PUBLISHED: November 5, 2019 at 7:43 am | UPDATED: November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am
Newly sworn Woodland Police Chief Derrek Kaff called on his staff and officers to use innovative solutions and new strategies for solving crimes and maintaining good community relations. Speaking before around 100 people in the parking lot of the Police Department on east Lincoln Avenue, Kaff said there is a “deep pool of talent in our ranks” that will help find solutions “to the problems we’re facing today. If we don’t try new strategies to law enforcement we’ll become irrelevant and ineffective. This is why we will be innovative and creative in our approach to public safety.”
Kaff was officially sworn in to the position he has been managing since the resignation of former chief Luis Soler in mid-July, who had served since June 2017. Kaff was named to the chief’s position by City Manager Paul Navazio in mid-October. The Monday afternoon ceremony was attended by law enforcement officials from throughout Yolo County as well as those from the California Highway Patrol and even the FBI. There was also a large contingent of Woodland firefighters present as well as Woodland and county public officials, Woodland school trustees, and former chiefs, including Dan Bellini and Del Hanson.
The contrast between Soler’s swearing-in and that of Kaff’s was notable. Soler took office during a ceremony held at the Community & Senior Center. Kaff’s was held outdoors in the department’s parking lot because it represents the area where local law enforcement originates. It was also done so firefighters could bring their engines and remain on call throughout the event. As flocks of birds nesting in the arbor of the department kept up a steady musical sonnet, Kaff said his department would be “collaborative with our partners in the criminal justice system and in the community at large. “I challenge our staff, our partners and the community to be creative,” he said. “Look at the challenges we face, and come up with creative solutions. Not all of your ideas will work but if the solution is legal, ethical and morally pure we should give it a try. This is the best job in the whole world. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Kaff was officially sworn in by Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg, who questioned why the city didn’t know about a 4:15 p.m. train that was rumbling by to the east and issued a series of whistles as it crossed nearby intersections. Navazio promised he didn’t arrange for the distraction. Pinning on Kaff’s badge was his wife Patty, whom Kaff thanked for her “strength and grace” over the years. He also apologized to his children for using police interrogation procedures on them while they were growing up but said he thought it helped them turn out all right.
In introducing Kaff, Navazio said “it wasn’t that long ago that I stood before you and introduced a new police chief for the department and the community. That was two years, 145 days ago exactly. A lot has happened since June 17 (when Soler resigned) and I can’t tell you how happy I am and how honored I am to be here today to preside over the swearing-in of a 19-year veteran of the Woodland Police Department to serve as our next police chief.” Navazio specifically referred to Hanson and Bellini, both of who would “testify to the hiring Derrek, the high degree of professionalism, leadership qualities and potential to ascend to the position of police chief.” Navazio also thanked Soler for making Kaff deputy chief and for asking he be sent to the FBI academy. “I didn’t realize at the time how important succession planning was,” joked Navazio. “In the end, I’m very convinced that Chief Kaff is capable and qualified but in many ways has never been so well prepared to take over the leadership of the Woodland Police Department as you are today.”
Woodland Mayor Xochitl Rodriguez agreed with Navazio’s sentiments and thought having the ceremony outdoors was a great idea. “You’ve been well prepared for this post,” she added. “We’ve had a smooth transition since you came in as police chief and I’ve heard nothing but great things from our community members, of all the events you’ve attended. That makes me as a mayor and the City Council very proud to have you here. I know we’re going to see a bright future ahead with the department and we’re here to support you. We want you to know that anything you need we will help you get. We want to equip you with the tools you need.” Kaff said he was “excited but humbled to be given this opportunity.” “I came here 19 years ago and did a ride-along,” he said, noting that Los Angeles with its 10,000 officers is different from Woodland. “I thought the officers were tactically sound, but it was the way they interacted with the community that really sold me on Woodland. I’ve formed lifelong friendships with people in the community. I’ve celebrated the successes we’ve had and I’ve mourned our tragedies … As you know, police officers and firefighters deal with tragedies in an up-close and personal fashion. This is why I wanted to have this swearing-in in this parking lot. This is the one location in the city where all three fire engines can make it …This really is a family, police and fire. And I really value the support of both our officers and our firefighters.”
He said that police today are coming up with solutions to problems that can’t be handled through incarceration. “An officer’s word is not always good enough to get a conviction anymore. Juries today demand evidence, video or forensic evidence before they will give a guilty verdict,” he noted. “When I started there were no body cameras, there was no digital evidence and there was no space on social media where my actions would get discussed,” he continued. “The challenges that our officers deal with today are very different than when I was on the streets. However, I know our staff and I know our law enforcement partners and you are in very good hands. This is why we train very hard. We equip very well, and we have strong policies and good working relationships in Yolo County.”
Kaff joined the department as a police officer in 2000, having begun his career with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was promoted to the rank of corporal in 2002 and sergeant in 2003. In 2009 he was promoted to lieutenant, was assigned responsibility for the Patrol Division through 2015, and subsequently managed the Investigations Division into 2016. In January 2016, Kaff was promoted to captain by then-Chief Bellini. As captain, Kaff was responsible for planning and coordinating the work of all of the divisions within the Police Department as well as ensuring effective coordination with regional law enforcement partners.
Earlier this year, Kaff was invited to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, making him among a select group of law enforcement professionals from across the country, nominated by their local, county, state and federal agencies, to participate in the 10-week academy.
Kaff is a native of Granada Hills and received an associate of arts degree in liberal arts from Sierra Community College in Rocklin and a bachelor of science degree in sociology from Arizona State University. At the LAPD, Kaff worked patrol, narcotics, and traffic. While a member of that department, he was awarded the Century Award by MADD for arresting more than 100 DUI drivers within a one-year time span. The Woodland Police Department has more than 80 full-time personnel, including 64 sworn officers, 15 non-sworn staff and 67 volunteers with a budget of $18.57 million.
From: John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager,
City of Winters
The murders of Sacramento Officer Tara O’Sullivan and Davis Officer Natalie Corona were brought to reality for me over the past week with the amazing funeral for Officer O’Sullivan on Thursday and a chance for me to meet the parents of Officer Corona last week in Davis. The shattering of such bright futures and potential which would have undoubtedly have made incredible contributions to the law enforcement community is just heart breaking and hits to the core on the violence which exists in our society and is faced by law enforcement daily.
On Friday of last week (the day following the murder of Officer Tara O’Sullivan), I participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run from the Davis Police Station to the ARC Arena at UC Davis. Leading the procession and the first torch bearers were Merced and Lupe Corona, the parents of slain Davis Officer Natalie Corona. They were the nicest, most affable people, joking with the officers and laughing about Natalie’s affinity for running. They brought strength and resolve to all the officers present. They were absolutely wonderful!
One thing I noticed were the many females participating in the run and how young they all looked. I asked who they were (thinking they were relatives of some of the officers) and I learned that they were either new officers or cadets! First, I felt really old (everyone seems to look really young these days), but mostly I was encouraged to see the motivation of these young female officers coming into law enforcement. As we did the run, they had a number of chants and you could hear these young officers yelling loud and exuding pride and enthusiasm for their chosen profession. It was inspiring!
The tragedies of both Tara and Natalie are simply unconscionable, but there is no question that they will be the heroic symbols to motivate the growing next generation of female officers who will choose to lead from the front in our public safety future. Law enforcement has yearned to recruit women into the ranks for many years and we are now seeing it grow even in the shadows of the recent tragedies.
From tragedy springs eternal hope and without question, the legacies of Tara and Natalie will be our law enforcement future.
Event: Peña Adobe Historical Society Welcomes Solano County Sheriff’s Posse and K9 Unit, Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.!
The Solano County Sheriff’s Posse has enjoyed a long-standing tradition of service with the Sheriff’s Office since 1947. Comprised of citizens who volunteer their time in the service of their community, each year members of the Sheriff’s Posse contribute thousands of hours of their time, the use of their horses and their equipment in support of the Sheriff’s Office. Members of the Sheriff’s Posse attend numerous community events each year as ambassadors for the Sheriff and as an example of how beneficial partnerships with the community can be for law enforcement.
