For one day, at Orange Police Department, ‘our house is your house’

By Lou Ponsi

The safety and well-being of the community is the Orange Police Department’s first priority.

At the department’s annual open house, the community got an up-close look at the variety of ways that mission is carried out, and met the men and women who do it.

“This is our time to allow the community to come in and really see the police department and what resources we have and the different kinds of programs we provide for the community,” said Sgt. Clara Ramirez. “It shows that we are a welcoming agency, together for the community.

Orange Police Officer Sarah Costa holds her horse, Danny Boy, as Dolores Lemus pets him from her wheelchair with the help of her daughter, Lorranie Lemus, during the Orange Police Department’s open house. Dolores is the wife of Antonio Lemus, who was an Orange police officer for 27 years and retired in the 1980s.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Attendees got to meet Orange PD’s three K9s (Danto, Wyatt, and Griffin) and witness their extraordinary ability to sniff out hidden narcotics.

“The dog is the cutest,” Gabriel Villasenor, 9, said of Griffith. “I think it’s cool.”

Three four-legged members of Orange PD’s mounted unit (Danny Boy, Beau, and Maximus) also displayed their ability to strictly follow the commands of their riders.

Orange Police Motor Officer John Pickett participates in a motorcycle demonstration for the Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“One of the reasons we like to do this is because when we are on a deployment and on their back, we try not to let the public pet them,” said Detective Sarah Costa, Danny Boy’s owner. “We have to make sure we are staying in control if something happens. This is a nice event for the public to come out and see the horse and pet him.”

Visitors got a hands-on primer on the department’s modes of transportation, which include the horses, SUVs, patrol cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

Emma Chavez, 7, of Anaheim reaches to pet Danny Boy, a horse from the Orange Police Department Mounted Unit, during Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Investigators, gang unit officers, homeless liaison officers, dispatchers, Explorers, and volunteers were all on hand to explain their roles.

Vintage Orange PD uniforms, badges, and other memorabilia was also on display, and department tours took place throughout the day.

Officer Damon Allen holds onto his K9, Danto, before giving him the command to attack during a demonstration for Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“I love when the community is supporting law enforcement and they get to see a different side of it, all the different sections and how hard they work for the community,” said Sarah King, who came to the open house with her three children to support her husband, K9 Officer Jude King.

Orange resident Briana Whitmer came to the open house with her young son, Hunter, who experienced everything the open house was offering.

“I saw the horses doing that thing over there,” Hunter said. “I saw one K9. I like the police because they protect us.”

Quent Cassen, a volunteer with the Orange Police Department, right, leads a tour through the briefing room during the open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Orange Police Officer Jude King talks about his K9 partner, Griffin, as people attending the Orange Police Department’s open house gather for a closer look.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Sasha Bailey, 7, gets help from her father, Officer Mark Bailey, as she uses a police tool to break open a door at a demonstration booth at Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Mikaela Milan, 2, of Orange, pets Beau of the Orange Police Department Mounted Unit, with the help of her father, Michael Milan, during the open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Quent Cassen, a volunteer with the Orange Police Department, right, leads a tour through the watch commander’s office during the open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Hunter Whitmer, 4, of Orange lifts an unloaded launcher that can shoot both gas grenades and 40mm rubber bullets, during the Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Officer Michael Osborn holds onto his K9, Wyatt, as he points to his target during a demonstration or Orange Police Department’s open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Amiah Love, 7, of Orange, tries on a SWAT vest with the help of Orange Police Department SWAT Officer Mikhail Shemyakin during the department open house.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge