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Anaheim PD’s new video highlights police work

Police department, city attorney’s office join detective’s fight against cancer

Dets. Jeff Tobin and John pose at a luncheon last Friday.

Dets. Jeff Tobin and John pose at a luncheon last Friday.

Anaheim’s police department and city attorney office have raised several thousands of dollars over the last month for a detective recently diagnosed with stage four cancer in the brain stem.

Det. Jeff Tobin, who works financial crimes, was diagnosed in December of last year.

“He’s an incredible worker and has been irreplaceable wherever he’s worked,” said Det. Matt Bradley.  “He and his wife (LoriAnn) are two of the strongest people I’ve ever met.  It’s tough to see them go through this but if anyone can stand up to cancer, it’s them.”

Tobin has served on the unit for 12 years and was a prosecuting attorney in the city attorney’s office for 15 years.

Detectives and attorneys have donated vacation hours and money to Tobin and, last Friday, held a luncheon that brought in nearly $2,500.

One police colleague – who asked to remain anonymous – made a donation while he fights cancer himself.  He could not give vacation hours as he uses those to recover; but instead gave money.

Det. John Azze helped organize the luncheon and has worked more than a decade alongside Tobin.

“We wanted to make sure we are doing all we possibly can to support Jeff,” he said.  “He’s been a top notch professional everywhere he’s worked but more importantly he’s been an outstanding person – someone we’ve all looked up to.”

On Feb. 10, APD and Anaheim Fire and Rescue’s amateur hockey team, the “So Cal Leafs,” will take on “Patriots Hockey,” a team comprised of military personnel in a game dubbed “The Fight On Tobinator Classic.”  Tickets are on sale for five dollars each and the game will take place at 7 pm at Anaheim Ice on 300 W Lincoln Ave.

Donations can be mailed to the Anaheim Police Assocation at 508 N Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA, 92805.  Anyone who would like to make a donation or attend the hockey game can contact Det. Azze at jazze@anaheim.net.

APD welcomes new chief, leaders at every level

By Bill Rams

Chief of Police Raul Quezada receives a plaque and flag

Chief of Police Raul Quezada receives a plaque and flag

It’s an exciting new era at the Anaheim Police Department.

Raul Quezada, 44, was sworn in today as the first Latino police chief in the agency’s 144-year history. And joining him are new leaders at every level of the police department.

About 500 people packed an Anaheim Convention Center ballroom to congratulate the city’s 33rd police chief and the other promoted employees.

The appointment is a resounding endorsement of Quezada’s commitment to problem solving and community policing. Such a focus has gone a long way in strengthening bridges between police officers and residents of Anaheim.

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Chief of Police Raul Quezada’s badge is pinned by his son, Jacob, as his father, Augustin looks on.

“First, he believes in connecting with and serving our community,” said City Manager Marcie Edwards, who selected Quezada for the job. “And second, he wanted to create and support an environment where the men and women of the police department can do their best work.”

During his eight months as interim police chief, Quezada, who is fluent in Spanish, has won the respect of many residents for rebuilding trust in the APD — following civil unrest in July 2012.

“Community engagement will remain our top priority,” Quezada said, outlining the steps the department has taken since the unrest of 2012. “We will work hard to earn and maintain your trust, and we will be an open and transparent organization.”

As interim police chief, Quezada sought to ease tensions in the city by launching a series of community meetings with residents of several working-class Latino neighborhoods.

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Deputy Chief Julian Harvey pins his badge after an unsuccessful attempt by his daughter and wife.

He also created a Neighborhood Advisory Council, added foot patrols and had the department post police policies online. He has mandated the use of audio recorders and is looking to equip officers with video recorders that clip on to the front of their uniforms to capture their interactions with the public.

“We have come so far from the events of 2012 and we will continue to work side by side with the community and together we will continue to make Anaheim a safe place to live, work and play,” he said.

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Captain Ben Hittesdorf’s family – which includes Lt. Tracy Hittesdorf – pins his new badge.

Also sworn in on Wednesday:

  • Deputy Chief Julian Harvey, a 22-year veteran of the APD whose assignments have included bureau commander for crimes person, special events and gang enforcement; he’s also worked patrol, internal affairs, as a gang investigator, pilot, flight instructor and leader of the Orange County Family Justice Center.
  • Capt. Ben Hittesdorf, a veteran of the APD since 1990, has served as a sergeant in patrol, gangs and internal affairs, and as a lieutenant working as a watch commander and a commander in the areas of strategic service, air support, and crimes against persons.
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Newly appointed Deputy Chief Julian Harvey addresses the crowd as Police Chief Raul Quezada watches.

  • Lt. Jeff Hemerson, who joined the APD as a police officer in 1992. Hemerson has worked in patrol, traffic, community policing, family crimes, sex crimes, training and SWAT.
  • Sgt. Jonathan Yepes, who has worked at APD since 2006 as a patrol officer, gang investigator and most recently as a robbery detective. Yepes has also worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Downey PD.
  • Officer Adrian Yeo-Hyun Yoon, 22, a new hire, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law and society from UC Irvine.
  • Forensics Supervisor Mark Sveinson, a 23-year veteran of the forensics detail who served as a traffic control supervisor for 10 years.

Youth program molds future cops

Explorers stuffed 33,000 envelopes certificates for an event benefitting elementary students in March.

Explorers stuffed 33,000 envelopes certificates for an event benefitting elementary students in March.

Fifty teenagers arrived before dawn on a Sunday morning to help the police department prepare for the “Tinkerbell Marathon,” a half-marathon hosted by Disney.

They are the Police Explorers and Sunday was the latest example of their crucial role with APD.

“We literally couldn’t function at the level we do without them,” said Ofc. Jake Gallacher.  “They are responsible for innumerable jobs throughout the community, and they make up our department’s future.”

Fifty explorers gathered at 3:00 am Sunday morning for instructions.  They would handle traffic, crowd control, and ensure the estimated 30,000 runners’ overall safety.

The event went smoothly and the group gained valuable experience, Gallacher said.

POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) has found that background check failures are increasing because of experimentation in adolescence related to drug use, gangs, and other issues that automatically disqualify applicants.

Police Explorer is a volunteer position Anaheim students ages 14-21 can apply for.  It establishes a “career pipeline” that helps participants avoid those poor choices, Gallacher says.

Explorers must maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average, attend weekly meetings, and dedicate a minimum of 10 volunteer hours to APD each month.  There are currently 100 active Explorers at Anaheim – the largest single-site post in the county.

“We are incredibly proud of what the program has grown into,” said Gallacher.  “Students are coming in and learning what it takes to be successful at our department at an early age.  We can’t possibly exaggerate how much we enjoy being role models for these kids.”

For more information on the program or how to apply, visit www.anaheim.net/police or contact Gallacher via phone at (714)-765-1539 or email at jgallacher@anaheim.net.