Joining the Sheriff’s Posse at Peña Adobe will be the Solano County Sheriff’s K9 Unit! Established in 2002, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office K9 Teams participate in public demonstrations, visit schools to promote drug awareness, and neighborhood watch meetings, as part of the Community Oriented Policing Program. K-9 Teams assigned to the Patrol Division are routinely called upon to assist in locating and apprehending fleeing criminal offenders, search vehicles for hidden narcotics/explosives, narcotic related search warrants, and to assist local, state and federal agencies.
Come to the Peña Adobe Historical Park, bring a picnic lunch and meet the members of the Sheriff’s K9 Unit and Posse and see their amazing canine teams and horses! Learn the important role horses played when the Peña and Vaca families were raising cattle on their ranch on what was to become the city of Vacaville. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music of the McBride Acoustic Jammers under the direction of Terry and Leslie Cloper! The Jammers sing and play a variety of instruments including the guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica. They meet the first and third Wednesday of the month at the McBride Senior Center at 91 Townsquare in downtown Vacaville.
Park docents will be available to lead tours of the Peña Adobe, California historical landmark #534 built by the Peña family in 1842. The park is located at 4966 Pena Adobe Road in Vacaville’s rural southwest section just off of Interstate 80 to the left of the Lagoon Valley Park entrance. Volunteers from the Peña Adobe Historical Society open the Adobe and the Museum for visitors from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the first Saturday of the month, February thru December, free of charge! If you have an interest in local history, or questions, call (707) 447-0518 or e-mail us at email@example.com and come join us at this gateway to Vacaville!
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Pena Adobe Park Off Interstate 80, Vacaville, 95687
Pena Adobe Historical Society
The CHP Memorial Wall Foundation and CHP – Golden Gate Division will be hosting the 7th Annual CHP Memorial Ceremony on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 10 a.m. This ceremony honors the lives and legacy of the 39 CHP Officers who died in the line of duty while assigned to the San Francisco Bay Area. Congressman Mike Thompson will join Chief Ernie Sanchez as they pay respect to the family members of these heroic CHP Offices who sacrificed their lives for the safety of others. Members of the press are invited to attend; however, we ask that they arrive at 9:15 a.m. to set up their equipment well in advance of this event. This ceremony will take place at 1551 Benicia Road, Vallejo, California 94591.
Winters Police Department joins county-wide memorial
by Emma Johnson
The Winters Police Department honored deceased police officer City Marshall William Rice as part a Yolo County event honoring officers killed in the line of duty on Thursday, May 16.
To date City Marshall Rice is the only Winters Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. He died by gunfire in October of 1912.
Rice was shot while attempting to disarm an intoxicated man brandishing a shotgun. According to a post published on the Winters Police Department’s Facebook page, Rice approached the man because he had been able to reason with him on previous occasions. While attempting to enter the intoxicated man’s residence, Rice was shot in the chest.
The perpetrator was arrested when he stepped out into the street to reload. He was later convicted of Rice’s murder.
Rice was survived by Alice Rice, his wife of six years, and their 14-month-old son.
The non-profit 100 Club of Yolo and Solano Counties supports the families of public safety officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty with immediate financial assistance. This program also mentors young adults and provides scholarships for the children of fallen officers. Chaplain Robert Duvall and Canine Unit Kepi are part of the local 100 Club team.
Body cam footage of Napa County deputy shooting suspect who fired at her:
Dixon sergeant, officers to receive lifesaving awards
PUBLISHED: February 9, 2019 at 6:19 pm | UPDATED: February 9, 2019 at 6:20 pm
Three Dixon police officers described as going above and beyond the call of duty are slated to receive lifesaving awards. Sgt. Joe Strickland and Officers Gabe Hollingshead and Ken Warren will be honored by the Dixon City Council at its Tuesday meeting.
On Jan. 5, the three men responded to a report of a suicidal man. Aided by Solano County dispatchers, they tracked his cell phone to a potential location in Dixon and found him inside a parked vehicle on Gateway Drive. The windows were up, officials said, and a gas generator was running in the backseat, filling the car with carbon monoxide. The officers made entry into the vehicle and pulled the unconscious, barely breathing victim out, tending to him until medics arrived.
The man later expressed his thanks in a letter.
“It is hard to put my feelings into words and find the correct words that can even come close to expressing my gratitude, regret, embarrassment and sorrow I feel,” he wrote, in a statement provided by the Police Department. “I know I owe you my life…”
The victim said he had sought help from mental health professionals. “They are working to help me heal, to understand my actions, and prevent this from ever occurring again,” he continued.
The public is invited to the meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chamber, 600 East A St., to witness the officers receive the Chief’s Commendation for Excellence.
PUBLISHED: February 8, 2019 at 6:50 pm | UPDATED: February 9, 2019 at 2:25 pm
You could say that Steve Clemente is well-versed in Solano County corrections. From three years with the Probation Department and Juvenile Hall to the past 16 years with the Sheriff’s Office, it’s no wonder that he’s able to work with both youths and adults. And likely why he was named Correctional Officer of the Year for the Sheriff’s Office.
“I was happy and excited,” he said Friday, of learning about the honor. He added that he’s also surprised, as he just strives every day to do his job well. “I like what I do. It’s different every day,” he shared.
Clemente ended up at the Sheriff’s Office in a roundabout way. His dad was a police officer in Vallejo and he at first thought that was his niche. But that was the 1990s, and not a lot of police departments were hiring. So he found another way in to public safety. He served as a legal procedures clerk with county probation, but the fit just wasn’t there. So he moved on to Juvenile Hall and worked with youths. When a correctional officer opportunity popped up at the Sheriff’s Office, he signed on and never looked back.
He served as a classification officer for four years and is now a jail training officer and PREA Instructor/Investigator. It’s a great job with a great climate, he joked. “Inside it’s 70 degrees all the time,” he explained with a smile.
For those thinking of entering corrections, he advises they take the job seriously from the get go. “”Corrections isn’t for everyone,” he warned. “You shouldn’t look at it like a stepping stone.” In working with inmates, initial firmness is important. “”Your best friend is ‘no,’” he said. “You have to start hard. You can go soft later. You have to be firm at first or they won’t respect you,” he continued.
Off the clock, he’s a family man and baseball enthusiast. He coaches baseball at Fairfield High and once played, himself. Thanks to his bosses and flexible scheduling, he’s able to continue coaching duties. “We’re just practicing now,” he advised. “The season starts around the end of March.”
Clemente gives kudos to his peers and bosses for his achievements. “I just thank the sheriff’s department for all the opportunities they’ve given me,” he said.
BREAKING: Davis police officer shot and killed; suspect dead
By Lauren Keene, Enterprise
This undated photo provided by the Newman Police Department shows officer Ronil Singh of Newman Police Department who was killed by a suspected drunk driver. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department said Singh was conducting a traffic stop early Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018, in the town of Newman, Calif. when he called out “shots fired” over his radio. (Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department via AP)By the Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — A suspected drunk driver accused of fatally shooting the California police officer who pulled him over was captured Friday as he tried to flee back to Mexico, where he lived before illegally crossing into the U.S., authorities said.
The sheriff whose agency was leading the investigation blamed California’s sanctuary law for preventing local authorities from reporting Perez Arriaga to federal immigration officials for previous arrests. If the suspect had been deported, he said, Cpl. Ronil Singh of the tiny Newman Police Department would still be alive. “We can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said, asking why the state was “providing sanctuary for criminals (and) gang members. It’s a conversation we need to have.”
Gustavo Perez Arriaga was arrested near Bakersfield, about 200 miles southeast of the scene of the shooting. He crossed the border in Arizona several years ago and had worked a variety of jobs as a laborer, including at several dairies. He also had two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated, Christianson said. The 33-year-old Mexico native had gang affiliations and multiple Facebook pages with different names, the sheriff said.
Authorities also arrested the suspect’s brother, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and a co-worker, 32-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz, who lied to police to try to protect him, Christianson said.
