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Police Chief’s Harley Entrance Delights 4,000 Third-Graders

OC Register photo

Police Chief John Welter roared into the Anaheim Convention Center Tuesday on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, then joined community leaders in sharing the importance of studying  history.

His entrance was among the highlights of “The Gift of History” and drew wild applause from the 4,000 third-graders in attendance. Welter joined Mayor Curt Pringle, Angel announcer Jose Mota and other community leaders at the event.

To view more photos or to read Orange County Register coverage, click here.

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


‘Mr. Anaheim’ Promoted to Lieutenant 

Tim Schmidt found himself standing in the No. 3 lane of the 91 Freeway at 9 in the morning, a CNN camera jammed in his face.

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.

1,500 Attend Angel Game to Support Randy Quick

When the image of Anaheim police officer Randy Quick flashed on the scoreboard at Angel Stadium tonight, cheers erupted.

The team’s president John Carpino donated 1,500 tickets throughout the stadium to the Anaheim Police Association, which is heading up efforts to support Quick, who collapsed during the department’s run from Baker to Vegas two months ago.

What was initially thought to be dehydration turned out to be a condition known as rhabdomyolysis – a rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle.

“The Angels are amazing,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez. “Thank you to our hometown baseball team and 1,500 friends who were there to support one of our own.”

To read an outstanding Orange County Register story about tonight’s game – and about how the APD family has rallied around the Quick family, click here.