Thirty-five new officers to join ranks in Southern California

By Jaimee Lynn Fletcher

“Stay alert. Stay alive. Never quit. Never die.”

Thirty-five of Southern California’s newest police officers stood at attention and shouted the simple, yet profound, motto that carried them through a grueling six months in the police academy.

The Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center on Friday graduated its newest recruits in a badge pinning ceremony at Orange Coast College.

Of the graduates, 27 were sponsored by local police departments including Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Habra and Westminster.

The class started with 43 recruits, but not all could complete the rigorous physical and academic training.

Recruits get Tasered, pepper-sprayed, yelled at and pushed to their physical limit.

They learn pages of codes, laws and procedures that need to be recalled in seconds, and flawlessly applied to real-life situations.

It’s tough, but for those who received their badges on Friday, it’s more than worth it.

“We have front row seats to the greatest job on earth,” said graduate Officer Robert Nelson, who will work for the Tustin Police Department.  “We have a job that literally has to be done.”

Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy served as the keynote speaker offering words of wisdom and encouragement for the officers who will soon be on patrol.

“The job is much more complicated today than it was in years past,” Handy said. “Officers now are required to be clergy, social workers, peacekeepers and enforcers.”

Using a quote Handy said is an inspirational mainstay in his career, he also stressed the importance of treating a career in law enforcement as a craft to be nurtured.

“It is a quote some say is by Abraham Lincoln, and some say is by Thomas Jefferson.  Either way, it goes something like this: I believe in luck.  The harder I work, the luckier I get,” Handy said. “This statement is so true in regard to policing.

“The more effort you put in to your own development, the more effort you put in to the service you provide, the more successful you will be.”

In addition to the badge pinning, several graduates were honored for their performance in the academy:

Academic award of achievement: Julia Tran, Irvine Police Department

Lifetime fitness award of achievement: Robert Nelson, Tustin Police Department

Report writing award of achievement: Jesus Ochoa, Orange Police Department

Firearms award of achievement: Sean Reidy, Golden West College

Enforcement tactics award of achievement: Robert Nelson, Tustin Police Department;  Jesus Ochoa, Orange Police Department; Ryan Houlihan, Golden West College; and Ivan Alvarez, Orange Police Department.

Honor recruit: Eric Han, Irvine Police Department

Character award (voted on by the recruits): Robert Nelson, Tustin Police Department

Here is a list of the graduates by department:

Brea: Jayke Bogosian and Evan D’Huart

Bell Gardens: Charles Cano

Cypress: Cody Hense

Huntington Beach: Matthew Reza and Patrick Swantek

La Habra: Travis Nelson

Irvine: Eric Han and Julia Tran

Orange: Ivan Alvarez, Jesus Ochoa and Sean Thompson

Placentia: Kenneth Bray

Signal Hill: Joseph Martinez, Thomas Nadal and Ramvinski Sovann

Tustin: Nathan Bidwell, Stephanie Kimosh, Christopher Natividad, Robert Nelson and Jorge Sanchez

Westminster: Marcela Lopez, Daniel Masek, Malcolm Pierson and Andrew Travis

Other graduates: Andrew Amidel, Jason Brannon, Cory Goodchild, Ryan Houlihan, Kellen Kramer, Mark Ramirez, Sean Reidy, Steve Santamaria, Saul Ulloa and Dmitriy Zolotarsky