Christianson spoke at a news conference about making laws stricter as Singh’s brother wept beside him.
Singh, also 33, was an immigrant too, arriving legally from his native Fiji to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, authorities said. He had a newborn son and joined the 12-officer Newman police force in 2011. “He came to America with one purpose, and that was to serve this country,” Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson said, choking up. He called Singh an “American patriot.”
Singh, the department’s first officer to die in the line of duty, drove more than two hours each way to attend the police academy in Yuba City, Richardson said. He joined the Merced County sheriff’s office as a reserve officer and worked as an animal control officer in Turlock before being hired by the Newman force in 2011. English was Singh’s third language. He had a thick accent but took speech classes to improve his communication, the chief said.
The shooting on Wednesday came amid a political fight over immigration, with President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats at odds over funding for a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown.
The arrest followed a statewide manhunt. When a gunfight broke out, Singh tried to defend himself but apparently did not hit the suspect, Christianson said.
Father retires same day his son joins Vacaville police force
VACAVILLE — One of Vacaville Police Officer John Uldall’s last actions on the job was pinning a badge on the department’s newest officer, his son Eric Uldall, according to a social media post.
Eric Uldall was sworn-in Monday, two days after graduating from the Napa Valley College Criminal Justice Training Center. He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Sonoma State University.
John Uldall retired Monday after 25 years with the Vacaville Police Department.
Prior to joining the department, John Uldall served in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the presidential honor guard. He worked as a detective, range instructor and senior patrol officer during his years at the department.
Owners of Suisun City brewery put
Resilience on tap
Proceeds of the beer, available Friday,
will benefit Camp Fire victims
Public safety and spirits have merged at a Suisun City brewery, where community is the bottom line.
The product of three public safety officials, True Symmetry Brewing Co. couldn’t resist a call for help for Camp Fire victims.
“Sierra Nevada sent out the email and my wife said, “What do you think,” said Jason Ledford, a Bart police officer and Vacaville resident who owns the brewery with his wife, Chasity, the tech supervisor at the Walnut Creek Police Department and Jessie Reinosa, a Vacaville firefighter/paramedic. “I said, heck yeah!.” There apparently was never a question. “We’re both in law enforcement and my (other) partner is a firefighter. This is the kind of thing we get behind.”
In a press release, Sierra Nevada put out a “bat signal” to local breweries asking them to brew “Resilience Butte County Proud IPA,” described as a fundraiser beer for Camp Fire relief. All proceeds would benefit Camp Fire victims and the company would refund breweries for materials. As of Saturday, Resilience was still fermenting and will be ready for drinking on Friday.
“I took a sip yesterday,” Jason Ledford admitted. “It tastes like Sierra Nevada put beer in here. That’s good.”
Helping people, Ledford said, is what he and his partners are all about. “I have 20 taps,” he emphasized. “I can use one for this.”
True Symmetry is the culmination of 20 years of home brewing. A fellow officer’s musings about it got him interested, thena home-brewing kit from his wife for Christmas one fateful year got the ball rolling. Since then, he’s taken a master brewer’s class in England, learned from Chris Miller at Berryessa Brewing Company and Jamil Zainasheff at Heretic Brewing Company and taken cues from Greenbelt Brewers Association of Davis. The new expertise lends to better beer, he said, and perhaps the assured longevity of his hobby-turned-second act.
It was meant to be the business he started in retirement, Ledford said, but the ball got rolling early. It’s become a family affair, with his dad lending a hand and his young daughter showing entrepreneurial skills by making slime and selling it to his customers. An added bonus — he grew up in Suisun, so it’s like coming home.
Ledford said he’ll start live music on Thursday and Resilience will be served Friday. Who knows what comes next? “I just want to sell it fast,” he said, of the beer. “People really need the money now.”
And, he’s having fun with his wife and good friend, making new ones and sharing his love of brewing. “We’ve run into such good people,” he added. “This is just fun.”
There’s also a wall for law enforcement patches, a shadow box with the uniform of a fallen friend, and more homages coming.
People have told him that his place feels like home, Ledford said, which is exactly what he wanted.
Come home to True Symmetry, located at 315 Marina Center.
For more information, visit www.truesymmetry.beer.
The Camp Fire is now the most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Our brave firefighters continue to battle the blaze, even though so many of them have lost their homes, along with sheriff’s deputies and police officers. Click the links below for stories covering their heroism.
Kaiser Permanente Honors First Responders
October 1, 2018
“When they get the call, first responders never know what may lie ahead. Yet, they respond, and they show their dedication and commitment to saving lives every day,” said Nor Jemjemian, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in the Napa Solano area. “We are proud to partner with them to deliver lifesaving care to the critically injured.”
During the past few weeks, residents from the community submitted nominations that recounted the stories of those working in emergency medical services who went above and beyond in protecting or saving lives, or who helped with community efforts focused on injury prevention.
The awards ceremony included a moment of silence to honor fallen California Highway Patrol officer Kirk Griess who was killed in the line of duty in August.
Kaiser Permanente also made two donations: $25,000 was given in memory of Griess to support the 11-99 Foundation in its mission to help California Highway Patrol employees and their families in times of crisis, a second second donation of $10,000 went to the 10-33 Foundation to continue the work or providing care to first responders. The organization’s goal is to reduce the ongoing effects of unresolved stress in the lives of those in emergency services through pre-incident training, post-incident crisis intervention services and follow up.
Another part of the event included special recognition of firefighters who worked tirelessly to fight massive wildfires recently.
“Our state has been ravaged with wildfires over the past year. People have perished, many homes have been lost, and entire communities have been devastated,” said Dr. Chris Walker, physician in chief for Kaiser Permanente in Napa Solano. “We offer our deepest gratitude to the firefighters for serving where the need was the greatest, time and time again.”
2018 First Responder Award recipients are:
- Officer Joseph Duncan, California Highway Patrol, recognized for his efforts on the day of Officer Kirk Griess’ tragic accident.
- Randy Titus, Vacaville Fire Department, noted for his caring nature, who recently assisted with treatment of a homeless individual and helped connect him to community resources.
- Officer Andrew Oros, Napa Police Department, honored for quickly performing the Heimlich maneuver on an individual who was choking.
- Anthony Bellamy, Fairfield Fire Department, who volunteers at the Fairfield PAL center and trains teens, staff and volunteers in basic first aid, CPR and injury prevention.
- Gordon Tsang and Dominic Romero, Medic Ambulance, who worked countless hours to help evacuate people during wildfires that impacted Sonoma and Napa counties.
- Jason Fein, Benicia Fire Department, who oversaw the Toys for Tots program in Benicia last year, bringing joy to hundreds of children during the 2017 holiday season.
- Bradley Caldwell, Cal Fire, who leads the annual mass casualty incident program at Napa Valley College and is a resource for training to EMS personnel in Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties.
- Officer Joe Holecek, Fairfield Police Department, who serves as a resource officer at Rodriguez High School and who helped bring in more than 5000 toys in toy drives and supports Rodriguez High’s athletic and academic programs.
- Officer Dave Harvey, California Highway Patrol, who works closely with Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano’s Trauma Department to bring programs like Impact Teen Driver and Stop the Bleed to the public.
- Detective Brian Collins, Detective Michael Brennan, and Detective David McDonald, from the Vacaville Police Department, who responded bravely when a suspect ran a red light and crashed into two cars which resulted in a fire. They pulled victims to safety and took the suspect into custody.
It is with deep sorrow that we inform those in the Bay Area law enforcement community who knew Mike Warnock, that he passed away in Bakersfield from a medical issue that his body could not overcome and defeat. Mike retired from the Concord Police Department and was currently a deputy chief with BNSF Railroad Police. Please keep the Warnock family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
From the Daily Republic, by Nancy Green
Hershel Wayne Grose was born Sept. 17, 1933, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and passed away at home in Vacaville on Aug. 16, 2018. He was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather and friend.
After serving in the Marine Corps, Wayne spent over 30 years in law enforcement. He proudly served the community of Fairfield for 25 years, retiring in 1989.
