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‘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.

Twenty-Five Years Later, Temporary Assignment Becomes Permanent Honor

Sgt. Rick Martinez started serving as an adviser to the Anaheim Police Explorers program more than 25 years ago because the then-chief told him it would be temporary.

Click on the image to view OC Register photographer Armando Brown's entire slideshow

“I joked that it’s the longest temporary job I could have had,” said Martinez, the department’s legendary public information officer. “But also so rewarding.”

Now, the post will bear his badge number forever.

On Wednesday night, dozens of current and former explorers – some now Anaheim Police officers – gave him a standing ovation as the Post 249 banner was unveiled for the first time.

Among the 125 people in the crowd: Orange County Register reporter Eric Carpenter.

“In his more than 25 years as adviser of the Anaheim Police Department’s Explorer program, Sgt. Rick Martinez guided hundreds of young men and women through the program, teaching them leadership, discipline and self-respect,” Carpenter wrote in a story published tonight.

“On Wednesday night, some of those explorers – now adults and some of them professional police officers – returned to honor the man they say was like a second father.

“With the blessing of Anaheim Chief John Welter, the Anaheim Explorers Post – known since the 1970s as Post 174 – was changed in honor of Martinez’s badge number to Post 249.

“It was an unprecedented honor. And a major surprise for Martinez, who now serves as the department’s public information officer.”

To read the rest of Carpenter’s outstanding report, click here.

Voice of APD to be Voice of CSI

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For 24 years, Mike Villani has played several roles as “The Voice of Anaheim PD.”

Retirement ceremony emcee. Medal of Valor event host. Training video star.

The voice-over specialist/actor/APD reservist has landed a new role: Guest on the hit CBS television show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

The episode, which airs Thursday at 9 p.m., is called “Lover’s Lane” and involves a gruesome murder at a bowling alley. Villani plays the bowling alley announcer.

It’s the perfect show for a man with a passion for police work.

“I’ve been wanting to pursue more theatrical opportunities – and continue the voice-over work as my day job,” he says.

Earlier this year, Villani played a fire chief in rural Indiana searching for an arsonist on the show, “Criminal Minds.

“I had a great scene with Joe Mantegna where we were walking through a warehouse,” he said.

Mike Villani, The Voice of Anaheim PD

He has played a reporter in the movie, “Dreamgirls,” a newscaster in “Bruce Almighty” and a talk show host on “The Girl Next Door.” He has also starred in dozens of commercials for Dodge, Budweiser, Walt Disney, Di-Tech and others.

Sgt. Rick Martinez, a long-time friend and fan, said he’s thrilled that Villani’s star continues to rise.

“Mike has been an outstanding partner and valuable member of our team,” he said. “We’re very happy that he continues to serve our department and community. We especially appreciate his friendship.

Villani says no matter what happens in his career he will continue to serve Anaheim PD.

“I love my association with the department,” he says.