La Habra's court liaisons share deep love for their city
Viviana Alfaro and Christina Torres are devoted to La Habra.
Not only did they grow up in the city and currently live in the city, they both work at the La Habra Police Department as court liaisons.
Most days, they can be found in their office at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, filing paperwork and arranging for officers to appear as witnesses in court.
“There’s a lot in this office we have to handle,” Alfaro said.
The two manage both La Habra and the Placentia Police Department. They are responsible for discovery subpoenas for court case evidence and documents, contacting officers when they’re needed in court, filing paperwork before the allotted deadlines for felonies, misdemeanors, and more.
And it’s not just criminal cases. They also handle civil, traffic, and family cases.
Because of this, they have gotten to know judges, officers, sheriff’s deputies, district attorneys, and others who frequent the courthouse.
“I like being here, meeting new people, new DAs (district attorneys). They rotate, so you get to know all of them,” Alfaro said.
Each morning, they check who’s in custody at both agencies, and file paperwork with the District Attorney’s office. These have strict cutoffs – misdemeanors must be filed by 10 a.m., while felonies must be filed by noon. If not, the person may be released.
Once that’s done they begin contacting officers and checking schedules for court appearances, as well as requesting evidence and documentation during the discovery period of a court case.
“I think the hardest thing for me here is to call an officer to come in to testify after working a graveyard shift,” Alfaro said. “It’s like, it’s 9:00 and the DAs need them to be here at 10. Well, they just went home at 7:00 and they’re probably just now going to bed. And I have to tell them you need to come to court because the judge is waiting for you.”
A few times, when officers don’t respond to repeated calls and texts, she’s had to send someone to knock on the door and wake them.
“That’s a rare occasion,” Alfaro said. “They’re pretty good at answering.”
In addition, Alfaro and Torres often see visitors asking directions or questions about the court system. Their office’s Dutch door remains open most of the day, and people frequently pop in.
“Do you know where Room 485 is at?” a man asks as he peeks into the office.
Alfaro and Torres don’t mind. They are happy to help.
Both women started in Records at the La Habra Police Department, though Alfaro’s history with the department goes back further.
Alfaro joined the La Habra Police Explorers at age 17. She loved being an Explorer, and landed a part-time position in the Animal Control Unit until a full-time Records position opened.
“I’ve been here ever since,” said Alfaro, who’s celebrating her 15-year anniversary with the department.
Torres, who’s worked at the La Habra Police Department for about 10 years, has a double major in criminal justice and sociology from Cal State Fullerton.
She wanted to help at-risk youth or work with law enforcement, and when a job opened in the La Habra Police Records Department the decision was made.
“I’m still learning,” Torres said, adding that she turns to Alfaro whenever she has a question. “Teamwork, that’s what it is.”
And a love of La Habra.
“I grew up here,” said Alfaro, whose daughter now attends her alma mater, La Habra High School. “What I enjoy is the family, the togetherness, getting to know (people)… I enjoy my job.”
“I’ve lived in La Habra all my life,” she said. She’s also an active La Habra Host Lions Club member. “I just love the city and the people I work with and I stay active in the community.”
“These two women are just another example of how the La Habra PD is a family and a team that is dedicated to the community of La Habra,” Lt. Dan Henderson said. “Most people think of police and think of a black and white car or detective, (but) that’s just the tip of it. For the department to be successful, we need people like Viviana and Christina. We are lucky they chose the LHPD.”