Wayne loved music, and much of his retirement was spent playing his fiddle (not a violin) with the band at various senior centers around the area. Wayne loved Jesus, and served at Trinity Baptist Church for 44 years in various capacities.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Kathleen; son, Kevin (Sheri); and grandchildren, Ian and Brynlee. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, at Trinity Baptist Church, 401 W. Monte Vista Ave., Vacaville, California. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Gideons or the Trinity Baptist Church Music Program. Arrangements under the care of McCune Garden Chapel, 707-448-6546.
Our deepest sympathies go to the family, friends, and colleagues of Officer Griess.
Suisun PD honors its own at awards ceremony
By Ian Thompson
SUISUN CITY — Marion Wallace and Keith Mercer got to meet the officer who saved their lives, each giving him a hug.
The two were present when Suisun City Police Cpl. Engelberto Rubio was honored with the department’s Life Saving Medal at an awards ceremony Wednesday.
“I am glad he was there,” Wallace said of the CPR that Rubio gave her after she was found unconscious in April, 2014.
Rubio also administered CPR to Mercer until paramedics arrived in October, 2017.
Rubio was one of several officers honored for their service at a ceremony that culminated with a farewell to Suisun City Cmdr. Andrew White, who is leaving to become Clearlake’s police chief.
A Medal of Valor, for action above and beyond the call of duty, was awarded to Sgt. Dan Healy for dealing with an armed woman who had pointed a gun at a mail carrier and then tried to fire on Healy, who struggled with her until help arrived.
Hazardous Action medals, awarded for carrying out duties in unusually hazardous conditions, went to Officer Andre Carson and Cpl. James Souza, who pulled children to safety during Healy’s struggle with the woman.
Distinguished Action Medals went to Cpl. Lex Egbert, Officer Joe Elliott, Sgt. Jeff Henderson, Rubio and Officer Eric Vera for actions that included dealing with armed suspects in three different incidents.
The Chief’s Service Medal, for outstanding professional performance, went to Cpl. Stephen Brown for successfully closing a child molestation case and to Vacaville Police Property and Evidence Supervisor Kari Lee for her help reorganizing the department’s property evidence room and training people.
The Suisun City Police Officers Association honored resident Ruth Elliott, known to the department as Mama Elliott, who has provided meals to officers since 2012. “Some people even switch shifts just to eat some of the excellent cooking,” said Brown, president of the police officers’ association. “You kept us well fed and our spirits high.”
The award for exceptional support to the department will now be known as the Ruth Elliott Award, Brown said.
White was honored at the end of the event. Police Chief Tim Mattos called him “one of the hardest working individuals that I’ve ever known.” White also got a special end-of-shift sign-off from the department’s dispatch center.
Educational ribbons went to Sgt. Lisa Carlock, Community Services Officer Danielle Lobao, Dispatcher Tiffaney Lombard, Dispatcher Haley Alexander, Brown, Elliott, Crime Scene Investigator Don Hafich, Henderson, Officer Julia Lazard, Sgt. Jose Martinez, Officer Matt Ornellas, Officer Eric Vera, Community Services Officer Amber Williams and Healy.
Distinguished Service Ribbons went to Dispatcher Ann Sagami, Sgt. Lisa Carlock, Dispatch Supervisor Amber Kent, Community Services Officer Pamela Greenwood, Community Services Officer Cathy Chandler and Sgt. Bob Szmurlo.
Dispatcher/Officer of the Year Ribbons went to Kent, Dispatcher Joanne Lavelle, Dispatcher Danielle Lindberg, Sagami, Cpl. Stephen Brown, Carlock, Sgt. Jeremy Crone, Martinez, Officer Lindsey O’Brien, Rubio and Officer Eric Vera.
Mattos lauded his department, saying that for every incident of outstanding service his employees did, “there are so many more we are unaware of.”
In a small ceremony in front of his family, Ryan Armosino, 28, was sworn in as Vacaville’s newest police officer.
Armosino, a 2008 graduate of Will C. Wood High school and former reservist in the United States Marine Corps., was most recently an Emergency Medical Technician with Medic Ambulance. Monday, he explained that it’s been his passion to become a police officer.
Armosino graduated from the Napa Valley College Police Academy in June.
“I got to know a lot of officers from Vacaville while I was working at Mel’s Diner and stayed in contact with them.” Armosino said and explained that he had a job offer with another law enforcement agency that he turned down to start the process in Vacaville with the hopes of being hired. “It is a rare opportunity that I want to take full advantage of.”
After two weeks of in-house training, Armosino will hit the streets where he grew up with a field training officer.
Other new officers to Vacaville are Sean Kelly, coming from the Oakland Police Department, and Vince Santoni, coming from the Fairfield Police Department.
Photo by Joel RosenbaumTHE REPORTER – Jimmy Pierson, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Medic Ambulance, discusses the company’s ongoing program to donate 60 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the county. The company donated 18 devices to the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District in a small ceremony Monday at Armijo High School. The district plans to install them in all the district’s middle and high schools. “These machines can be the difference between life and death during a cardiac emergency,” Pierson said in a company press release. “By placing them in the District schools, we not only improve the safety of the students and faculty but are also spreading awareness about the importance of CPR training for the public.”
“The installation of these additional AEDs throughout the Fairfield Suisun Unified School District is another step in our continuing effort to be prepared when an emergency situation arises,” said Jennifer Taylor, assistant of HR and risk management for the school district, in a Medic Ambulance press release.
LONG BEACH >> A resident of a retirement home in Southern California opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion in the building, killing a veteran fire captain and wounding a second firefighter and another person, officials said.
The shooting happened after firefighters responded to an alarm shortly before 4 a.m. at the 11-story retirement facility in Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, and found some windows blown out, activated sprinklers, the smell of gas and a fire that they extinguished, authorities said.
Firefighters were searching the building when shots were fired and the two firefighters were hit, Long Beach Fire Chief Michael DuRee said.
Fire Capt. Dave Rosa, who had worked for the department for 17 years, died at a hospital Monday morning, DuRee said. He is survived by a wife and two children, the chief said.
The other firefighter who was shot was not immediately identified and was hospitalized in stable condition. A third person was also struck by gunfire and was in critical condition and undergoing surgery, said Police Chief Robert Luna. No further details were provided about that person.
Dozens of firefighters stood at attention and saluted as the flag-draped coffin carrying Rosa’s body was brought out of a hospital Monday afternoon and loaded into a coroner’s van. Community members waved American flags along the street outside the hospital as the procession of police and fire vehicles escorted the van to the coroner’s office.
Luna said a “person of interest” — who police believe is a resident at the facility — was detained at the scene and was being questioned by investigators. A weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.
“There is a big puzzle to put together,” Luna said. Investigators were looking into whether the shooter intentionally lured first responders to the scene to ambush them, Luna said.
“That’s the environment we work in today, as law enforcement and firefighters. You go to these scenes and you never know what’s on the other side of those doors. And these brave firefighters went through those doors and unfortunately they were met with gunfire,” Luna said.
Pamela Barr, who lives in the building, said she was awakened by fire alarms and didn’t panic because false alarms are not uncommon. She tried to go back to sleep but then learned what was happening by watching TV news. Firefighters later evacuated the building and put residents on buses.
“This is a lot to deal with,” said Barr, 73, as she sat with her son in a car, waiting to be allowed back in the tower, where she lives on the ninth floor on the opposite end of the building from where the fire occurred.
Barr said she hadn’t heard of any troubles involving residents of the facility, where she has lived for seven years. She described it as clean, well run and secure.
Gloria Ford, 58, who lives a few blocks away, was awakened by screaming sirens earlier and came to check out the scene. “I’m very sorry about it. I’m sick about it,” she said about the death of the firefighter. “It’s just mad.”
Police also called for bomb squad investigators after they discovered “a couple of devices they deemed to be suspicious.”
The residential tower near downtown Long Beach has 100 apartments for low-income people age 62 and older as well as disabled adults over age 18, according to its website.
