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Advisors bid farewell to chief who listened

John Welter formed Orange County’s first Police Chief’s Advisory Board nearly a decade ago.

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His goal: to bring a diverse group of community, business and school leaders together to discuss public safety issues, to solve community problems and to build relationships.

If his final meeting before retiring offers clues, the effort was a major success. The meeting ended with hugs, thank yous, applause and a chocolate cake inscribed, “We love you.” It was topped with a miniature police car.

Perhaps most telling was how the 21-member board spent most of their last formal meeting with Welter. For more than an hour, they debated the pros, cons and politics of civilian review boards.

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Some board members said civilian review adds a layer of transparency, which equates to more trust. But a businessman worried that a panel comprised of people who “know nothing about police work appointed by people who don’t know anything about police work” is a recipe for disaster.

“I don’t have an objection to a board,” Welter said. “As long as it includes qualified and competent people.”

Welter promised action, saying he would ask city leaders to seek the board’s opinions on the topic. He also plans to pursue a suggestion from Los Amigos of Orange County President Jose Moreno to measure community trust.

Welter said he hopes the group will continue when his permanent replacement is named. His command staff is already preparing a presentation in June on officer-involved shooting reviews.

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The board accomplished much, playing a role in creating the Gang Intervention and Reduction Partnership, where police work with school leaders to identify and help children at risk of joining gangs; it has offered strategies to business owners to stop graffiti and it has donated dinners to poor families during the holidays.

And it has helped a beloved police chief navigate thorny issues, including last summer’s civil unrest.

“I’ve grown a lot because of your support as well as your criticism,” Welter said.

At the end of the meeting, businessman Bill Taormina toasted Welter’s service to the community, noting many of his innovations, including the formation of the advisory board.

“You have brought us through some rough waters,” he said. “And you have created a remarkable legacy.”

Anaheim Dispatcher Hangs up Headset After 41 Years of Service

Anaheim Disp Lori MurphyLori Murphy has been a police dispatcher almost as long as the 9-1-1 Emergency System has existed.  After 41 years of service, she is hanging up her headset for retirement to enjoy the good life.  On December 19th, 2012, she answered her last 9-1-1 call during her final graveyard shift before signing off for the last time.

In 1972, Murphy started her career with the Tustin Police Department in Southern California as a dispatcher.  She quickly learned that the position entailed much more than just talking over a radio.  She was also responsible for searching and booking female inmates, along with processing department records over her night shift.  However, Tustin was a rather slow city at that time because the city was still growing and developing.  She only had to worry about 3 officers on patrol at any given time in the city and Tustin Police shared radio communication frequency with the Santa Ana and Orange police departments.  She recalls one night early in her career when she was working the night shift alone a riot broke out at Tustin High School after a boys’ basketball game.  Murphy scrambled to call surrounding agencies and request assistance.

To read more, please visit 9-1-1Magazine.com.

Anaheim Retiree Now Working Cases in Oregon

Peace, quiet and solitude.

L-R: McIntosh, Glenn Gate, Brian Carrion, Dave Comstock

That’s what Officer Steven McIntosh and his wife and two children experienced whenever they would vacation in Oregon during his 18 years with the Anaheim PD. They would tell themselves, “Let’s retire here.”

Well, now they are in Oregon, enjoying a little slice of heaven in Springfield, outside of Eugene, following McIntosh’s retirement from the Anaheim PD on Dec. 23, 2009.

McIntosh, however, is anything but retired.

At the relatively young age of 51, the Long Beach native is working for the Oregon Department of Justice as a special agent in criminal investigations.

The pace of work is slower than when he was a cop in Anaheim, with McIntosh tackling such crimes as political corruption and election law violations.

That’s fine with him.

“There’s still crime up here,” he says.

McIntosh, a graduate of Lakewood Senior High School, was a police officer for the San Diego PD and Covina PD before he joined the Anaheim PD in 1992.

He worked a variety of details in Anaheim, including patrol, field training officer, accident investigator in the Traffic Bureau, primary response officer, criminal intelligence, and a member of the Tactical Negotiations Unit.

Patrol was his favorite. He spent half of his 18-year career in Anaheim doing it.

“I enjoyed the variety of calls we’d get,” McIntosh says. “I enjoyed the camaraderie of the people I worked with.”

Now, he’s enjoying life in the slower lane.

McIntosh’s son, Brett, 23, is working on a master’s degree at California Baptist University in Riverside. His daughter, Courtney, 21, is a senior at the University of Oregon. His wife, Cathy, works as a secretary in a school district office.

McIntosh and his wife both have relatives in Oregon, where the lakes and rivers flow and the fishing is fine.

There’s another thing that makes Springfield a little bit different than Orange County.

“The traffic’s not as bad,” McIntosh says.

Honda or Harley among ‘tough’ decisions for recent retiree

Lew Wuest is on the market for a new touring motorcycle. He recently had to depart with his beloved BMW, but says he’ll consider a Honda or a Harley-Davidson.Lew Wuest

Ah, the tough decisions of a recent retiree.

Wuest, 53, of Dana Point, spent all but two of his 31 years in law enforcement with the Anaheim PD — the last 10 as a sergeant in the “motors” unit of the Traffic Bureau.

“It was a great way for me to finish my career,” says Wuest, who’s been riding motorcycles since he was 16 and who, since retiring Dec. 28, 2009, has been spending a lot of time rebuilding bikes and planning motorcycle trips.

“Time’s flying by,” Wuest says of retirement. “I miss the people, mostly – it’s like a big family. I probably I spent more time with my Anaheim PD friends than with my own family.”

Wuest graduated from Mission Viejo High School and for two years was a reserve officer and police officer for the city of San Clemente until he joined Anaheim PD in May 1981. Ten years later, he was promoted to sergeant.

In addition to the Traffic Bureau, he has worked as a field training officer and patrol officer, and has spent time on the Crime Task Force, Community Policing Team, Economic Crime Detail, Information Technology Bureau and the Regional Narcotics Suppression Program.

In 2008, he was the Operations Support Officer of the Year.

Not counting motors, Wuest’s favorite assignment was working undercover for about nine months for the Crime Task Force.

“I enjoyed doing surveillance,” Wuest says. “I enjoyed watching the bad guys when they didn’t know I was watching them.”

Although he’s enjoying retirement, tinkering with motorcycles and pursuing woodworking — another passion — Wuest says he’s itching to get back to work by the first of the year. He may pursue private investigations or background checking.

“I had always planned on taking only a few months off or so when I retired,” he says. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit around and do nothing all day.”

Wuest has a son, Michael, 20, assigned to a reserve unit of the U.S. Army.

Soon, Wuest plans to head off on a weeklong tour up the West Coast – after he decides which motorcycle to buy.

Retiring Lieutenant Recalls Traffic Ticket He Didn’t Write

It was one ticket that didn’t need to be written.

Lt. Chris Sayers, who retired last week after 29 years with the Anaheim PD, has enjoyed assignments as diverse and challenging as accident investigator. D.A.R.E. officer, and motorcycle enforcement officer.

One incident involving a speeding motorist stands out for him as an example of how police officers often make a positive difference in someone’s life – usually out of the spotlight.

A motorcycle cop at the time, Sayers pulled over a woman who was speeding on Brookhurst Street. As he walked back to his motorcycle to write a citation, he heard the woman softly say: “Go ahead and write me a ticket. I’m going to kill myself anyway.”

Sayers turned around, asked her to step out of the car, and they spent 45 minutes talking on the sidewalk – he mostly listening.

The woman recently had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She had been hurrying to return some X-rays to her doctor so she could leave town the next day to Florida with her daughter.  She was hoping to spend what little time she had with her. Now she was about to end it all over a speeding ticket.

She was afraid the ticket would get her in trouble if she failed to return the X-rays, and that her departure would be delayed.

“I know everyone thinks ‘motors’ are heartless, but this was one ticket that did not need to be written,” Sayers said.

Two months later, he got a thank you card from the woman. She was enjoying every moment she had with her daughter.

“She believed it all started with a stop for speeding,” Sayers said. “That day, I knew I had made a difference in someone’s life.” 

Chief John Welter presents Sayers with a badge at the recent retirement ceremony

Sayers also had a chance to make a difference as a D.A.R.E. officer working with kids in Anaheim schools, and as director of the Anaheim Family Justice Center, which offers services to victims of family violence. He says both provided deep personal satisfaction.

When he started on the force almost three decades ago, police work was vastly different.
“We weren’t worried about building relationships with the community or problem solving,” Sayers says. “We were too busy ‘fighting crime.’”

Times have changed.

Technology advancements since 1981 have drastically improved the way police departments share information and the accessibility of that information to the officers in the street. Forensic evidence such as DNA is locking away very violent and dangerous criminals who otherwise still may be roaming free.

And the Anaheim PD has become a huge player in the community,  collaborating with businesses and residential neighborhoods to prevent problems – and not just “fighting crime.”

Involved with planning the recent Major League Baseball All-Star game, Sayers plans to head Disneyland's security team.

Sayers soon will be heading to the Happiest Place on Earth, managing the security personnel that work inside of Disneyland. He also will continue to volunteer in his community’s youth soccer program as a board member, coach instructor and referee. 

He has lots of memories of his Anaheim PD career to draw on.

During his time in the department, Sayers crashed his motorcycle and was injured, and he mourned the deaths of Officer Bob Roulston, killed on duty, and officer Rich Harrington.

Through it all, it was the people at Anaheim PD that made a difference, he says.

“What stands out the most are the people I have had the honor and pleasure to serve with,” he says. “I am not only proud of what I did, but of where I did it with and with whom.

“These amazing people have done a great job of keeping our community safe. They have encountered many different obstacles along the way but just kept moving forward, striving to make a difference every day.

“I am as proud of my chosen profession today as I was the first day I put my uniform and badge on.”

Sayers with daughter Kimmi


 

Captain ‘Enjoyed Every Moment’ of 30-year APD Career

No matter the assignment, Capt. Chuck O’Connor was always one of the Anaheim Police Department’s most valuable players.

Capt. O'Connor

As a young detective, his undercover work led to 105 arrests and the demise of one of the region’s biggest property theft rings. Even last week, during his final shift before retiring, O’Connor surveyed Angels Stadium to ensure nothing went wrong as the world watched.

He served as the police department’s tactical commander for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game.

It was just another successful mission in a 30-year career filled with accomplishments.

O'Connor said he enjoyed working motors

“It’s one of the greatest jobs in the world,” O’Connor says of police work. “You get the opportunity to do so many different and interesting things.”

But most of all, O’Connor, 51, says he relished the relationships.

While retiring captain relished the relationships, he enjoyed the action too.

At his retirement ceremony, Lt. Brian McElhaney called him as “the heart of the department.”

“In the end, people care most about how you treat them,” O’Connor says.

But don’t misunderstand. He loved the action.

SWAT

Riding a motorcycle. Flying on the skid of a helicopter. Repelling down the side of buildings. Those are among the many highlights.

He recalls how police officials once envisioned a full-time SWAT team.

If that had happened, “I’d probably have spent my career working there,” he says.

It’s probably a good thing it didn’t.

O’Connor eventually rose to the rank of captain, mentored dozens of officers and led a countywide effort to harden potential targets of terrorism.

Among his post-retirement plans: getting private investigators license and working with companies that specialize in homeland security and promotional preparation training. He also plans to travel and spend more time with his wife, Loretta, and daughters, Alexandria, 15, and Olivia, 8.

He joked with retiring Lt. Chris Sayers, who plans to work for Disney, about his “other” retirement plan at last week’s ceremony.

Undercover

“While Sayers has a Mickey Mouse job, I plan to handle Drew Carey’s game show hosting duties when he’s on vacation,” O’Connor joked.

Although he is the third captain to retire in seven months, O’Connor says the future is bright for APD.

“There were nine people who applied to replace me,” he says. “The Chief said all nine could do the job.”

While institutional knowledge is important, he says, “Sometimes it’s good to have a fresh set of eyes.”

First Female Captain Starts New Role Today

Belinda Brewer, Anaheim PD’s first-ever female captain, embarks on her new role in charge of the Operations Support Division today.

Capt. Brewer chats with retiring Lt. Chris Sayers at last week's retirement/promotion ceremony

No mention was made of the historical significance of her promotion at least week’s promotion and retirement ceremony – “perhaps a positive sign of a move toward gender equity,” says the Orange County Register in a story published today.

“I realize it is a historically significant moment; I just don’t want to make a big deal of it,” Brewer told the newspaper. “I’d rather people look at the quality of the job I’ve done and recognize that it is the reason that I have advanced.”

To read the rest of the Register story, click here.