragic accidents that happen all too often.”
One of Schmidt’s most enjoyable experiences was manning the dugout of the San Francisco Giants during the historic Game Six of the 2002 World Series at Angels Stadium, when Scott Spiezio put the Angels ahead in the bottom of the eighth inning with a dramatic home run, leading the Angels to victory.
“I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life,” Schmidt said.
The newly christened lieutenant also received a Distinguished Service Award for his pursuit of armed suspects involved in a robbery. Shots were fired, no one was hit or hurt, but the suspect and two others eventually were caught and arrested. He also received the Randall Gaston award for playing a key role in reducing calls for service and gang crimes in the Dakota neighborhood.
Schmidt is looking for many more productive years ahead at Anaheim PD.
“We will be the standard that all Southern California law enforcement agencies strive to achieve,” he predicted.