Back in the Day: Legacy of Fairfield police officer Cleo Patton lives on
Cleo Patton had been a flight mechanic in the Air Force and after leaving the military, was determined to become a policeman. He achieved that goal in 1968 by becoming the first black Fairfield police officer.
From the time he was hired until his retirement in 1982, Patton built a reputation as one of the most respected officers on the force.
But it wasn’t without some speed bumps. Lorine Patton, who moved to Fairfield with her husband and family in 1964, recalled some of the racism her husband experienced.
“Fairfield was still quite small and there were not a lot of blacks here and the town wasn’t used to that,” Lorine Patton said. “I remember one time when he was dispatched to a scene and the lady who had called the police called back and said to send a ‘real’ police officer. The dispatcher told her, ‘You’ve got a real police officer out there.’ ”
Cleo and Lorine Patton lived in the “bird streets” section of Fairfield and had three children; daughters Margie and Sharon and son Tony.
“Dad was very family oriented,” Tony Patton said. “We did a lot of things as a family like going camping or going fishing at the Suisun Slough. When it came to other people, he would give you the shirt off of his back if it was the last shirt he had. That’s just the way he was.”
The basic idea of community policing is for officers to gain the respect and willing cooperation of the public and warn that use of excessive force is detrimental to that aim. The principles of the model date back to the early 1800s and the concept caught on in the United States in the 1980s. Officer Cleo Patton, however, was pioneering that approach in Fairfield in the 1960s and ’70s.
“He would get out of his car downtown and walk the streets and meet the merchants and talk with them,” Lorine Patton said. ”It was something that he felt police officers should be doing – to get out into the community and get to know people.”
Fairfield Vice Mayor Chuck Timm was a Fairfield police officer from 1973 to 2004 and knew Patton.
“He treated people very respectfully and was soft-spoken. He was a firm believer in first you ask them, then you tell them, then you make them,” Timm said. “But it took a lot to get him to that last point. He was very smart and the best thing was that he knew how to talk to people. Great guy and a great cop.”
Patton was a school resource officer and was seen as no-nonsense, but exceedingly fair.
“One Saturday night when I was about 16, I was in my mom’s 1968 440 Chrysler station wagon and me and a buddy were drag racing on Air Base Parkway. We went barreling down near Dover and then all of a sudden the red and blue lights came on behind me,” Tony Patton said. “It was my dad. He gave my buddy a ticket, then he gave me a ticket and said, ‘Take the car home.’ I took the car home and I walked everywhere for six months. When you give your own son a ticket, you know he’s more than fair.”
Cleo Patton had a fatal heart attack June 9, 1999. Former Fairfield Mayor Chuck Hammond, in a Daily Republic article that relayed the sad news, referred to Patton as a trailblazer and a role model for younger officers.
Then-Fairfield Assistant Police Chief Larry Walker recalled in the same article Patton serving as his field training officer in 1969.
“He didn’t get emotionally upset to get people to comply,” Walker said in the article. “He talked to people. He had a real talent and could solve any situation with his commanding presence. I admired that.”
Officer Cleo Patton’s legacy lives on almost two decades after his death.
“I still run across people who tell me, ‘If it wasn’t for Officer Patton, I don’t know where I would be because he gave me a good talking to,’ ” Lorine Patton said. “He made a difference and that was the whole purpose of him wanting to become a police officer.”
Dave Althausen Sr. recognized for aiding Woodland College
By Hiedi Andersen, Special to The Democrat
Adjunct faculty truly bring “community” into a college — and Dave Althausen Sr. was one of many who gifted his first-hand experiences and life lessons to local students.
In a career spanning over 30 years, former businessman and Woodland police officer Althausen shared a wealth of unique, life perspectives with administration of justice students at Woodland Community College. His legacy of knowledge will be posthumously honored next month at the WCC Foundation’s annual Founders Day dinner.
“Community members who share their wealth of expertise by serving as adjunct faculty enrich the learning experience for our students,” said WCC President Michael White.
Colleagues fondly recall Althausen.
“I worked with him very closely,” said Francisco Rodriguez, former WCC dean and fellow 2018 honoree. “Althausen was a very good man. I’m honored to be in the group (of honorees) with him.”
Born in 1937 at the Oakland Army hospital, Althausen and his two younger siblings attended schools in Richmond. However, as a teen, his father became ill as a result of his World War I service, and Althausen left Richmond High School to help support his family.
“Dad met his bride-to-be, Jannifer (Jan) in the movie theater business,” their son, Dave Althausen Jr. recalled. “She was a ticket/candy counter girl and he was an usher.”
The couple married and together went on to manage theaters in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
“After the theater gig, they went into retail, working with Sprouse Reitz in West Sacramento, which later became Rite-Aid,” Althausen Jr. said. “The two of them managed stores in Northern and Southern California, but it was at the Woodland store in 1961 when Dad’s interest in law enforcement began when he joined the Woodland Police Department as a reserve police officer.”
Althausen Sr. spent the next three years working both at Sprouse Ritz and at the police department before moving to manage a drug store in Oxnard. Then, in 1966, the city of Woodland called and offered him a job as a full-time police officer. Althausen Sr. moved back to Yolo County and attended the Sacramento Police Academy, then located in McKinley Park, and graduated with the class of 1966-D II.
“He was sworn in on Aug. 1, 1966,” Althausen Jr. said. “Apparently, Dad must have impressed them earlier as a reserve officer.”
His first assignment was patrol, and he later became one of the original 10 motorcycle officers, a drug education officer, training officer, reserve program coordinator, range master and department armorer during. In 1977, he developed the Woodland Police Department’s first “Neighborhood Watch” program.
“As the reserve officer coordinator, he was credited with the creation of the first Yolo County Police Reserve Academy,” Althausen Jr. recalled. “Dad was a fixture at the Woodland Police Department booth at the Yolo County Fair for many years where he explained the dangers of drugs — educating local youth and their parents alike.”
His community interactions helped Althausen Sr. realize he had a talent for teaching, and in 1974, he earned a teaching certificate from UC Davis and launched his second “and highly prized tenure” as an adjunct faculty member at Yuba College’s Woodland Campus.
“Teaching quickly became Dad’s passion,” said Althausen Jr., who got to see his father in action when he enrolled in an administration of justice class. “It was 1987, and I had just been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. My best friend — WCC alum Jerry Jones, now the undersheriff of Butte County — and I took Dad’s class. I remember from that experience seeing a side of Dad that I’d rarely seen.”
Althausen Srs. teaching style was energetic, jovial and engaging. As an adjunct faculty member, he had personal stories to share about working in law enforcement that added a richness to the college experience for his students.
“It was like watching a funny comedian on television, albeit delivering the course requirements and material in a scholarly and professional manner befitting a veteran police officer and educator,” Althausen Jr. said.
More than three decades of WCC students benefitted from the knowledge Althausen Sr. shared. He was active in the WCC Academic Senate, and “a regular face in the college library where he’d assist Darlene Gray and any student who asked,” his son said.
“To this day, when I meet former students of his, they remember Dad fondly for his style, enthusiasm, professionalism, career advice and counseling that made them a better person, whether they are in law enforcement or another career,” Althausen Jr. said.
Althausen lost his battle with cancer on May 21, 2009. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jan, and son, Dave Althausen Jr., two grandchildren and one great grandchild. In his honor, the WCC Foundation established the Dave Althausen Administration of Justice Scholarship, an ongoing, sustained legacy.
Please join the Fairfield Fire Department in congratulating four of our own as they begin a new chapter in their careers as recently promoted Fire Captains.
They completed a two-week Captain’s Academy and are excited to see what the future holds.
By Solano County Sheriff’s Office September 2, 2017
Several members of the Solano Community College, Community Service Officer (CSO) program were promoted Thursday. These individuals are students at our local colleges and have been volunteering as student leaders, working hard towards a career in law enforcement.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office currently has three sworn members who are working full-time at the Solano Community College campus. This is a large multiple-campus district with a workforce of 572 and a student body of more than 10,000.
The Sheriff’s Office staff members are proud of their CSOs and are honored to have the privilege of serving with these future leaders and all members of our campus community and guests.
