Hundreds of police officers, city leaders and family members overflowed a police briefing room Thursday to congratulate the department’s new leaders and challenge them to lead the police department into the future.
Promoted were Deputy Chief Raul Quezada, Capt. Julian Harvey, Lt. Alex Orozco and Sgt. Matt Adrian. Officer Jimmy Elliott also earned his wings as a pilot.
“They are the ones who are going to lead – and not just sit back and manage,” said Police Chief John Welter. “It takes leaders with the right intent to make positive change.”
The department was recently nominated for a prestigious policing award for its work in human trafficking and has innovated and embraced a number of programs that have made APD “one of the finest police departments in the country,” Welter said.
Welter acknowledged the summer’s civil unrest, and challenged the department to continue the work of building the community’s trust.
“We have gone through some rough times recently, and we will be a better police department for it,” he said. “We have to continue to move forward and not be happy with what we’ve accomplished.”
Quezada echoed the chief’s sentiment, recalling last fall’s serial killings.
“Despite all the challenges, the folks here are just amazing,” he said. “We support each other and we will continue to work that way.”
Harvey, a former member of the national water polo team, described his colleagues as “bright and committed at every level.” Orozco thanked his colleagues for the “hard work they do every day.”
And Adrian grew up in the department, serving as a police explorer before becoming an officer.
Lt. Eric Carter, who emceed the ceremony, encouraged them to embrace their new roles.
“What kind of leader are you going to be?” he asked. “Do the right thing for the right reasons.”
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