Fairfield Fire Department
Academy Graduation and Promotional Badge Pinning Ceremony
April 27, 2017 – The Downtown Theatre
Below is a listing of those that are graduating and being promoted. The academy graduate date is April 27th.
Firefighter/Paramedic John Hoyle
Firefighter/Paramedic Gregory Bounds
Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Fink
Firefighter/Paramedic Elliott Blanton
Firefighter/Paramedic E F Ryan Hughes
Firefighter/Paramedic Blake Dombrowski
Fire Captain Nick Eisan
Fire Captain Jessica Fleshman
Fire Captain Anthony Prado
Fire Engineer Anthony Tynes
Fire Engineer Donny Biro
Fire Engineer Ben Nielson
Congratulations to the graduates and firefighters receiving promotions. Well done!
Fifty four years ago, Betty McKinzie’s world was turned upside down when her beloved husband, Deputy Hale Humphrey, was killed in the line of duty. On Monday, he was posthumously honored with a sign to be placed along Highway 12 between Marina Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue, where he died.
With grace, McKinzie accepted a framed replica that was large for her petite frame. “Oh my gosh, this is going up on my wall,” she said, with a smile. Family members clapped as Humphrey was remembered and his 93-year-old widow shared remembrances.
Ever spunky, she recalled how they met — he was a cop and pulled her over in San Francisco. “I was with my friends,” she said. He showed up at her office the next day and asked her out. The rest, as they say, is history.
Humphrey was killed on March 15, 1963.
That’s when two young men robbed a Lodi area gas station and stole the owner’s car. California Highway Patrol Officer Charles Sorensen pursued them. At some point the suspects crashed and ran, with Sorensen chasing after them. The suspects fatally shot Sorensen, took his patrol car and drove west on 12 towards Fairfield. Humphrey had set up a roadblock and the suspects crashed through it at 130 mph, killing him.
The suspects, ages 16 and 18, were subsequently arrested and convicted. “He died instantly and I can’t say enough that this day is way past due,” said Deputy Daryl Snedeker, president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
Speaking with a retired deputy some years back, Snedeker hit on the idea of the memorial sign and together with the DSA and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Solano, got to work. He contacted Humphrey’s widow, who has since found love again and remarried, and got her on board.
“It has been a two year journey,” he told the crowd at the Solano County Events Center on Monday. “This journey has been so rewarding for me personally because I got to meet some of the best people. … This comes full circle.”
The event, according to Frazier, shows how “Solano’s Finest” is a true brotherhood. Humphrey’s debt can never be repaid, he said, thanking the deputy for making the ultimate sacrifice. “His heart was with service,” Frazier said. “From 54 years ago till today … He will be remembered for his dedication to protecting those he loved. I am certain his memory will always be remembered by a grateful public.” He subsequently presented McKinzie with a proclamation, and Snedeker presented her with her framed sign.
Sheriff Tom Ferrara added that Humphrey will never be forgotten. “It hurts forever,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better.” Members of Sorensen’s family, including his widow, Melinda, were also in attendance.
–Kimberly K. Fu, The Reporter
Veteran officer named Vacaville’s Officer of the Year
By Kimberly K. Fu
He’s a husband, a dad, a mentor to his peers and a dedicated community servant. As of last week, Master Police Officer Erwin Ramirez is also the Vacaville Police Department’s Officer of the Year. “I was blown away,” the 41-year-old said Monday. “I did not expect this.”
The veteran officer, officials said, “embodies the mission, vision and principles” of the department and “is sincere in his actions, striving to develop a motivating environment and is a true member of the ‘Team.’”
A 17-year veteran of the department, Ramirez has been a police officer for more than 18 years. As he explains it, the career is more than a job and the staff are more than just coworkers. “We’re a big family,” he explained. “We always want people to succeed. We’re always mentoring.” Ramirez added that he’s always learning.
A Vallejo native, he grew up quickly after becoming a dad at 17. Loved ones told him to get his act together and he did. He looked to his dad, who was a police officer in the Philippines during a time of significant turmoil — just a quarter of his academy made it out alive. As well, his brother served as a military police officer with the Navy.
In 1999, Ramirez married his high school sweetheart, who he’d been with since 1992, and also joined the Suisun City Police Department. From a reserve officer he became a full-time officer and a year later, he joined the Vacaville Police Department.
The fit, he said, has been amazing and he loves what he does, from interacting with the community to lending a hand to fellow officers. Two years ago, he promoted to Master Police Officer and has learned much in the way of leadership, he said.
The Officer of the Year recognition is welcomed, in that his efforts are acknowledged. But, he points out, the efforts of his team are what made the honor possible.
“We have a lot of great people here,” he emphasized. “But there’s a lot of people here who do a lot of wonderful things.”
Ramirez credits his wife, Lisa, for supporting him, maintaining a great family life with their son and two daughters and inspiring him every day. “She’s the motivation that gets me going. She’s the conscience in my head when I’m working with people, telling me the right thing to do,” he said. “Her honesty with everything I do, she really grounds me.”
Fairfield’s beloved Chief Allio celebrated at retirement ceremony
By Dom Pruett, The Reporter
Thursday afternoon, toward the end of his second-to-last day in law enforcement, Chief Joe Allio sat inside his semi-bare office, which was void of its usual collection of San Francisco Giants decorations, and admitted his impending retirement still hadn’t sunk in yet. “Typically, I take to emotion pretty easily,” he said. ” But I keep waiting for the moment when it hits me.”
The next day, at his retirement ceremony inside a jam-packed Fairfield City Council Chamber, the moment had finally taken over Allio, moving him to tears.
“Just seeing all my kids here and knowing how blessed of a career I was given,” he explained following the ceremony.
Allio leaves Fairfield after 30 years of service, a city he first stumbled into in 1986 during a stop for gas while on his way to South Lake Tahoe.
Before Fairfield, Allio was a Patrol Officer for his native South San Francisco Police Department. Despite reaching the pinnacle of success by most officers standards, Allio’s decision to step away is to spend more quality time with his family, a simple task often unattainable with the busy schedule of a police chief.
Namely, it is Allio’s 18-year-old daughter, Annie, who is bringing him into retirement. Diagnosed at a young age with Juvenile Spielmeyer-Vogt-Sjögren-Batten disease (also known as Batten disease), which is a rare and fatal autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder, Annie isn’t expected to live beyond her early 20s. In 2012, Allio lost another daughter of his, Annie’s older sister, Catie, to the disease. Now, with time at a premium, Allio plans on using his newly found free time to tend to his ailing daughter. “I want to be her other nurse,” said Allio Thursday.
It’s Allio’s compassion and unselfishness that his colleagues said they will miss the most.
“We’ll miss his humble leadership,” said Interim Chief Randy Fenn, who was a lieutenant with Allio when he joined the department in 2012. “He’s always been true to his faith and has always done an incredible job putting people first. I’ve got big shoes to fill.”
Lt. Rob Lenke, who worked with Allio when he was hired as a Sgt. at Fairfield in 2001, described his former boss’ retirement as “bittersweet.”
“He was one of the first sergeants I ever worked for. He’s been a leader and mentor ever since ” he said. “He set an example. Anytime I had an issue or wasn’t sure what to do, I went to him.
“He’s how I want to model myself after,” Lenke continued. “There are certain people who move up the ranks because they want the allure and title of chief. He was there because he truly wanted to serve.”
Sgt. Matt Bloesch, who received guidance from Allio when he was promoted to Sgt. in 2008, also praised Allio as a mentor.
“Joe is one of the best leaders I’ve ever worked for,” he said. “I just watched him, the way he interacted with his family and saw his outlook on life. That gave me something to look up to, and I knew that was the kind of person and cop I wanted to be.”
Though Allio will certainly be missed by those at the Fairfield Police Department, his self-proclaimed “silent partner” is excited to see more of him.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with my best friend,” said Allio’s wife, Kathy. Together, they have six children and two grandsons. “I’m so glad he’s going to be home.”
However, the transition won’t be easy for Kathy either, who Allio joked was having more difficulty coming to grips with retirement than he was.
“I’m so conflicted, this is family to us, their love and support have sustained us. Our hearts are rooted with these people,” she revealed. “A little bit of my heart will stay with the Fairfield Police Department.”
As for Allio, now that retirement has finally sunk in, he’s looking out into the horizon with optimism and joy.
“I’m hoping my best skillset is retirement,” he laughed.
Florence Douglas Center hosts first Black History Month Celebration
Lt. Herm Robinson talks about his father, the late Al Robinson, who was first terminated as the first African-American Vallejo police officer, and then reinstated in 2002.
Richard Freedman, Vallejo Times-Herald
Al Robinson was the first African-American Vallejo police officer. But if not for the perseverance by his son, Robinson may still be simply known as a former janitor with the VPD who died in 1968. Herm Robinson, a 43-year VPD veteran and lieutenant, pursued justice for his father — with the senior Robinson’s Badge No. 176 finally reinstated in 2002. “It took me 25 years to get that righted,” Robinson said, discussing his family’s Vallejo history Monday at the Black History Month Celebration at the Florence Douglas Center.
Robinson told the story of how his father was a janitor with the VPD before working as a “special officer” to “work black areas of town” during the war years. Soon after getting hired as an official officer around 1946-’48 “the best we can figure it,” Al Robinson was dumped, his son said. “His employment as a police officer was terminated and they gave him his job back as janitor,” Robinson said, to many groans from the audience of around 175.
When the VPD put Al Robinson’s picture back on the wall at the police department, “my mom was just ecstatic,” Lt. Herm said to rousing applause.
As for his own experience with the VPD, “it’s been a rewarding career,” Robinson said. And, believes event coordinator Debbie Young, a rewarding first-time event at the Florence Douglas Center. “It’s important to me because I am African American and important to let them know the Florence Douglas Center supports the community,” Young said, smiling that there wasn’t a Black History Month Celebration previously “because they needed someone like me to understand the vision and I hope people leave here feeling rejuvenated.”
The event included speakers Deborah Oldham, Steve Etter, Cassie Smith, Darnice Richmond, the Reve. Eugene Gary, Shirley Charles, and James Coleman. Vocalists included Clarie Woolbright, Diane Survine, and Calvin Whitmore. Whitmore, 63 and a 31-year Vallejoan, did his a cappella version of Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” written by the late singer following his release from a brief jail stint. “It talks about giving hope to the people so I thought it would be appropriate,” Whitmore said. “A lot of people know the song, but don’t understand the historical significance. It’s become a universal message of hope, one that does not age. We all feel in some way or another that a change is gonna come.”
Black History Month, said Whitmore, is a time to acknowledge “legendary contributions to our group and society as a whole and reacquaint yourself with people you haven’t seen for a while.” Naomi Smith, known for her vocal talents in Vallejo, served as “mistress of ceremonies.” “It means a lot to me,” she said of the assignment. “A lot of my friends of all races are here. Family is here. It’s a gathering for the community of Vallejo and I’m very proud to be asked to be a part of it.”
From the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office,
posted February 22, 2017
Mike Foley, a veteran Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, who previously worked for the Concord Police for 30 years before he retired from the force in 2007, succumbed to injuries sustained after being struck by a transportation vehicle at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin early Wednesday morning. The incident happened at about 6 a.m. at the transportation yard behind the jail near Broder Boulevard.
Please keep Deputy Foley and his family in your prayers, as well as the driver of the vehicle, another deputy, who is understandably devastated by the incident.
From the California Highway Patrol, posted February 22, 2017
This evening at approximately 5:45 p.m., California Highway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle Officer Lucas F. Chellew, ID 19402, was in pursuit of a motorcycle eastbound on Fruitridge Road east of State Route 99 in South Sacramento. During the pursuit, a collision occurred, causing Officer Chellew to lose control of his motorcycle.
Officer Chellew suffered major injuries, and first responders on scene worked tirelessly to keep him alive as he was transported to University of California, Davis, Medical Center. Tragically, despite the valiant efforts of the paramedics and medical professionals, Officer Chellew succumbed to his injuries at approximately 6:11 p.m.
“My heart aches on this terribly tragic day for the CHP as we have lost a hero, who swore a sacred and honorable oath to serve and protect the people of California,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Officer Chellew now joins a distinguished and cherished group of men and women whose names adorn a memorial fountain at the center of the CHP Academy. His service and sacrifice will forever be honored and never forgotten. Please keep Officer Chellew’s family, friends and the entire CHP family in your thoughts and prayers as they mourn his loss.”
From the Whittier Police Department, posted on February 20, 2017
27-Year Veteran Killed in the Line of Duty
With a sad and heavy heart, we regret to inform you that Officer Keith Boyer, a 27-year veteran of the Whittier Police Department, was killed in the line of duty earlier this morning. The incident surrounding Officer Boyer’s death is currently under investigation. As such we will not be releasing any additional information at this time. We ask for our community’s prayers and support for the officers involved, their families and for all the Whittier Police personnel. #W249 #EOW #whittierpd
Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters at Whittier Police Department. Rest in peace, Officer Boyer.
Congratulations to Officer Jimmy Bondoc and Officer Ross Hawkins on their successful retirement from the Fairfield Police Department. Jimmy Bondoc served for 24 years at the Fairfield Police Department, and Ross Hawkins enjoyed a 35-year police career at the Fairfield Police Department. Thank you to Jimmy and Ross for your many years of service! You will be greatly missed by your
colleagues and the citizens whom you served.
Captain Eric Wilson, Vacaville Fire DepartmentBy Dom Pruett
Goodbyes are hard enough on their own.
Factor in retiring from one department after 20-plus years of service and the task gets even more complicated.
For Vacaville Police Department Lt. Denise Quatman and Vacaville Fire Department Fire Captain Eric Wilson, who both worked their last day in their respective departments on Wednesday, the only way to say goodbye was to do so quietly — without the pageantry.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to be the center of attention,” said Quatman, who opted to forgo the Vacaville Police Department’s traditional ‘walk down the department steps’ Wednesday. “I like to be the person in the background helping people get what they need. That’s just who I am.”
Wilson also chose to skip out on his department’s cherished ‘final ride,’ where the retiree is driven home by a fire engine on his or her final day.
“I walked in on my first day here without fanfare, and I’ll walk out without fanfare,” said Wilson.
But while Quatman and Wilson elected to spare the sappy goodbye rituals, both admitted they were overcome with emotion as they processed the magnitude of the occasion.
“It’s still a bit surreal,” revealed Quatman, who began at Vacaville police in February of 1991. “Just thinking about the past 26 years that I spent here, which was probably more time than I spent with my family.”
I walked in today with the same anxieties I had on my very first day here,” said Wilson. “Once again I’m unsure of what the future holds, but I’m also excited about the possibilities.”
Ironically, despite hailing from a family of firefighters — with a father who retired as Captain of the Hayward Fire Department and an uncle who was an Oakland City firefighter — Wilson’s post-high school intentions were to become a police officer.
“A lot of firefighters grew up dreaming of becoming a firefighter,” said Wilson. “I wasn’t one of those kids.”
A native of Martinez, Wilson began his tenure at the Vacaville Fire Department in 1990 as a firefighter/paramedic. Five years later, Wilson was promoted to fire engineer/paramedic. In 2012, Wilson became Fire Captain, where he made his biggest impact in the department. Along with retired Deputy Chief Phil Sanner, and Fire Chief Kris Concepcion, Wilson was pivotal in the building of Vacaville’s newest station — Station 75 in Southtown, which came into service earlier this year. Wilson was also in charge of communications for the department for the past six years and is responsible for the department receiving a grant three years ago worth a quarter of a million dollars that upgraded their entire radio system. “Some guys will coast during their final years before they retire,” said Wilson. “I had my foot on until the very end.”
Quatman, who served in the United States Army, began at the Vacaville Police Department after six months of working as a Community Service Officer. In 2014, Quatman made Vacaville history when she was promoted from Sgt. to Lt. — making her the first woman to hold the position of Lieutenant in the city’s history.
After an illustrious career, Quatman is now coming to grips with life without the badge.
“After my last shift Saturday night, I took my boots off for the last time and just breathed,” said Quatman. “When I woke up this morning, I realized I’m just Denise; not Lt. Quatman anymore.”
Wilson also revealed having a hard time coming to terms with the fact he will no longer be serving the community. “The concept of a last call and last shift still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Wilson Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t think it will for at least a few weeks. By nature, firefighters are action-oriented individuals.”
Now no longer responsible for carrying out the stressful duties of a firefighter or police officer, both Wilson, and Quatman are both taking some time away from work to spend time with family and recuperate from the rigors of their former careers. “I’m going to do some traveling with my wife,” said Wilson. “I also have about 10 years worth of chores and projects around the house to make up for.”
“The plan is to take a few months to try and evaluate which direction I want to go,” said Quatman. “I haven’t taken more than three weeks off since I began here. Its been a long time since I’ve only been responsible for myself.”
Though both excited to begin new chapters in their lives, Wilson and Quatman admitted leaving behind their colleagues, friends who they often risked their lives with, will be difficult. “The people I’ve had the pleasure of working with has been the highlight of it all,” said Wilson.
“I’m definitely going to miss a lot of fantastic and intelligent people that I’m so grateful I had the chance to work with,” explained Quatman.
By Katy St. Clair
When Jeff Ainsworth met friends and family in Benicia on Saturday night for a few drinks, he had no idea he would find himself left with a gunshot wound. He also didn’t know that he would quite possibly have saved some lives.
Ainsworth, 45, was visiting his hometown of Benicia on Nov. 11 and had spent an enjoyable evening eating dinner on 1st Street with those closest to him, including his friend of many years, Doug Everhart. They eventually headed over to the Bottom of the Fifth Bar during last call early Sunday morning before turning in, he said.
The group was chatting and having a good time, when Ainsworth began to notice some sort of commotion next to them, he said. Before he knew it, he saw a man pull out a gun and aimed it squarely at the bartender, who can be seen ducking below the bar in security camera footage.
According to the police, the suspect, 33-year-old Daniel Lopez, was angry that he was not going to be served any more drinks. The camera footage allegedly shows Lopez pointing the gun at the bartender and then turning with it and swiftly moving toward Ainsworth and his friends.
“He started shooting, and that’s when I put my hands up,” Ainsworth said. “When you are in that type of situation, you do whatever you can.” He said he began pushing and punching Lopez in an effort to get the gun away from him.
It was Ainsworth’s belief that the gunman was determined to reach the bartender.
He said he eventually got Lopez down on the ground and Everhart tried to grab him as well.
“That’s when he got shot in the hand and the rib,” he said, referring to his friend Doug.
Ainsworth said a gunshot grazed his jaw and went into the side of his face, with the bullet lodging in his ear canal.
He is expected to recover but said the entire event was “terrifying.”
As soon as Lopez allegedly shot them, he took off running. The suspect was later apprehended and is currently in custody. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder, five counts of assault with a firearm, and one count of being a felon in possession of firearm.
For their bravery, the two friends were honored by the Benicia Police Department with special honorary coins. But Ainsworth said that he has always had it instilled in him that he should help those that cannot protect themselves. Ainsworth is a Marine and an ex-police officer, he said, and will always step up if needed.
“The way I was raised, I’m not going to let bad things happen to people I care about. I learned that from my dad. All my training from being a kid on up has put me in the position to be able to
He said he feels a tremendous sense of gratitude and relief that no one else was hurt, and that the bartender is safe, too.
Ainsworth balks a bit at being described as a hero, however.
“I believe the people who should be called heroes are the police, Marines and soldiers that put their lives on the line every day,” he said.
Governor Brown Issues Statement on Death of Modoc County Sheriff’s Deputy
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the death of Modoc County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jack Hopkins:
“Anne and I were saddened and outraged to learn of the death of another peace officer today. When called to serve, Deputy Hopkins stood tall to protect his community and our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and coworkers in this difficult time.”
Deputy Hopkins, 31, of Alturas, was fatally shot today while responding to a reported civil disturbance near Alturas.
Deputy Hopkins began serving with the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office in 2015. He is survived by extended family.
In honor of Deputy Hopkins, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
The man shot by Vallejo police after he leveled an assault rifle at them in a Starbucks on Sunday was being sought in connection with the shooting of a toddler in Suisun City earlier in the day, police said in a press conference Monday.
Adam Powell, 41, of Suisun, a convicted felon with robbery and drug-related offenses on his record, is said to be in stable but critical condition at a local trauma center, police said. The condition of the child, who was shot in the upper body, is said to be critical.
Evidence so far leads police to believe the child’s shooting was accidental and possibly self-inflicted, they said.
Powell, who is said to have ties in Vallejo and Dixon, is believed to have been inside a Suisun residence in which a 2-year-old boy was shot at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Suisun Police Department Commander Andrew White said. When police arrived at the residence, Powell, who may be the boy’s father, was gone, and no weapon was found, though some ammunition was, he said.
Suisun police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert on Powell, police said.
Some 5 ½ hours later, at about 8:50 p.m., two Vallejo police officers were inside the Starbucks at 199 Lincoln Rd. West, on a break, when Powell apparently targeted them, Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou said.
Powell is said to have driven by the coffee shop six minutes before walking in and aiming an assault-style weapon, with a collapsible stock and a high capacity drum magazine, at the officers.
“They recognized his actions for what they were, and drew their weapons “in an attempt to protect themselves, causing the suspect to flee,” Vallejo Lt. Jeff Bassett said.
Fortunately, the suspect’s weapon seemed to jam, police said.
The suspect appeared to be attempting to manipulate the gun as if it had malfunctioned, continuing to do so even as he fled, with officers in pursuit, Bassett said.
Powell fled through the parking lot, westbound on Magazine Street, and was confronted by officers near the intersection at Sheridan Street, still working the weapon and “presenting himself as a lethal threat to the officers.”
Powell was struck three times by gunfire before falling, police said. He was taken into custody and was found to be carrying an additional loaded handgun and wearing the same kind of “soft” body-armor that police wear under their uniforms, Bassett said. Powell’s connection to the earlier shooting was made in the ambulance, he said.
The two involved officers were not injured.
There were two other patrons and several employees in the Starbucks at the time, police said.
“I’d like to thank the community for the outpouring of support from the public,” Bidou said. “This situation underscores the courage displayed by our officers and the danger they put themselves in every day to protect the public. There is little doubt that if it were not for the decisive action of our two officers, we’d be telling a much different story right now.”
He and White also commended the work of their respective dispatchers, as well as the California Highway Patrol and Solano County Sheriff’s Office.
Bidou commended his officers who, when “confronted by someone with superior fire power — an assault weapon and an additional weapon and body armor,” giving him a distinct advantage over the police — went after the suspect, who, he noted, was a danger to everybody within firing range.
“We are relieved that this didn’t become a tragedy, that our officers weren’t assassinated,” Bidou said. “Officers are on high alert across the country, right now.”
Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.
On the morning of September 29, 2016, at approximately 6:30 a.m.,
Officer William Kenneth Zink (Ken) was killed during a traffic collision while riding his motorcycle to work. The incident occurred on westbound Interstate Highway 80 in Vallejo near Redwood Parkway.
This account has been created by the San Pablo Police Employees Association. All donated funds will be deposited directly into the account of Ken’s daughter, Amy Zink, and immediate family to assist them with associated costs during this difficult time.
Ken was one of the most humble and unassuming people you could ever meet. He did not do his job for the recognition and would often change the subject if you brought up his accomplishments. He had a vested interest in the community and despised the damage our youth suffers at the hands of drugs. Ken truly loved kids and committed a great deal of his time to volunteer work outside of the PD. He is irreplaceable.
Ken, we will strive to carry on the sense of humility and professionalism you taught us all. Thank you. You made a profound impact on our lives here at the PD as well as the lives of so many others. We are all blessed to have spent time with you here. Until we meet again, rest your knees, old sheepdog. We will cover your watch from here on out. Rest in Peace.